As first-time surveillance system users, the owners of Mama’s on the Half Shell installed 14 Avigilon 1 MP and 2 MP cameras to guard the restaurant’s interior and exterior. Seven of those cameras are used to watch the exterior of the premise including the front doors, the alley behind the building and the dumpster. Additional cameras cover areas such as the dining room, bar and kitchen, with focus on areas housing cash registers.
Working from a single work station, the restaurant’s managers use the Avigilon Control Centre (ACC) software with High-Definition Stream Management (HDSM) to monitor the entire restaurant. Mama’s on the Half Shell uses Avigilon HD network video recorders (NVRs) to store up to 30 days of surveillance footage. To address surveillance after dark, Mama’s on the Half Shell uses Avigilon cameras with Adaptive Infrared (IR) technology to acquire optimal image detail in complete darkness. The owners also deployed identical setups in their two other establishments: Nacho Mamas, and The Pizza and Wing Factory.
Controlling security issues
Since deploying the Avigilon high-definition surveillance solution, Mama’s on the Half Shell has been able to gain control of their past security issues. There has been a significant decrease in inventory loss and the presence of the cameras has acted as a deterrent for crimes. When incidents do occur in the restaurant, management can retrieve the HD footage instantaneously and accurately assess the situation instead of relying on hearsay. In addition to the invaluable security benefits, Mama’s on the Half Shell uses the Avigilon system to monitor food quality and employee health and safety practices. When management is away from the restaurant, they use the ACC Mobile app on their smart phones to oversee activity.
Implementing a surveillance system
Known for their signature Orange Crushes and expansive seafood menu, Mama’s on the Half Shell is the crown jewel of the Canton Square neighbourhood in Baltimore, Maryland. Many locals venture to the establishment for a variety of occasions, whether it’s watching Baltimore Ravens games, celebrating a birthday or sticking around for late night drinks with friends. Just a few doors down stands two other restaurants in the Mama’s family: Nacho Mamas, a Mexican-themed restaurant, and The Pizza and Wing Factory, which is attached to Nacho Mamas and a popular takeout spot.
When incidents do occur in the
Despite being open for nearly a decade, prior to deploying Avigilon Mama’s on the Half Shell had not implemented a video surveillance system, leaving the restaurant in a vulnerable state from a security standpoint. “There were several drivers for us to bring in a security system,” said Kallie Amentas, manager at Mama’s on the Half Shell. “The leader would have to be safety. Times do change, so does the need to be secure. Our employees’ safety and our customers’ safety lead our decisions.” The restaurant’s ownership approached Unilux Ltd, the Maryland-based video surveillance distributor to help design an HD surveillance system for the three restaurants. The company recommended the Avigilon high-definition surveillance solution because of the unparalleled image quality the system provides, the ease-of-use of the ACC software and the efficient storage solutions. The Avigilon system was soon installed in all three restaurants.
Accurate incident assessment
Often, restaurants that double as a popular nightlife destination are prone to increased levels of crime in and around their establishments. With the addition of the Avigilon HD solution, management at Mama’s on the Half Shell can accurately assess incidents. “Overall crime has decreased,” said Amentas. “With the new system, not only have we been able to prevent things from happening, but when incidents do happen, we have it recorded and can take action.” Employee theft has also been significantly reduced and management has experienced noticeable drops in food and alcohol costs. “It has opened our employees’ eyes and they are definitely aware that there are cameras,” Amentas said. “We can build a case against someone that may be doing something wrong, and also act quicker now because we have proof.” The Adaptive IR feature on the Avigilon HD Dome cameras has also been an asset in retrieving clear footage in situations with little to no lighting. Within a year of deploying the system, Mama’s on the Half Shell was able to provide detectives with video footage that assisted with the investigation, after an incident occurred in the restaurant. “It definitely made us feel good that we were able to help someone in an unfortunate situation,” said Amentas. “We could have never done that before we had HD surveillance.”
“We thought Avigilon was a good fit because of the excellent picture quality – especially in low-light conditions”
User-friendly business intelligence system
Before implementing a sophisticated HD video surveillance system, management at Mama’s on a Half Shell was constantly faced with the same questions: What really happened with that specific customer? How did Friday night go? How busy were we? Why did that employee disappear for 15 minutes? Having 24-hour access to an HD video surveillance system that is capable of capturing clear image detail was a defining reason for selecting the Avigilon system. “We thought Avigilon was a good fit because of the excellent picture quality – especially in low-light conditions,” said Peter Greer, president of Unilux. Greer also points out that having high-resolution video footage assists with business intelligence in other ways as well. The restaurant can now properly evaluate crowd flow, employee performance and the quality of food coming out of the kitchen and bar. “Now, the restaurant has a system to track employee accountability,” said Greer.
Amentas and other management at Mama’s on the Half Shell have found Avigilon’s ACC software to be intuitive and user-friendly. Locating specific incidents in the recorded footage takes minutes thanks to the smart searching features. “The main feature we utilise the most is the ability to bookmark what we find and build cases,” said Amentas, who also points out that productivity has increased since deploying the Avigilon system. “I find it easy to use, and I am able to teach others here how to navigate the system.”