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How to Prevent Fires in Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 24, 2019
Follow these tips to prevent restaurant firesOpen flames, cooking oils, cleaning chemicals, and paper products are the perfect ingredients for a fire, and all are found in most restaurants. So, it’s no surprise that fire companies respond to more than 8,000 structure fires at restaurants and bars each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

A fire in your restaurant can cause lost revenues, injuries, death, higher restaurant insurance premiums, lawsuits, and even the end of your business, which is why it’s essential that you and your staff understand fire risks and do everything possible to prevent fires.

The right insurance can help pay for damages caused by a fire, but preventing fires should always be your first line of defense.

The Main Fire Risks in Restaurants

Cooking

It’s no surprise that cooking is the leading cause of restaurant fires, accounting for 64 percent of all restaurant fires according to the US Fire Administration (USFA). When flames get into the kitchen’s ductwork, exhaust systems, vents, and fans – all of which are prone to grease buildup – fire can quickly spread.

Heating and Electrical Malfunction

The deadliest restaurant fire in US history was at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Nevada in 1980. A result of an electrical ground fault, the fire killed 85 people. According to the USFA, seven percent of all restaurant fires are caused by heating and electrical malfunctions.

Unsafe wiring, switches, plugs, or sockets projecting heat onto a flammable or combustible material cause these fires. Often, outdated wiring is not able to handle the voltage used by today’s appliances. Commercial kitchen equipment is certified by NSF International; however, most smaller equipment purchased at retail stores is not certified and can be a hazard when used in commercial kitchens.

Gas leaks and the resulting explosions are often the most devastating fires. Thankfully, this type of occurrence is uncommon but can occur when older or neglected equipment isn’t able to support the flow of gas. Gas is released into the air and can be ignited by turning on an electrical device or lighting a match.

Other Fire Risks

Other causes of restaurant fires include unintentional, careless actions (4 percent), appliances (4 percent), other heat (3 percent), and several other categories, according to the USFA reports.

4 Restaurant Fire Prevention Tips


1 - Employee Training

  • Your workers should be trained in fire prevention methods and the importance of proper cleaning.
  • Workers should know not to use water to try to put out a grease fire because it can cause the grease to splatter and spread the fire.
  • Employees should be trained on how to use a fire extinguisher. The National Restaurant Association suggests using the acronym PAST – pull out the Pin, Aim at the base, make a Sweeping motion, and be Ten feet away.
  • Employees should know how to properly store flammable liquids – kept in original containers or puncture-resistant tightly sealed containers stored in well-ventilated areas.

2 - Regular Maintenance

  • Fire-suppression systems should be professionally inspected twice a year.
  • The pressure gauge on portable fire extinguishers should be checked monthly to be sure that the extinguisher is holding pressure and inspected and certified annually.
  • Electrical equipment should have regular maintenance and regularly checked for frayed cords and cracked or broken switch plates.
  • Exhaust systems should be inspected for grease buildup. In high-volume operations, the NFPA requires quarterly inspections and semi-annual inspections for moderate-volume operations.

3 - Installation of an Automatic Fire-Suppression System

Fire-suppression systems, which are built into stoves or oven hoods, have sensors that can detect a fire and automatically release a chemical to put out a fire and shut down the fuel or electric supply to cooking equipment. Installing a fire suppression system can sometimes lower your insurance premiums.

4 - Portable Fire Extinguishers

You should also keep portable fire extinguishers handy as a backup. Class K extinguishers are used for kitchen fires that involve grease, fats, and oils that burn at a high temperature. Class ABC extinguishers can be used on all other fires such as paper, wood, electrical, etc.

Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Understanding fire risks in your restaurant and taking steps to prevent them will help keep your employees, your customers, and your business safe.

Get the Right Insurance for Your Restaurant, Bar or Nightclub

Contact us for the best PA restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Berks County and elsewhere!If these measures fail, having the right insurance can help repair the damage.

But don’t overpay for restaurant insurance. Give the independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online. We’ll search competing insurance companies to find affordable restaurant insurance that will properly protect your business.

Don’t delay – call the experts at American Insuring Group today!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

How to Guard Against 4 Hazards at Brew Pubs and Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 24, 2019

Brew pub hazards and restaurant insurance protection in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Berks County, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, PA and moreAccording to the Brewers Association, craft brewing was a $26 billion industry in 2017 and accounted for more than 23% of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market. While overall beer sales were down about 1%, craft brewing grew at a rate of 5% by volume.

