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Loss Control Tips
Managing a restaurant brings numerous challenges. After all, restaurant owners must consistently deliver exceptional food and service, maintain a loyal customer base and ensure employee safety. What’s more, restaurant operations also carry a wide range of property and liability risks—both of which could contribute to costly damages. That’s why it’s crucial to have effective loss control measures in place. This resource summarizes common risks that restaurant owners must address and includes helpful strategies they can use to prevent potential claims.
Because restaurants often rely on a variety of heat producing appliances within their kitchens (e.g., ovens, deep fryers, grills and more), fire exposures are significant. Without adequate mitigation measures and suppression systems in place, the consequences from a fire incident can be devastating—causing property damage and serious (or even fatal) injuries. As such, the following fire prevention protocols should be a top priority for restaurant owners:
• Consult a fire protection company to determine what
types of devices, alarms, extinguishers and sprinklers
are necessary on the property.
• Utilize commercial-grade kitchen hoods that are fully
capable of capturing grease-laden vapors.
• Have all kitchen hoods professionally cleaned on a
routine basis. Depending on cooking operations
and frequency, hoods should either be cleaned
biannually or quarterly, or as recommended by a cleaning professional
• Install an adequate fire suppression system above
any kitchen appliances that have the potential to
• Keep the fire suppression system on a regular
maintenance and inspection regimen.
• Store Class K fire extinguishers within the kitchen
at all times. Take note that using an improper
extinguisher during a kitchen fire can increase the
spread of flames rather than reduce it.
• Give employees adequate training on how to
safely use both the fire suppression system and fire
extinguishers within the kitchen.
• Make sure fire-resistant barriers are placed
between sources of ignition—such as a burner—
and flammable liquids—such as the cooking oils
from a deep fat fryer.
• Establish a fire safety plan that accounts for both
preventive and evacuation strategies.
Serving delicious, high-quality food is critical to the
success of any restaurant. That being said, poor food safety protocols can have detrimental impacts—
potentially resulting in unsatisfied customers, foodborne
illnesses and wasted products due to contamination
or spoilage. Further, it can be extremely difficult for
restaurants to recover from the reputational damages
that often accompany a food safety mishap. Therefore,
to ensure appropriate food safety techniques, restaurant
owners should follow these guidelines:
• Train employees on safe food-handling measures
and how to avoid cross-contamination issues when
working with raw meat.
• Implement an effective food management system
to ensure expired products are never used and are
always disposed of appropriately.
• Store food in fully sealed and properly labeled
containers. Such labels should list the product
name and expiration date.
• Organize products in a way that ensures foods
getting closer to their expiration dates are used
• Utilize an adequate housekeeping regimen to
keep the kitchen clean and organized at all times.
• Establish pest control procedures to prevent
• Keep refrigerators in good working condition
through regular inspections and maintenance.
Make sure refrigerators are kept at proper
temperatures to avoid food spoilage issues.
As with any employer, restaurant owners have a
responsibility to protect their employees from illnesses
and injuries on the job. Especially in food preparation,
safeguarding employees from kitchen hazards (e.g.,
sharp objects, dangerous chemicals and hot or slippery
surfaces) is vital to prevent potential incidents. With this in
mind, restaurant owners should implement the following
employee safety procedures:
• Provide employees with regular safety training. Key
training topics should include cooking appliance
safety, kitchen housekeeping and proper knife handling and storage.
• Educate employees on the hazards associated with
workplace chemicals—namely, cleaning chemicals.
Emphasize what can happen if incompatible chemicals are mixed.
• Establish an in-depth training program for new
employees. Require new staff to be mentored or
supervised by experienced employees until they are
fully competent in their roles and responsibilities.
• Always keep a fully stocked first-aid kit available to
assist in the event of minor cuts or burns. Only allow
trained employees to administer first aid.
• Install slip-resistant mats throughout the kitchen
and in any other areas where walking surfaces could
become wet or sticky.
In addition to establishing a safe work environment,
it’s also important for restaurant owners to ensure that
their properties are suitable for customers. Whether
customers are dining in or ordering takeout, all it takes
is a single mishap—such as a slip incident in the parking
lot—to result in a costly accident lawsuit. To avoid such
liability concerns, restaurant owners should uphold these
• Keep the parking lot in good repair through regular
inspections and maintenance. Make it a priority to
fix potholes, cracks and other slip or trip hazards as
quickly as possible.
• Ensure that adequate snow removal and de-icing
protocols are in place throughout the property during
• Place water-resistant rugs at all property entrances
to eliminate slip and trip concerns from excess
moisture during adverse weather conditions (e.g., rain
• Train employees on proper spill management
practices. Specifically, employees should be
instructed to clean up spills immediately. In
addition, when cleaning up spills, employees
should display clear signage that warns passersby
of potential hazards.
• Ensure that a sufficient number of smoke detectors
and carbon monoxide alarms are installed throughout the property. Keep detectors and alarms on a
routine inspection and maintenance schedule.
• Make sure all entrances and exits are properly
marked and free of obstructions. Post signage that
clearly outlines emergency evacuation routes and
It’s vital for restaurant owners to take necessary risk
management precautions to minimize costly insurance
claims and lawsuits. Doing so can help ensure customer
satisfaction, reduce liability concerns, prevent property
damage and keep employees safe on the job.
While this resource offers several effective loss control
strategies, restaurant owners don’t have to navigate
their risk management programs alone. Working with
a qualified and experienced insurance professional
can make all the difference. Contact us today to review
coverage options and additional loss control tactics for