Terrorism Preparedness: Assessment of the Preparedness of Chain Restaurants to Prevent and Respond to Terrorist Attack


Terrorism Preparedness: Assessment of the Preparedness of Chain Restaurants to Prevent and Respond to Terrorist Attack

David Jones

American Military University


Professor Matthew Stork









Research Question

Are the chain restaurants adequately prepared to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks in the workplace?

Thesis Statement

Chain restaurants such as McDonalds, Starbucks, and Burger King, form a prime target for terror attacks due to their improper security checks on their customers and increased proliferation of weapons in the hands of terrorists.

Research Design

Since the September 11, 2001, attack, terrorist attacks have been predominantly figured in the national agenda. Companies and government agencies understand the terrorist’s target has extended beyond the military installations. Currently, terrorists target areas of mass public access such as schools, pubs, hospitals, among other. Additionally, several companies are targeted, not because of the people in the workplace, but because of the economic impact that would result from destabilizing such companies.

Chain restaurants are some of the soft targets that receive little to no attention. The main reason why these restaurants are the main targets is that of their nature. They receive a large number of people in a day and terrorists can easily blend in unidentified. Also, some visitors carry large parcels that can be used to hide an explosive or other dangerous weapons. Restaurants can also be attacked in some ways including suicide car bombs or even using weapons of mass destruction such as biological or chemical agents (Davis et al., 2006). Thus, comprehensive preparedness for terrorism in the workplace must address and take into account terrorism preparedness as well as response to guarantee human continuity.

In conducting the research, several terrorism threats and a case of terrorist targeting restaurants will be explored. Case studies about different chain restaurants will provide important information about the level of preparedness. Additionally, the National Preparedness Report (NPR) will also be useful in gaining insight into the general preparedness in the country. Many of Americans have forgotten the impact of terrorism attacks, and little attention is given to preparedness at the personal level. Like it is mentioned before, people walk into these restaurants without giving attention to possible threats that could emanate from an attack.

Furthermore, the consequences of an attack in a chain restaurant could be quite catastrophic. In the event of an attack with weapons of mass destruction such as biological or chemical agents, or explosive in structural collapse, the number of casualties may be very high. An attack in such places also leads to economic losses such as insurance and job losses. In a worst case scenario where a coordinated series of attacks on restaurants occurs, this could result to regional and national economic sabotage as it was the case of the airline industry after the September 11 attack.

In fact, the restaurant industry has been targeted by terrorists in various parts of the world in the past decades. For example, Israel has prevented or experienced several attacks against restaurants on several occasions since the beginning of the Intifada at the West Bank in the early 1990s. Similarly, countries like Finland and Turkey have experienced attacks in restaurants over the years. Also, England thwarted a serious attack on a Chinese restaurant which targeted members of the public and could result in thousands of casualties. Last year, the twenty hostages were killed in a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh where the attack targeted foreigners. A related attack perpetrated by an extremist with a machete occurred at a restaurant in Ohio ((Kempen, 2017; Mueller, 2017).

Apparently, these series of attacks and threats are clear indicators of the dangers faced by the restaurant sector in the United States. Time and again, terrorist groups have expressed the need to attack the US. Thus, any opportunity and weakness should be sealed by the stakeholders to eliminate the vulnerability to restaurant attacks within the US. As a result, the research will delve the level of preparedness in the restaurants and their response in the event of an attack.


The purpose of this study is to carry out an assessment of the level of chain restaurants preparedness for a terrorist attack and their response measures to prevent and respond those attacks. This research will take a close look at the security in chain restaurants and how their security has improved since the 9/11 attack. The paper will also explore the security measures to determine if they meet the standards defined by the industry, the government, and the courts.

Moreover, the paper will examine the partnership, if any, between the restaurants and the security agencies to help prevent cases of terror attacks. Traditionally, restaurants and other private companies relied on private security agencies for the protection of their customers and private properties. However, privatization of policing has increased the level of preparedness among these private security agencies since they are now perceived to have more authority than it was the case before (Henderson, Shufen, Huifen, & Xiang, 2010). Currently, they are actively involved in investigating crimes and making arrests which show that they also play a major role in thwarting terror attacks. Whether or not they are adequately prepared for the task, is a question of discussion that his research seeks to answer. Nevertheless, several resources have been collected that will be utilized in the research.