As the demand for craft beers increases, the number of craft breweries continues to rise! For many, making craft brews is fun: creating original recipes, coming up with clever names, and watching people enjoy your creations. In fact, many of these craft breweries are started as hobbies among a bunch of friends or family members in someone’s garage. 

However, it’s important to remember that once you begin selling your beer or if you decide to open a brewpub or restaurant, you need to treat it like a business and that includes addressing safety and risk management. The safer your brewery or restaurant, the safer your workers. Safe workers mean fewer injuries and expenses and perhaps even the difference between a thriving business and one that is forced to shut its doors.

Insurance is Important; Prevention is Key

Insurance will help protect you, your workers, and your brewery or restaurant, but prevention is always your best bet.

There are a surprising number of hazards during the production of beer: grain mills with sharp parts, mash and lauter tuns with boiling ingredients, chemicals, overflowing kettles, pressurized fermenter tanks. Then there hazards common to many industries such as the use of heavy equipment and ladders. 

If you want to keep your workers safe and protect your business from lawsuits and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) fines, it’s important to recognize potential hazards and address them BEFORE someone is injured or worse.

 

Here are 4 Common Hazards in the Brewing Industry:

1 - Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas produced during beer fermentation. It’s heavier than air, soit can collect at the bottom of confined spaces and containers such as tanks. When it accumulates, it can lead to dizziness, loss of consciousness, and even death.

According to Crowcon Detection Instruments Ltd, a toxic gas detection equipment manufacturer, “Exposure to as little as 0.5% volume CO2 represents a toxic health hazard, while concentrations greater than 10% volume can lead to death. Because CO2 is completely odorless and colorless, there is no physical indication of danger until it is usually too late.”

Carbon monoxide detectors should be used in confined spaces where CO2 can quickly accumulate, and those areas should only be entered when absolutely necessary. The buddy system can also help avoid issues with CO2

2 - Heavy Equipment

As the volume of beer production increases, breweries to use forklifts and other equipment to move heavy loads like raw materials, pallets of kegs, and cases of beer. It’s essential that a qualified person trains anyone who is going to be operating any of this type of equipment before operating the equipment. 

3 - Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances

Brewers use a variety of hazardous chemicals and toxins such as caustics and acids used in sanitization that can cause irritation, sensitization, corrosion, fires, and explosions. Workers need to be trained on proper handling of hazardous materials, the use of personal protective equipment, and first aid. OSHA requires that safety data sheets be available for every hazardous chemical used. 

4 - Slips and Falls

Falls are one of the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. The use of ladders and catwalks in breweries can create falling hazards. Guardrail systems, safety nets, personal fall protection systems, and training on the proper use of ladders can help prevent falls from higher levels.

Spills should be cleaned up immediately, floors should be kept clean, and any potential hazards clearly marked.

Brewing beer can still be enjoyable, but once you begin selling your beer or decide to open a restaurant, it’s important to assess hazards and take a few safety measures to protect your workers and your business. The right insurance coverage – whether that’s genera liability, workers’ compensation, or liquor liability insurance – provides protection when safety measures fail.

 

Save on Great Insurance for Your Brewery, Brew Pub or Restaurant

Insurance-Savings-Breweries-Restaurants-PA-175Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online to get the right insurance at the best price for your brewery or restaurant.

Our independent insurance agents will compare plans and costs among competing carriers and present the best insurance solution to meet your needs.

Call or click today to get started!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Brewery Insurance, Brew Pub Insurance

Restaurant Insurance Costs and Risk Management

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 13, 2019

Risk Management Tips to Lower Restaurant Insurance Cost in PA, DE, NJ, MDHope for the best, but plan for the worst. This is true in many of life’s endeavors, but perhaps even more so in the food industry. Building a profitable food business doesn’t just happen; it’s a result of a great deal of planning.

The food industry is notorious for high employee turnover, and restaurants are filled with potential hazards. A destructive kitchen fire or nasty lawsuit could be the end of the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Restaurant insurance is essential to help protect your business when these incidents occur, but if you can prevent them from happening in the first place, that’s even better, and you’ll lower your insurance costs in the process. 

Developing a risk management plan for your restaurant, bar or nightclub is the first step.

Here are three things to consider when creating a risk management plan for your restaurant:

1 – Restaurant Employee Training

Employees can be your greatest asset and your greatest liability. The food industry experiences a turnover rate that is higher than 70 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This high turnover rate often leads to providing minimum training to restaurant employees. Owners and managers figure, “This new employee probably won’t stay here very long; why waste time and resources to train them.” This mentality is understandable, but it’s also a mistake.

