5 Liabilities Every Restaurant Owner
Needs To Know

Opening and running a restaurant is an exciting experience. Many times, restaurant owners allow themselves to get so caught up in the day-to-day operations that they often overlook ways to protect their business. The unfortunate reality is that large financial losses from uninsured risks force restaurant owners to close their doors every year. By having the proper insurance policies, your restaurant will be able to handle these liabilities in stride and remain in business. Here are some major areas of concern:

Food Safety

Nobody wants to be the restaurant known for making their customers sick. Not only does that affect the number of new customers coming in the door, but it also invites lawsuits from patrons who become ill or suffer an allergic reaction from food that was prepared in your restaurant. The first level of protection your restaurant can have against foodborne illness is a general liability insurance policy. This policy protects you and your business from a myriad of risks that may happen to a patron while visiting your establishment and is mandatory in today’s litigious society. A second line of defense is a well-trained kitchen staff versed in proper cooking, cleaning, and food storage techniques. Creating a checklist of food safety items, such as checking refrigerator temperatures, cleaning cutting boards, and double checking meat temperatures before serving, is a great way to help keep your staff on their toes.

Beer, Wine, and Liquor

Serving liquor in a restaurant can be a major source of revenue. However, serious risks and responsibilities exist when serving liquor. If a customer drinks too much at your establishment and injures themselves or others while driving away, your restaurant may be held liable. Liquor Liability insurance will protect your restaurant from this type of occurrence. Proper training of restaurant staff will help prevent liquor-related incidents. Training in identifying intoxicated customers, proper pouring technique, and ID authentication are all ways in which your staff can help prevent future alcohol-related liabilities from occurring.

Employee Accidents

Accidents are bound to happen and will occur even with highly-trained employees. During a dinner rush, an accidental spill in the kitchen doorway could turn into a server taking a nasty slip-and-fall. Instances of employee injury are protected under Workers Compensation insurance policies, which are required in all states. Regular safety trainings for your staff will keep them sharp and alert in instances where a risk may be imminent. It is also important to consider purchasing no-slip shoes for staff, covering kitchen floors with no-slip mats, and arranging storage rooms and freezers optimally.

Delivery Disaster

With more and more restaurants offering delivery, having employees on the road is an obvious additional risk. An accident in a company or employee owned vehicle can result in a costly accident. Business Auto insurance can provide coverage for on-road liability that occurs to the company or company property. It is important to check employee driving records before allowing them to operate a vehicle for company business. If your restaurant is looking to add something a bit larger, like a food truck, catering van, or delivery truck, consider having a few staff members attend a driving class before putting them behind the wheel.

Natural Disasters and Emergencies

There are many unforeseen events that are out of our control when it comes to protecting human and physical assets. Fires, hurricanes, floods, and snow storms can cripple entire regions of the country in just a matter of a few hours. Evidence from Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and the recent record snowfalls suggests that without proper property insurance, natural disasters are very difficult for businesses to recover from. Ensuring that you’ll have enough money to rebuild or reopen if tragedy strikes is vital to protecting your business. While you cannot control when these types of events occur, you can ensure that you’ll be properly taken care of if and when they do.

Restaurant owners deal with a whirlwind of issues that are thrown their way on a day to day basis, whether they operate a single location or a multi-state business. Knowing and insuring the common liabilities your business may encounter is vital.