  2. Original Thesis: The chain restaurants form a prime target for terror attacks due to their improper security checks on their customers and increased proliferation of weapons in the hands of terrorists.
  3. Revised Thesis: Chain restaurants such as McDonalds, Starbucks, and Burger King, form a prime target for terror attacks due to their improper security checks on their customers and increased proliferation of weapons in the hands of terrorists.
  5. Terrorists have predominantly changed their contingent plans for attacks
  6. Attacks are no longer targeting military installations but other sectors of the economy
  1. Determine why terrorists may target restaurants: the consequences of an attack in a chain restaurant could be quite catastrophic (Woods, 2011).
  2. Identify different terrorist threats such as weapons of mass destructions, suicide bombers etc. (Kempen, 2017).
  3. Establish remedies for the attacks such as preparedness and response measures such as partnering with the security agencies (Henderson, Shufen, Huifen, & Xiang, 2010).
  5. State the purpose of the study: Which is conduct an assessment of the chain restaurants preparedness for a terrorist attack and their response measures to prevent and respond those attacks.
  7. Evolution of Terrorist Threats Since 9/11 Attack
  8. Explore literature on key targets since 9/11
    1. Hospitality industry form part of the target
    2. Restaurants are part of the hospitality industry.
    3. Restaurants contribute to national economic growth. (Cordesman, 2016)
  9. Examine literature on evolution of terror threats in hospitality
    1. Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction
    2. Suicide bombers
    3. Gunmen
    4. Other attacks
  11. Discuss the findings from the literature and case studies
  12. Determine why the chain restaurant industry is a prime target
  14. The final remarks:
  15. Terror threats are real among the Chain Restaurants
  16. Chain restaurants should invest in preparedness


Food Contamination

Over the years, many chain restaurants, particularly in the United States of America, have made asubstantial investment in their abilities to detect, prevent, and respond to incidents and terror attacks(Sekheta et al., 2006). The chain restaurants are concerned about utilizing standard practices and creating aninfrastructure which ensures not just protecting thephysical security, but also the issue of food contamination. Currently, food contamination is viewed as the most probable target of chain restaurant terror attacks(Xirasagar et al., 2010). Food defense requires an institutionalized concept of informed preparedness to unusual changes from the acceptable standards.

Deliberate food contamination continues to be the simplest way for the terrorists to spread biological, chemical or other physical agents. The major concern of thesecurity agencies all over the world is to safeguard the citizens and provide them with thevigorous environment and safe food as well as water supplies. Several research studies have been conducted in several parts of the world to evaluate the deliberate threats against food chain restaurants and food contamination (Manning, Baines, &Chadd, 2005; Yoon &Shanklin, 2007). In doing so, many researchers utilize various methods such as: analysis of feasibility and effect on the general economy, analysis of data concerning previous agents and vulnerability of chain restaurants (Maillot, 2010).

In the food industry, the Hazard Analysis Control Points approach is utilized to control sanitary threats and averting unintentional outbreaks (Manning, Baines, &Chadd, 2005). The approach can also be enhanced to prevent terror activities. For example, each chain restaurant can implement its ownspecific strategy for preventing and managing threats by restricting or preventing total access to premises and equipment and monitoring the movement of individuals within the facility.

According to the world health organization (WHO) report, the food contamination for terrorist determination is areal and current threat, and also acontamination of food at one location in the world may result to global public health implication(cited in Chalk, 2001). Food items in open containers which are used in the chain restaurants, such as Mc Donald, Starbucks, among others, are vulnerable to intentional contamination. The chain restaurants should be working towards hazard identification and risk assessment. Such strategies can include only hiring well-known, identified and medically fit drivers and also restricting entrance with the restaurants.






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