Properly training your employees helps keep them safe, your customers safe, and your business secure. After all, your employees are handling much of your restaurant’s day-to-day operations.  Here are two training areas to consider:

Safety Training
Understanding how to work safely is probably the most vital training you can offer especially for any employees working in the kitchen where there is a multitude of hazards. Employees should know how to safely use any tools or equipment they use to avoid personal injury.

They should also understand general safety precautions such as the importance of removing grease from stoves to avoid fires; how to handle, store and prepare food to prevent contamination: and keeping floors clear and dry to avoid falls.

Serving alcohol
If you serve, sell, or furnish alcohol in your restaurant, you could be held liable for any accident, injury or damaged caused by an intoxicated customer. Therefore, it’s vital that any employee serving alcohol knows how to recognize if someone is intoxicated and how to handle them.

2 – Restaurant Building Maintenance

Properly maintaining your property will help keep your employees and customers safe from injuries and your property safe from damage.

Here are some basic building maintenance tips to keep in mind when creating your risk management plan:

Keep it clean
Everything from the kitchen to the dining room should be kept clean. Spills in the dining room should be cleaned up immediately to avoid falls, countertops in the kitchen should be kept clean to prevent food contamination, and ovens and stoves should be regularly cleaned to avoid fires.

Keep it clutter-free
Exits and entrances should always be kept clear in case of an emergency and areas where people walk should be clear of clutter to avoid trips and falls. 

Keep it safe
Keeping up with general building maintenance such as lose railings or broken tile can save you from bigger repair bills and more importantly from injuries and potential lawsuits. 

3 – Restaurant Equipment

There’s a lot of equipment in a restaurant, and you and your employees rely on it to get the job done. It’s crucial that you properly maintain that equipment to avoid equipment breakdown and injuries. Here are a few things to consider:

Heating Units
Heating units such as stoves and heating lamps should be inspected regularly and any issues addressed immediately to avoid injuries and fires.

Refrigeration Units
If your refrigerator breaks down, you risk losing all of the food in it or worse causing food contamination and illness. This can cost you time, money, and more. Inspect your freezers and refrigerators regularly and address any issues immediately.

 

When Plans Fail

Sometimes even the best-laid plans fail, and that’s where insurance can help protect your restaurant business. For example, Workers Compensation Insurance helps pay for medical costs and lost pay to injured employees and protects your company in the event of an employee lawsuit. Liquor Liability Insurance helps pay legal costs in an alcohol-related claim. General Liability Insurance helps pay medical expenses and legal fees if a customer is injured.

Contact the Restaurant Insurance Specialists and Start Saving Today!

Contact us to save on restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, Reading, Pittsburgh, PA, and beyond!The best way to determine which insurance protections are best for your restaurant is to find an experienced independent agent who specializes in Restaurant Insurance.

Get the best price on reliable coverage by working with our independent agents who will compare costs and coverages among many competing companies. Great coverage at a great price, guaranteed!

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Bar Insurance, Nightclub Insurance

The Right Way to Insure Food Trucks

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 09, 2018

Insurance tips for your food truck businessIn 2015, the food truck industry was valued at $856.7 million, and it is expected to grow to $996.2 million by 2020. There are many reasons for this growth including the seemingly easy entry into the restaurant business that it provides.

Low Start Up Costs

You can purchase a food truck for as little as a few thousand dollars, but like any business, it’s imperative that you protect your assets and your business. One way to protect both is with the right insurance.

Insuring a food truck can be a little tricky because it has many of the risks associated with commercial vehicles as well as those associated with restaurant insurance, not to mention all the risks that all businesses face, plus a few that are unique to the food truck industry.

4 Unique Risks

For example, it is more difficult to regulate temperatures on a food truck, which can increase the risk of food contamination and food poisoning. Plus, the small food prep area in food trucks create a greater chance of accidentally exposing customerswith food allergies to allergens. Slip and fall injuries can occur both inside and outside of a food truck, and trucks can be easier to break into than brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Another consideration is Workers Compensation Insurance. In Pennsylvania, It is required for most – but not all - businesses with employeesto have WC insurance. If you fall into the “not all” category, you may be tempted to forego WC coverage to “save money.” But kitchens can be dangerous places where injuries can happen, and medical bills can quickly add up to significantly more than the money you saved.

Don’t Skimp on Insurance

It may be tempting to try to save money by only purchasing the minimum insurance required by law or by the venue where you park your truck, but that minimum may not be enough to protect your business.

For example, many festivals require a minimum $1 million in general liability coverage. You can purchase liability insurance to cover just that event, but then you leave your business open to risks when it’s not at the event. Plus, buying insurance on an event-by-event basis can be significantly more expensive than purchasing it on a yearly basis.

