LiveStore® Your Remote Duty Manager, addressing loss prevention in the retail business with real-time operational intelligence

Loss prevention in the retail business

Successful hospitality businesses are built on the ownership and operation of multiple sites to maximise economies of scale. Whether large corporate chains or extended family businesses, success is generally based on the quality of the offering, the efficiency and commitment of the staff and the effectiveness of operational management systems in place to support the business.

In the space of just ten years, restaurant technology systems, have changed beyond recognition with the introduction of mobile ordering, table payment, drive-through, cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) and the ability to gain real-time insight of daily operations through streamed data. However, restaurant IT comes at a cost and investment in hospitality hardware and software is generally amortised over as long a period as physically possible. In the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) world just swapping out a POS system can be hugely expensive so the approach of the retail world in general has been to ‘sweat the asset’.

The large corporate QSR chains tend to be operated as a franchise model with franchisees encouraged to own and operate several outlets to benefit from scale. With the likes of McDonald’s in the US, some franchisees operate more than 50 restaurants and take on board the POS and restaurant architecture specified by the corporate IT team as part of their fee.

The Challenge – How can legacy IT systems keep pace with the quick service demanded by QSR chains and enable real-time loss prevention in the retail business?

By their very nature, QSR’s present particular challenges for the owner/operator. Speed of service is paramount, with individual transactions often taking a matter of seconds – the greater the throughput the more successful the business. Monitoring the throughput of transactions and identifying bottlenecks and inefficiency becomes impossible if the QSR systems are not reporting in real-time.

The vast majority of legacy hospitality systems still download data at the end of day, which means remote management cannot intervene until after the damage is done. In the QSR world, with literally hundreds of thousands of transactions across a relatively small chain of restaurants, inefficiency is compounded. This begs the question: how can anyone successfully manage ‘quick service’ when access to data doesn’t keep pace? Enter Vigilant’s retail loss prevention system, LiveStore®

LiveStore® – bringing live data from a wide range of in-store assets for new levels of business intelligence

LiveStore has inherited all of Vigilant’s endpoint security, integration and real-time reporting expertise, developed over many years in high security environments and applied to retail. Simply by remotely deploying the light touch LiveStore agent to the restaurant stack, existing legacy systems immediately feed ‘live’ data into the LiveStore reporting dashboards. Of particular benefit, and unique to LiveStore, is the ability to integrate with a whole range of existing in-store assets, including CCTV, to bring new levels of intelligence to previously purely passive systems.

Overlaying the LiveStore advanced policy engine with real-time access to data means a QSR owner/operator really can be in two (or more!) places at once. Out of policy activity or trends can be identified as they unfold with real-time alerts pushed out to secure personalised management dashboards, whether laptop, tablet or mobile.

An immediate return on investment with a retail loss prevention system that identifies shrinkage as it happens.

Early adopters of LiveStore include the QSR restaurant chains, Itsu and the McDonald’s Corporation. Neither company had the means to stream real-time analytics from their restaurants and both were initially focused on how LiveStore could transform their ability to identify and act upon instances of shrinkage whether fraudulent or unintentional.

Through LiveStore’s unique CCTV integration, loss prevention teams were particularly impressed by the ability to immediately ‘see’ a range of transactions that they had identified as being of interest. A refund transaction, for example, with no visible customer present was an event that historical data alone would never have been able to verify as anomalous. Both chains consequently experienced an immediate return on investment (ROI). Through real-time reporting against comprehensive transaction policy sets they were also able to revise their internal KPIs and identify where employee training had fallen short. The ROI even extended to improving staff retention through more efficient and rapid internal investigation procedures, curtailing any unwarranted suspicion of an employee’s behaviour.

Live monitoring of stock, fridges, and in-store assets to ensure that customer demand is met during rush hours 

As a core technology in the restaurant stack, LiveStore has proven its worth across the whole gamut of retail operations. It can integrate with any in-store data source – from POS to the temperature of the fryers. An issue for Itsu, for example, was how to remotely manage and maintain a high standard of product availability in stores in busy locations during rush hours. They were able to ensure that their fridges at specific times of day were sufficiently stocked by integrating LiveStore with existing CCTV and supplying evidential still frames for head office to rapidly view and assess. This functionality within LiveStore is referred to as ‘Fridge-watch’ and customers can opt for Fridge-watch updates throughout the day to bring remote intelligence to restaurant operations. Itsu openly acknowledged that exploiting LiveStore’s range of functionality had significantly improved margins.

Using LiveStore for profit protection and shrinkage reduction

The McDonald’s Corporation has remained focused on shrinkage and used the ‘McDonald’s LiveStore’ version as ‘profit protection’ software. Initially working with the corporate arm, McOpCo, LiveStore was remotely deployed to US restaurants and configured to identify McDonald’s specific events that were deemed to be out-of-policy; such as refunds, TReds, voids, gift card usage, discounts and loyalty scans. The events are displayed in personalised real-time dashboards for users ranging from store, regional and senior country managers – all gaining invaluable operational insight which can be actioned immediately and keeps pace with QSR activity. McDonald’s LiveStore is now in demand from other markets and is currently being rolled out for McOpCo Canada with multi-franchise Owner/Operators lining up to benefit from the ROI LiveStore brings for profit protection and remote duty management.

Cost-effective and versatile enhance your retail loss prevention methods with live operational insight from any of your personal devices.

LiveStore from Vigilant stands out as a cost-effective flexible solution, adeptly addressing the diverse challenges faced by the hospitality sector and QSRs in particular. Its proven adaptability, showcased through real-world examples like Itsu and the McDonald’s Corporation, not only underlines its efficacy in loss prevention in the retail business but also highlights its invaluable role in providing ‘live’ operational insight tailored to the specific needs of both corporate giants and individual Owner/Operators.

Find out more about LiveStore here.

If you would like a demonstration of LiveStore please contact us.


Article Published: 1st February 2024
Written by: Andy Craig, Vigilant Co-founder and Director

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