Restaurant Guard Case Study

How Surveillance Changes Behavior:

A Restaurant Workers Case Study

Steve Lohr of the New York Times wrote an article on the

research, and commented:

The impact, the researchers say, came not from firing

workers engaged in theft, but mostly from their changed

behavior. Knowing they were being monitored, the servers

not only pulled back on any unethical practices, but also

channeled their efforts into, say, prompting customers to

have that dessert or a second beer, raising revenue for the

restaurant and tips for themselves.

In human resources, much emphasis is placed on employee

selection: if you pick the right people, they will do the right

thing. Instead, this research suggests that the surveillance

effect on employee behavior is striking.

Not surprisingly, NCR is delighted by the results. “It validates

the customer data we’ve seen,” said Jeff Hindman, a vice

president at NCR. “But this is done by outside experts with

the academic standards and statistical rigor they bring to

the analysis.”

To view the entire New York Times article by Steve Lohr

regarding the report, visit

Summar y – The modern world is full of surveillance. Speed

cameras, street cameras and Internet monitoring systems

are only some of the ways our behavior is monitored — but

can such techniques reduce the rate of theft in the service


According to a new report, “Cleaning House: The Impact of

Information Technology Monitoring on Employee Theft and

Productivity” (.pdf), the work of Lamar Pierce, Daniel Snow,

and Andrew McAfee, details how significant an impact

surveillance can have on our daily lives.

The research team measured how rates of theft altered at

392 restaurants in U.S. 39 states after the installation of NCR

Restaurant Guard was followed by:

• Increased total sales of more than $2,900 per location,

per week on average – which represents a 7% increase

• Increased average weekly drink revenue (which has

particularly high profit margins) of more than $900 per

location, representing an increase of more than 10%

• An estimated 35% average increase in operating margin

Results suggested that these gains did not fade over time;

instead they remained steady for at least several months

after NCR Restaurant Guard was adopted. The research

also suggested that these gains were usually achieved

without much staff turnover, and that managers used

NCR Restaurant Guard information to reward trustworthy

employees with more hours.

August 26, 2013 NCR Hospitality News

By Steve Lohr

The New York Times

© The New York TImes

NCR is a registered trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All brand and product names

appearing in this document are trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of their respective holders.

© 2013 NCR Corporation Patents Pending

For more information, visit or email