If you keep the big picture in mind when purchasing insurance for your food truck, you allow your business the flexibility and freedom it may need to grow along with the protection you need to stay in business.

To ensure that you have the proper protection, it is best to consult with an independent insurance agent who specializes in food truck and restaurant insurance. We can help determine any mandated minimum insurance requirements along with any additional risks your business may face.

  

Here are some of the types of insurance to consider for your food truck business:

 

1 - General Liability Insurance

This insurance protects your business from lawsuits or claims made by third parties including physical injury, property damage, and legal fees.

2 - Commercial Auto Insurance

This insurance helps cover risks while you are driving your food truck. If you are in an auto accident, it helps cover the cost of medical, repair, and legal expenses.

3 - Business Owner’s Insurance

This insurance combines business content coverage and general liability insurance to cover both lawsuits and damage to your property, and it usually costs less than buying property and general liability coverage separately.  

4 - Worker’s Compensation Insurance

This insurance pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and lawsuits if one of your employees is hurt on the job. 

5 - Additional Insurance

Other types of commercial insurance you may want to consider include…

  • Umbrella Insurance, which goes above the normal limits covered by your liability and auto policies
  • Food Spoilage Insurance, which covers you if your food spoils due to equipment breakdown, mechanical failure, or power outage
  • Loss of Income Insurance, which covers some of your income if your food truck is damaged, and you’re unable to continue operations.

  

Do it Right! Contact Us for Help in Making a Smart Decision

Contact us about food truck insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, PA and more.If you aren’t absolutely sure what you need to properly protect your food truck business, give the independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group a call.

We specialize in restaurant and food truck insurance and can help you sift through all your risks and options in order to properly protect your business. Simply contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to contact us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Small Business Insurance, Business Insurance, Food Truck Insurance

Liquor Liability Insurance: Not just for Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 04, 2018

Do You Need Liquor Liability Insurance?It will soon be that time of year when many businesses will offer their employees a chance to celebrate the season with a holiday party. At some of these parties, alcohol will be served, and, as we all know, too much alcohol can make people do crazy things!

But how much is too much alcohol?

The answer to that question is entirely different if you’re talking about a 110-pound woman who hasn’t eaten all day and a 210-pound man who has been eating from the buffet for hours.

Be Careful - You Can Be Held Liable

What happens if one of your employees drinks too much and gets into a car accident on the way home? What if a vendor who stopped by your party drinks too much and breaks a leg falling down your steps? What if one of your managers drinks too much and gets into a physical altercation with a colleague?

The truth is that your business could be held liable or responsible because you served him or her too much alcohol. That means that you might have to pay for damages to your employee’s car and the car he hit, plus any injuries. That means that you may have to pay for your vendor’s medical expenses. And it means you could be sued for any injuries sustained in the altercation. That's where liquor liability insurance comes in, but more about that later.

Dram Shop Laws Also Apply to Private Events

Pennsylvania is one of 43 states that have Dram Shop Laws. That law states that any business or individual that serves alcohol in any form – wine, beer, spirits - to a visibly intoxicated person is legally responsible for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the serving of alcoholic beverages. This law applies to not only businesses like bars and restaurants that are in the business of selling alcohol, but also to businesses that provide alcohol at private events. It can also apply to a business giving alcoholic beverages as gifts to clients, vendors, or employees.

Liquor Liability Insurance 

The good news is that there is a way to protect your business: Liquor Liability Insurance. This insurance won’t keep you from getting sued, but it will help cover the cost of your legal defense and any settlements you may be required to pay if you are sued. 

Host Liquor Liability Insurance

While businesses with a liquor license are required to have Liquor Liability Insurance as part of their restaurant insurance coverage, Host Liquor Liability Insurance protects businesses that don't manufacture, serve, or sell alcohol from liquor-related lawsuits. It helps protect companies that host social events where alcohol is served, and it is often included in your Commercial General Liability policy. 

Host Liquor Liability coverage under your general liability policy may not cover you if you are negligent in any way such as serving alcohol to a minor or violating ordinances and regulations related to the distribution of alcohol.

How to Reduce Liability Exposure

You can also reduce your liability exposure by either not allowing alcohol at business events or if alcohol is allowed, practicing responsible behaviors. Here are a few tips to reduce your liability exposure:

  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages
  • Serve food
  • Consider hosting your party at a venue – like a restaurant or bar – that has a liquor license
  • Hire a professional bartender who can recognize the signs of intoxication
  • Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who shouldn’t drive
  • Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is scheduled to end
  • DO NOT charge employees for alcoholic beverages because then you are technically in the business of selling alcohol and all the implications that go with it.

