Chili's Enforces Employee Accountability at the POS

By Christina Volpe | December 18, 2008

Hot on the heels of this year's restaurant credit card theft headlines, many operators are finding that breaches in point of sale (POS) security can cause more than one unwelcome problem. As the demand for greater employee accountability grows, one Chili's franchisee is using an irrefutable solution in its fight against security breaches.

"We have a long history of managing restaurants before Chili's and we saw that there was a lack of security in the methodology at the POS," says Pachy Torresola, director of IT for Valenti Management, operator of 16 Chili's locations throughout Alabama and Mississippi. "So when it came time to choose a new POS for Chili's we made the decision that any solution would need to have biometrics."

Valenti Management is using biometric fingerprint readers from DigitalPersona along with POS software from Digital Dining to help curb internal security breaches, a solution that is providing irrefutable transaction audit trails at the POS.

Unique identification
"The biggest benefit is that you cannot lend someone your finger, and we know whoever is using their finger in the fingerprint register. With this we can hold people to their actions," says Torresola. "Any security function that requires punching or logging into use a terminal, such as when you split a check, requires security. And your security can fail if you need to use codes. With this, you log in and a manager approves it with his finger."

Each of the restaurants' POS terminals are equipped with fingerprint readers. The readers are USB pug-ins and simply require the user to place his or her finger on the optical reader window. The fingerprint is then automatically scanned and sent to the POS through a USB interface after on-board electronics have calibrated and encrypted the data. Valenti Management then warehouses its data at the store level which can hold up to three years worth of information.

Torresola also notes that the units are inexpensive and easily replaceable. "We like that the readers are a low cost item. If we had a built-in reader, and if that reader was to ever fail, we would need someone to replace that reader."

Torresola also feels that this application can be extended to other areas of the store for increased security. "In this application I would like to see biometrics expand into other pieces of the store, such as an integrated system that ties back-office pieces into the fingerprint system. Your fingerprint is your pass word, and in a store environment that would be very convenient to manage when it comes to storing passwords and PCI," says Torresola.

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