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Three Risk Management Tips For Your Restaurant Business in 2022

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May 27, 2022

With the world beginning to return to normal and clientele activity increasing daily, this is likely to be one of the busier seasons you’ve had during the last several years. With increased patron activity to your restaurant business, the last thing you need is an unexpected accident slowing you down. There are a number of unique risks to your business that you face daily, let’s discuss some common ones and a few quick tips on how you can mitigate them.

1. Train Your Staff on Liquor Liability Exposures and Best Practice

If your business sells or serves alcohol, you are exposed to this unique form of liability. If a patron of your business was intoxicated and caused injury or damages to others (whether inside your establishment, or after they have left) - you could be found liable. To mitigate this risk, ensuring all your staff have completed provincial Serving It Right certification is a great starting point, but you should consistently discuss the topic at staff meetings to make sure it is perceived as more than just checking a box to any new employee. 

2. Install ANSUL Fire Systems (or Similar Industrial Fire Suppression Systems)

An ANSUL system is a pre-engineered, automatic fire suppression system that can tackle large, hazardous fires without human intervention. It is the most widely used kitchen suppression system in the world due to its many features and mechanisms to ensure that they are the safest and most reliable solution. The benefit with ANSUL systems is that since they are so vastly used, underwriters recognize them and will often provide preferred rating or coverage if they are installed on the property. 

Costs range from $3,000 to $5,000 to install, but could save you much more over their lifetime even on minor fires, as the property damage will often be below your deductible. With over $172 million in property damage from restaurant fires being caused annually in North America in approximately 6000 incidents, the odds are fairly high you will experience at least one during your career - even with good risk management practices. Having an ANSUL system (or any other fire suppression system) installed will not only save you money in a potential fire scenario by mitigating property damage, but on your insurance premiums as well.

3. Find an Insurance Broker Specialized in Hospitality

Yes.. this may go without saying - but finding an insurance broker who is specialized in your industry is extremely important within the restaurant industry. Restaurants inherently have many risks other businesses are not exposed to which require specialized insurance expertise. Working with deep fryers, open flames, serving seafood and liquor, are all exposures that require a trained eye to identify, mitigate and insure. 

When working with an insurance broker, ask them if they have experience in your industry and what sort of restaurants they have insured in the past, this will give you a good idea if you are working with a specialist versus a generalist. For example, your insurance broker should know what Serving It Right is, and be well informed on the current fire suppression solutions. This is so they can properly position your business to insurance companies and get the most competitive options for you. Perhaps most importantly, they should act as a trusted risk management advisor and inform you on best practices in the industry that can prevent claims from occurring, which will ultimately garner you cheaper premiums. 

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