 

Get the Right Insurance Protection - Contact Us Today

Buy Liquor Liability InsuranceIf you decide to serve alcohol at your next business function, check your commercial general liability policy to make sure that it provides coverage for liquor liability.

To protect your business from liability, give the experienced agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online. You'll get great insurance protection at a great price. Contact us today to get started.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Liquor Liability Insurance, Business Insurance

6 Knife Safety Tips for Restaurant Owners

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 07, 2018

Follow these knife safety tips to lower your restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lehigh Valley, PA and beyond.One of the best ways to reduce restaurant insurance costs is to improve workplace safety – especially in the kitchen.

Since cuts and lacerations are one of the most common injuries found in restaurant kitchens, it just makes sense to enforce knife-handling safety. It could take a considerable chunk out of your insurance costs and create a healthier and more productive work environment to boot!

Here are Six Knife-Handling Safety Tips:

1 - Always Use a Sharp Knife

Keeping your knives sharp is one of the easiest ways to make them safer. A dull knife forces you to apply more force, which is more likely to cause a slip and increase the risk of injury. Use a sharpening stone or knife sharpener to maintain the original sharpness of the blade.

Most knife blades are designed with a 20-degree angle on each side. If many of the ingredients you’re cutting are harder, this is perfect, but if most of your ingredients are softer, you may want to sharpen your knife to a 15-degree angle on both sides. 

2 - Use the Right Knife

Knives come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. You have your chef’s knife, your paring knife, your bread knife, your cleaver, etc. Each is made for a different type of task. When choosing the best knife for a job, consider the size of the blade and what you are cutting and the type of blade edge – serrated, etc. Here’s an in-depth guide for choosing the best knife for the job.

And remember to treat your knives well. They are not made for opening cans or boxes; they are made to cut food. Using them for other tasks can quickly damage your blade making it dull and unsafe.

3 - Know How to Cut With a Knife

Always use a cutting board to protect your hands and your knives and to allow you to cut consistently. Knowing how to grip the knife and how to hold the food you’re cutting is also important. There are two basic ways to hold a knife – the handle grip and the blade grip. The food you’re cutting should be placed on a cutting board on a stable, flat surface. Protect your fingertips by curling them inward, using your knuckles to guide your knife.

4 - Be Alert

Commercial kitchens can be hectic places, but pay attention to what you’re doing when you’re holding a sharp knife. Even a moment’s distraction can cause an accident and an injury.

5 - Store Knifes Correctly

Every knife should have a specific storage space – NOT in a drawer – where it is kept when not in use. A knife block or roll will not only help protect your employees but also keep knives easily accessible and protected, so they will last longer. Don’t leave knives laying on the counter between uses. They can easily get knocked off and cause an injury.

6 - Keep Knives Clean

Do not leave your knife on a cutting board or in a sink full of soapy water. Immediately washing your knife and returning it to its designated storage space will help keep your employees safe and prevent contamination keeping your customers safe.

Safety Training Pays in More Ways Than One! 

It’s essential that restaurant employees are adequately trained on knife safety and that you make it clear to everyone that safety is a priority in your restaurant. So remember to follow these knife safety tips to protect your employees, reduce accidents, and lower your restaurant insurance costs.

Save On Restaurant Insurance - Contact Us Today! 

Your Trusted Choice Independent Restaurant Insurance AgentsAnother way to take a bite out of restaurant insurance costs is to work with an independent insurance agency like American Insuring Group.

Not only do we have agents who specialize in restaurant insurance who make sure that you get the right insurance for your individual needs, but we are also insurance brokers, so we compare costs among many competing insurance companies to find you the best price for that insurance!

High quality insurance protection for your restaurant at a great price - now that's a real win-win for your business! So give American Insuring Group a call at (610) 775-3848 or (800) 947-1270 to speak with one of our restaurant insurance specialists, or contact us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Safer Kitchens = Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs. Here's How.

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 09, 2018

For more information on steps you can take to lower your PA restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia, Berks County, Lancaster, Allentown and beyond, contact us.Restaurant kitchens are notorious for having open flames, sharp equipment, fast-paced work environments, tight spaces, and many other safety risks.

If you can make your restaurant a safer place for your employees, you'll create happier and more productive employees and lower your restaurant insurance costs at the same time. It's that simple.

But, as we know, simple doesn't always mean easy! 

