The holiday season is a busy time for restaurant owners. Every night leading up to the holiday can have a packed dining room, busy kitchen, and a hectic staff. It’s important for restaurant owners to have properly trained staff to handle large holiday crowds, as well as having a comprehensive plan in place across all positions within the restaurant. Due in part to the holiday rush, risks that a restaurant is normally exposed to, are amplified. Here are a few risks that a restaurant may experience this holiday season along with a few tips on how to make it to through to the New Year!
Back of the House Rush
A packed dining room means one thing, a busy kitchen. As parties and tables grow in size for holiday gatherings, orders coming in and out of the kitchen can pile up quickly. A properly trained kitchen staff will be able to handle the rush, but it’s important to make sure that the kitchen is fully staffed so that no safety risks are taken while preparing dishes. If the restaurant is not already equipped with non-slip mats, they are a must during this fast paced time of the year. Having a system for entering and exiting the kitchen will prevent against any collisions from bussers and wait staff carrying items in and out.
Have Staff on Alert for Drinking
Alcohol is a common part of holiday celebrations, and it’s your staff’s responsibility to ensure that no patrons are overserved. If hosts seat a party that appears determined to get intoxicated, have them inform management immediately so that a vigilant eye can be kept on the amount they are served. Wait staff should be trained in being able to identify signs of intoxication by looking for signals like loudness or foul language, staggering or stumbling, moving slowly, and other physical or behavioral changes that could indicate that the patron has had enough. Encourage your wait staff to regularly fill water glasses and offer food to parties that are drinking heavily.
Examine Your Parking Situation
14% of all collisions in the US occur in parking lots, and the rush of the holiday season seems to make them happen even more regularly. If your restaurant has a limited parking area available to patrons, it may be best to hire a valet service to park cars in the surrounding area. It’s vital that if choosing to use a valet service, or implement your own, that your restaurant’s insurance policy include Valet coverage. This coverage will protect your restaurant from being held liable in the event of any theft or damage to a patron’s car, as well as covering anyone who may get injured, both the valet, a patron, or someone walking down the street.
Scale Back the Holiday Party
Just about every restaurant has a holiday party for their staff, and they can often turn into quite the event. Before hosting this year’s party, it’s important to know if your restaurant’s insurance covers liabilities that could occur during an internal event, especially one that involves alcohol. If you do choose to serve alcohol at the employee event, try giving out drink tickets to limit how much everyone consumes. Moving the party to the afternoon also could deter overindulgence, but even if an employee does have a little too much fun, be sure to provide the proper assistance they need getting home.
Speak to Your Broker
There is never a bad time of the year to call your insurance broker to review what coverage your restaurant is currently carrying, and the holiday season certainly calls for it. Ask your broker to go over all areas of coverage that your restaurant has within its policy, and also ask if they have any suggestions for additional coverage. If you have any plans for operating different during the holidays, discuss this with your broker, and it may require a different type of coverage that can be added on for a short or extended period of time. An RPA representative would be more than happy to help you and your restaurant make sure that this holiday season goes off without a hitch. Give us a call at 844-358-2296.