Managing Operational Risks


commercial meat slicer Within your restaurant there are quite a few things to think about when it comes to reducing the risk you inherently face as a manager or owner. You need to provide a safe working environment. This means preparing for the unforeseeable accidents, damages or even disasters that might impact your building or business. Protect your employees and your business by incorporating safety procedures into your daily operations and insuring that your restaurant is as safe as possible against potential lawsuits or damages.

Operational Safety

A restaurant manager needs to know the health and safety risks associated with restaurant operations. Every day there are plenty of chances for an employee to become ill or injured on the job. From the risk of slipping and falling to the risks associated with heavy-duty cooking equipment, accidents can and do happen. A customer may accidentally become ill or injured while dining at your restaurant. It is your responsibility to make safety an integral part of your operational procedure. Follow these guidelines to reduce the safety risks your restaurant faces:

Define policy and procedures in the employee handbook. Your employee manual is the perfect tool for laying out information pertaining to your restaurant’s policies and procedures on everything from safe food preparation procedures to employee conduct. The employee handbook should contain as many scenarios as possible so that the staff members know what to expect from their job, how to execute their tasks safely, and how to react to crisis situations. This is an integral part of your business and a great training tool. » Learn More About Developing an Employee Handbook

Train your employees thoroughly. Train all of your employees in the proper procedures and behaviors. Use the employee manual, as well as frequent demonstration,s as a tool to support the training. Training is crucial in order to keep employees from sustaining an injury or other risky behavior. » Learn More About Restaurant Training

Hold regular safety meetings. Keep all of your employees aware of safety procedures in the restaurant by holding regular safety meetings. Educate your staff on the potential hazards of working in the restaurant. This includes the dangers of slipping, falling and lifting injuries which can account for more than 40% of serious injuries in the restaurant. » Learn More about Health and Safety in the Commercial Kitchen

Make safety part of quarterly evaluations. When safety is integrated into the evaluation criteria for a restaurant manager’s quarterly (or annual) review, they will be more apt to take safety more seriously. Owners can reward managers for low occurrences of injuries and illnesses, or for having safety meetings regularly. This is also a good way to hold managers accountable for keeping safety a priority.

Restaurant Insurance

No matter how responsible your restaurant staff is or how thorough your training systems are, accidents will happen. It pays to be as prepared as possible. If you have not yet done so, be sure to speak with an insurance expert or attorney to discern how much and what kind of insurance you can afford in order to protect your restaurant against lawsuits or damages. Learn more about some of the insurance types you may want to consider in the list below:

General liability insurance. This type of insurance protects the insured business against personal injury, property damage and advertising injury, including damage from false advertising or slander. Basically, this protects you in case someone slips and falls or becomes ill after eating in your restaurant.

Personal injury. Personal injury insurances protects your restaurant against lawsuits in the event that a guest becomes injured in your restaurant.

Auto liability. This insurance covers damages by an employee driving a vehicle for the company. This is a good idea for restaurants with delivery services.

Liquor liability. This insurance protects the restaurant or bar from law suits in the event that an intoxicated person from your establishment causes damages. Most states require that any restaurant with a liquor license must carry liquor liability insurance.

Worker’s compensation. Most businesses are required to provide worker’s compensation insurance in the event that an employee is injured on the job. » Learn More About Employment and Labor Laws


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  1. If a person becomes intoxicated in the restaurant bar and is continued to be served and leaves and hits 5 cars in the parking lot of the establishment, who is responsible?

    • Nicole Castellano
      Nicole Castellano on

      This is a tricky situation Holly. It depends on the establishment, but the person might be able to sue the restaurant. If I were you I would check your local liquor enforcement laws or ask around to certain businesses. It’s always safer though to take a cab or ride share service like Uber or Lyft. Be safe out there!

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