Here are Five Steps Restaurant Owners Can Take to Improve Safety and Lower Insurance Costs

#1 - Teach Restaurant Safety Procedures

Unfortunately, restaurants often experience high employee turnover so too often new employee training consists of "here's what we serve" and "here's where we keep X, Y, and Z." Just a few minutes of safety training can go a long way to a safer restaurant and fewer injuries, and the more extensive the training, the better results you'll see. New employees should be taught basic food safety practices, common hazards (falls, burns, cuts, etc.) and how to avoid them, and how to safely operate equipment.

#2 - Operate Restaurant Equipment Safely

It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when it comes to operating restaurant equipment safely. General guidelines for equipment safety include the following:

  • Make sure equipment is turned off before plugging it in or starting it
  • Use safety guards where appropriate
  • Check for frayed cords and loose parts before use
  • Plug appliances directly into an outlet
  • Keep equipment clean between uses

#3 - Practice Fire Prevention

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are approximately 7,410 structure fires in restaurants every year resulting in about three deaths, 110 injuries, and $165 million in property damage. Cooking equipment caused three out of five of those fires. Deep fryers were involved in 21% of those fires and ranges or cooktops were involved in 14% of those fires.

Failure to clean was a factor in 22% of the fires. That's worth repeating… failure to clean was a factor in nearly one-quarter of those fires. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to avoid many fires in a kitchen is to keep your equipment clean. You also want to make sure that kitchen staff stays attentive to cooking dishes. This is where proper safety training comes in.

Employees should know how to put out a grease fire, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how to turn off gas and electrical power in the event of an emergency. An evacuation plan should be posted, and all employees should be familiar with it.

Here are other fire safety guidelines:
• Have multiple fire extinguishers at your restaurant (not just in the kitchen)
• Have exit signs and emergency lights installed
• Install fire suppression systems

#4 - Know the Most Common Injuries in Restaurants

Common injuries in restaurants include burns, cuts and punctures, sprains and strains, and eye injuries. All employees should be trained on how to avoid these injuries and what to do if they occur.

#5 - Provide Safety Equipment

Create a safe working environment with slip-resistant mats, wet floor signs, exhaust fans, thermostats, fire extinguishers, fire and smoke detectors.

Where appropriate provide employees with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and require that they are worn. Examples of PPE include dishwashing gloves, cut-resistant gloves, freezer gloves, oven mitts, aprons, anti-slip shoes, and back support belts.

Creating a safe environment in your restaurant isn't just good for your employees, your customers, and your vendors, it's also good for your bottom line!

Here’s How to Save Even More on Restaurant Insurance

If you want to learn more about saving money on restaurant insurance, give one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

Not only does American Insuring Group specialize in commercial insurance to ensure that your business is adequately protected, but we also compare pricing with competing insurance companies to make sure you get the best price.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Restaurant Workers Comp Insurance: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 12, 2018

Restaurants come in all shapes and sizes from national fast-food chains to family-run diners with a single location. A safe restaurant can lower your workers compensation insurance costs in Allentown, Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond. it’s a mixed bag.

On one hand, the cost of workers comp insurance for servers, cashiers, busboys, dishwashers, and management is lower than average for all occupations. On the other hand, the cost for WC insurance for cooks is above average. 

Most Workers Comp Insurance Claims are Small

Thankfully, most injuries that occur within a restaurant are relatively minor. This translates to lower medical benefits costs, lower temporary total indemnity benefits costs, and infrequent permanent partial disability benefits.

The restaurant industry has a high turnover rate, which often means that safety training is limited, which can lead to more injuries.

Returning to Work

Getting employees back to work quickly and safety after a workplace injury is always a priority of a good workers compensation program. With the restaurant industry, the bad news is that the high number of employees who speak English as a second language can make placement in alternative duty positions challenging; the good news is that there are plenty of modified duties available. Here are just a few examples:

  • A waiter or waitress can fill in as host or hostess.
  • Some injured employees can do side work like setting up the tables or filling water glasses, salt and pepper shakers, ketchup bottles., etc.
  • A dishwasher can ask another employee to carry heavy tubs of dirty dishes so he or she can wash them.

How to Lower Your Workers Compensation Insurance Costs

Workers compensation insurance rates often come down to safety. More injuries mean higher workers comp costs, and of course fewer injuries mean lower insurance costs. It may not be easy, but it is worth it. For every one dollar spent on safety programs, businesses can save $4 to $6 from costs associated with injuries and fatalities, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Here are a few tips to help reduce the number of injuries at your restaurant:

  • Create a safety program for your restaurant and provide safety and first aid training

  • Require that all injuries – no matter how small - be reported so you can identify patterns or potential problems before something big happens

  • Offer employees incentives such as safety awards and other prizes for employees who follow your safety program.

