Running a restaurant brings a unique set of challenges that require restaurant general liability coverage and other types of insurance coverage. For example, fires in a restaurant may spread more easily due to grease buildup, and delivery workers get into car accidents. At World Insurance Associates, we work with restaurants in New York and New Jersey, and we see many common restaurant insurance claims that could have been prevented. Here’s how you can avoid making the mistakes many others have.
With our restaurant general liability coverage in New Jersey, the top insurance claim we see is due to fire, most commonly kitchen fires. They lead to severe revenue loss, property damage and stoppage of operations. To prevent fires:
- Keep kitchen equipment clean.
- Provide ongoing training for staff on equipment care and fire prevention.
- Train staff on proper usage of equipment.
- Install and maintain smoke alarms, sprinkler systems and other fire extinguishing systems.
If your restaurant deals with deliveries and drivers, you have extra liability potential, for example, from a delivery driver who gets into an accident while on the job. In addition, restaurants that serve alcohol could be held responsible if an intoxicated diner causes a driving accident. To prevent such occurrences:
- Run thorough background checks on any drivers.
- Develop a test to assess drivers’ skill set behind the wheel.
- Limit how much patrons are allowed to drink.
- Have liquor liability insurance to cover patrons who may leave your restaurant intoxicated.
General injuries cover such incidents as someone falling on your icy sidewalk and getting hurt. There’s no doubt that lawsuits can be costly, really costly. To prevent general injuries:
- Keep your restaurant interior and exterior areas in good condition. For example, shovel snow quickly, and de-ice sidewalks. Repair cracks on the floor or sidewalk, and ensure any stairs are in good shape.
- Design the restaurant so that employees have clear walkways to safely transport food and other goods.
- Store restaurant items in a safe space that does not present a blockage or other type of hazard.
- Hold ongoing training for restaurant employees on how to safely pick up and transport heavy loads.
- Clean and mop floors often; for example, slip-and-falls from spilled drinks are particularly common in fast food restaurants. Always put out caution signs during and after mopping.
- Pay extra-close attention to floors during the summer, when customers are more likely to wear sandals and be hurt by a nail poking through the floor.
Specific Patron Injuries
Specific patron injuries may occur from choking on food, breaking a tooth on plastic in food or a hard nut, and spilling hot food on skin. To avoid them:
- Ensure that someone trained in CPR is always working.
- Train staff in measures such as acceptable temperature ranges for serving food.
- Build multiple steps into a process to avoid wrong items getting into dishes.
Bacterial infections such as salmonella and E. Coli cause food poisoning. Many cases go unreported, so you may not be aware of the full extent of the problem. To minimize the chances of your restaurant patrons getting food poisoning:
- Keep poultry and meat at proper temperatures.
- Refrigerate condiments such as mayonnaise at their recommended temperatures.
- Enforce strict policies on washing hands.
- Follow firm policies on food preparation such as keeping certain foods separate.
- Hold ongoing training in areas such as food preparation and hand washing.
While restaurant general liability coverage in New York and New Jersey is necessary, so is a heavy dose of prevention. Prevention can reduce your insurance premiums and save you a lot of money by ensuring that many mishaps never happen.
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