Common Restaurant Injuries

In and out of the kitchen, injuries from falls and disability from repetitive motion injuries occur more frequently in restaurants than in most industries. While most injuries are minor, severe injuries, can and do occur in restaurants, especially in the kitchen. Here are three of the most common injuries in restaurant kitchens according to QSR magazine:

Burns

More than 5,000 restaurant fires are reported in the U.S. every year resulting in about 100 injuries, about $116 million in property damage, and fewer than five deaths. It’s no surprise that FEMA reports cooking as the leading cause of restaurant fires accounting for 64 percent of all restaurant fires. Other causes include unintentional careless actions (4 percent), appliances (4 percent), and other heat (3 percent). Deep-fat fryers are the top cause of burns in restaurant kitchens, according to OSHA.

The National Restaurant Association recommends these burn prevention tips:

  • Use trays, hot pads, oven mitts, or dry waiter’s cloths to help carry and serve hot dishes.

  • Be careful when removing plates from heat lamps and heat strips to avoid contact with hot surfaces.

  • With deep-fat fryers, use the correct grease level, cook at the manufacturers recommended temperatures, and don’t over fill fryer baskets.

  • Because oil and water don’t mix make sure that fryer and fryer baskets are dry after washing and don’t allow excess ice crystals from frozen foods to get into the cooking oil.

  • Keep grill and stove surfaces clean to prevent grease flare-ups.

  • Use proper cooking tools such as tongs to prevent contact with hot surfaces and foods.

Lacerations and Puncture Wounds

Most cooks have had their share of scrapes and small cuts, but serious lacerations and even amputated fingers can happen. Your kitchen staff should be trained on how to use knives properly and sharp tools should always be returned to their proper location when workers are done using them. A knife left on a counter could easily fall on someone’s foot causing injury. When a laceration or puncture wound does occur, immediately treat and disinfect the wound to help prevent infection.

Sprains and Strains

Restaurant workers can suffer from strains if they’re using improper lifting techniques, and reaching for hard-to-reach items can cause injury.

Misplaced or hard-to-reach items can cause worker injury due to overreaching or trips. Restaurant workers can also suffer from strains due to improper lifting. When these injuries occur, analgesic heat rubs, muscle ointments, and aspirin can help reduce pain and maintain productivity.

 

Get a Free Workers Compensation Insurance Quote and Start Saving!

For a free workers comp insurance quote for your restaurant or other business, call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

Our dedicated independent agents will carefully shop the market, leaving no stone unturned to help you find great protection at the best price!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Business Insurance

3 Restaurant Insurance Tips to Protect Your Business

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 08, 2018

Restaurant Insurance Tips and advice for restaurant, bar, and nightclub owners in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster PA and more.As a restaurant owner, you know there are certain types of restaurant insurance that you need to protect your business.

What if a customer is injured on your property and sues you? How will you repair the damages if there’s a fire in your kitchen? There are so many “what-ifs” in any business, especially if you’re in the food industry.

While you may have perfected your Béarnaise sauce and learned how to create a soufflé that stands tall, what do you really know about insurance? How well do you know each type of insurance and how much coverage you need? Let’s face it; insurance can be complicated!

That’s why your best bet is to work with an independent insurance broker who specializes in restaurant insurance and can help ensure that you have the right coverage at the best price.

 

Here are 3 Things to Consider Before Signing on the Dotted Line

#1. Assess your Risks and Insurance Needs

Play the “what if” game to determine what kind of risks your business may be susceptible to and then consider what assets are essential to running your business – the ones you can’t do business without. An underwriter from your insurance company will determine the level of risk it is willing to take and how much coverage it is ready to provide to determine your insurance premiums.

However, it’s still good to know what protection you need. And things change – maybe your business is growing, or you sold a piece of equipment – so you’ll want to have a yearly insurance checkup with your insurance agent to make sure you still have the right coverage to protect your business.

#2. Realize that Cheaper May Not Be Better

It’s true that you don’t want to pay more for insurance than you have to, but if you purchase the cheapest insurance, and it doesn’t cover you when something happens, that isn’t protecting your business. 

Many restaurant owners increase the deductible to save money on their premiums. That’s often a good idea, but make sure you have enough available cash to cover that deductible if something happens. Before raising that deductible, ask yourself, what financial resources do I have available and what level of risk am I willing to take.

The best way to save money is to work with a broker who can get you the best price on the coverage you need by comparing prices from several insurance agencies.

#3. Understand What You’re Signing Before You Sign

Insurance policies can be complicated, but it’s essential that you understand the terms of your policy and the exact coverage that it provides. Make sure that you understand the exclusions and look for gaps where additional coverages may be needed.

For example, if you have a liquor license, general liability usually doesn’t cover that, but liquor liability insurance does. Talk to your insurance broker and ask questions - that’s what we’re here for.

Remember, the purpose of business insurance is to protect your business. To make sure that you’re covered if you get sued or if there’s a fire in your kitchen, or if any number of unforeseen incidents occur. You want to be certain that an accident cannot put you out of business.
 

Get Help. Contact the Restaurant Insurance Specialists!

Get the best restaurant insurance at an affordable price. Serving Philadelphia, Berks County, the Lehigh Valley, Allegheny County and more.Don't go it alone. Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

We specialize in quality restaurant insurance at affordable pricing, and provide prompt service not only when you’re purchasing your insurance, but also if you have a claim.

We have access to multiple insurance companies and will shop and compare both coverage and cost to ensure that you have the right insurance to protect your business at the best possible price.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance, Bar Insurance, Nightclub Insurance

Restaurant Insurance and Food Truck Safety

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 10, 2018

Food truck safety tips to lower your restaurant commercial insurance in Allentown, Reading, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Food Trucks may have started as a big-city phenomenon, but their numbers are growing in big and small towns alike. While the restaurant industry continues to grow at a steady rate of approximately 2% each year, food trucks have increased at a rate of 7.9% annually over the past five years, according to FoodTruckr.com. In 2017, food trucks were a $2 million industry.

Much of the appeal may be the relatively low start-up and operating costs. But as with any business, food trucks come with their share of risks. The right type of restaurant insurance can help protect your investment if something happens. Taking proactive steps to avoid that “dreaded something” from happening can save lots of time, money, and headaches, and avoid increased restaurant insurance premiums as well.

Here are three food truck risks you should consider and tips to help you mitigate them:

Damage to Your Vehicle

Your food truck is your livelihood, and if something were to happen to it – like a fire or auto accident – that puts your vehicle out of commission for any length of time, your business could be in jeopardy. Here are some tips to avoid damage to your food truck:

  • Vet your employees.
    We know you have a lot of things to consider when hiring someone new, but if they will be driving your truck, it’s essential to check their driving record. If they’ve had multiple accidents or speeding tickets, the chances of them damaging your truck in an accident are probably higher. Plus, employees with bad driving records could cost you more on commercial auto insurance.

  • Drive Safely.
    While your food truck is in motion, there’s always the possibility of an accident. However, there are safety measures that you can take and that you can share with your employees such as being an alert driver, maintaining your truck, Keeping enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you, etc. Mobile-Cuisine offers these food truck driving safety Tips.

Injury to an Employee

There are a lot of dangers in the food industry that also apply to food trucks like falling, burns, cuts, etc. Your employees can be your biggest asset and your biggest liability. Practicing safety in the kitchen can help save you money on Workers’ Compensation and liability costs, and it’s just good business. Here are tips to create a safe kitchen for your food truck:

  • Create and enforce a safety plan.
    This is a big one. It can be time-consuming, but it is well worth your time if it can avoid causing injury to employees or customers.

  • Train your employees.
    Creating a safety plan and then simply letting it sit in a drawer gathering dust is a waste of time and money. Make sure your employees understand and follow the safety procedures you’ve put in place. Make it clear that safety is a priority and hat your safety plan isn’t just a formality, but something that every employee is expected to follow.

  • Create a safe environment.
    Try to eliminate potential hazards by keeping floors clean and uncluttered, providing personal protective equipment when appropriate, properly maintaining kitchen equipment, and following manufacturers’ instructions.

                 

Injury or Illness of a Customer

In this litigious society that we live in, every business owner needs to be aware of liability risks. If a customer standing in lines trips, falls, and hurts themselves, they could sue you. If they suffer from a food-related illness after eating your food, they could sue you. Liability insurance is a must, but here are some steps to limit injury and illness to your customers:

  • To avoid food-related illnesses, follow food handling and safety measures such as storing food correctly, following proper cooking procedures, preventing cross-contamination, and practicing proper handwashing techniques.

  • Ensure that the area around your truck is clear of hazards such as slippery surfaces, cords, etc., and clearly mark any potential hazards you may not be able to control.

Get the Best Commercial Insurance for Your Restaurant Business 

Being proactive is important, but sometimes no matter how careful you are, accidents still happen. This is where the right insurance can help protect your business.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in all types of Commercial Insurance. Their independence means they are free to shop the market to get you the best deal on insurance that's right for your business.  

So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online.

 

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Food Truck Insurance