Insurance Savings and News You Can Use
Join the Conversation!

Minimize Food Delivery Risks for Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Mar 29, 2021

Minimize Food Delivery Risks for Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.If you want to manage the cost of Restaurant Insurance, you must manage risk. Food delivery, which has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, poses new risks that need to be addressed. 

According to SevenRooms, two in five restaurants began offering food delivery services due to pandemic-related closures in 2020. Many turned to third-party delivery services as restaurants that did not formerly offer food delivery scrambled to adjust. 

In 2020, more than 45 million Americans used a food delivery app - a 25% increase over 2019. Between 2019 and 2020, Grubhub grew its customer base by 35%. On average, consumers have two delivery apps on their phones that they use three times per month. However, most off-premise orders - 78% -were still placed directly with the restaurant, and only 22% were placed through third-party platforms. 

Experts and three in ten restauranteurs do not expect the demand for food delivery to decrease significantly in 2021 once indoor dining is back to full capacity. So, whether you hire your delivery people or use a third-party, it looks like food delivery is here to stay. 

Two of the most significant risks with food delivery are food safety and food quality, which should always be a top priority with any restaurant. Ensuring the safety and quality of the food you serve in-house is challenging enough. Start shipping that food off with employees and third-party drivers in extreme weather conditions, and you have a whole new set of challenges. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help minimize those risks. 

Temperature

When it comes to both safety and quality, temperature is a key component. To begin, you'll want to keep food safe before it's picked up. Timing drivers and food delivery isn't an exact science. Keep cold foods in the fridge or cooler and hot foods in a warmer, only transferring the food to the driver at the last possible moment. 

Then consider how you keep hot foods hot during frigid temperatures and cold foods cold during hot temperatures. You may need to invest in insulated food delivery bags, coolers, ice packs, food warmers, or heat packs. 

The packaging you use can also make a difference. For example, Styrofoam containers are good insulators and help keep food hot; however, they aren't considered as environmentally friendly as some of the other options. Aluminum foil also holds in heat, keeps steam from escaping, and is relatively inexpensive but not appropriate for all food types. On the other hand, a vented container helps reduce moisture buildup, which helps keep french-fries from becoming soggy. 

Hot food should never be packaged in the same container as cold food. At the most basic level, that means not putting ice cream and hot soup in the same bag. But also consider keeping foods within the same meal separate. For example, a cold salad with hot chicken might not fare too well in a 15-30-minute car ride, so you may want to consider keeping the chicken in a separate container and allowing the diner to mix the two. This will help minimize cross-contamination and result in a more tasty and appealing salad. 

Prevent Food Tampering

You know what it's like driving home with hot fresh French fries in your car. They smell so good, and your mouth begins to water. You can't wait to get home and dig in, and you may even "steal" a few fries to hold you over until you get home. Many food delivery drivers face the same temptation. 

Your customers would probably be shocked to discover that a survey conducted by US Foods found that nearly 30% of delivery drivers are snacking on the food they're delivering. Gulp! 30%! One way to avoid food tampering is with tamper-evident labels. If a driver tries to open a package with a tamper-evident label, the seal is broken, and it's clear the food has been tampered with. 

Choose Your Drivers or Third-Party Delivery Company Carefully

Hiring your own drivers gives you more control over your customers' experience, but finding good drivers can be challenging. Finding good drivers starts with the hiring process, developing specific protocols, and focusing on training. TouchBistro offers more tips. 

If you're working with a third-party delivery company, make sure drivers are provided appropriate equipment for maintaining temperatures and that they aren't making too many stops before delivering your food. Restaurant Clicks offers more tips. 

Get the Right Restaurant Insurance

Despite every precaution you take, things happen. A customer gets food contamination, one of your drivers is in an accident, someone hacks into your system and accesses customer data. 

The right Restaurant Insurance – such as Liability, Commercial Auto, and Cyber Insurance - will protect your business if/when something does happen. Give one of the American Insuring Group's independent agents a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

PPE to Lower Insurance and Other Operating Costs in Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 13, 2021

PPE to Lower Insurance Costs in Restaurants in Cities Throughout PA, including Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Allentown and beyond.Restaurant Insurance helps protect your business if something bad happens. If a fire destroys your kitchen, Property Insurance will help you rebuild your kitchen. If an employee is injured on the job, Workers' Compensation Insurance will help pay for medical bills and lost wages and help protect you against accident-related lawsuits. 

Insurance is vital to any business's health and success, but wouldn't it be better never to have had a fire in your kitchen or an employee injured on the job? Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  

One way to prevent many workplace injuries and even help protect your customers is by providing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to your employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has PPE standards that require employers to provide specific PPE, but we recommend going beyond those basic requirements.  

While this will mean a higher up-front cost, you will make up much (if not more) of that cost by lower insurance costs, higher employee morale, productivity, fewer lost workdays, etc.  

What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

OSHA defines PPE as "equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards."  

Standard PPE used by restaurant workers include the following:

  • Gloves – dishwashing, cut-resistant, and freezer
  • Oven Mitts
  • Aprons
  • Anti-Slip Shoes 

COVID-19 has introduced a new PPE requirement – masks. 

What is Appropriate PPE?

The best way to determine appropriate PPE for your employees is to look at any potential safety (knives, ovens, and slippery floors), ergonomic (repetitive tasks or heavy lifting), or other health hazards (noise, chemicals, heat, and stress).  

Once those hazards are identified, consider controls your restaurant can put in place to keep workers safe. OSHA recommends asking three questions. Here's an example. 

Many restaurant workers get burned cleaning fryers or lowering frozen food into deep fryers.  

  1. Is there a way to remove the hazard? Install grease pans that dump automatically for cleaning. 
  2. What improvement in work practices would help? Train workers on the importance of shaking ice crystals off frozen foods before putting them into the deep fryer to avoid splattering. 
  3. What protective clothing or equipment would help? Gloves, sleevelets, and long aprons. These need to resist heat and grease to at least 400º F for anyone working with fryers. 

Other PPE Considerations

PPE should be appropriately cleaned and maintained and should properly fit the employee using it. A PPE program should be implemented that addresses hazards and the selection, maintenance, and use of PPE. It should also include employee training and monitoring to ensure it is effective. 

Training should teach employees on the proper use of PPE, such as…

  • When PPE is needed
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to put PPE on, adjust it, wear it, and take it off
  • The limitations of PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE 

The proper use of PPE will protect your greatest assets – your employees, minimize injuries, and lower insurance costs.  

Another Way to Save on Restaurant Insurance

Another way to lower your Restaurant Insurance costs is to work with an agency – like American Insuring Group - specializing in Restaurant insurance. Our independent agents will compare your insurance cost with several companies to ensure that you pay the lowest price for your coverage.

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free Restaurant Insurance quote! 

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Opening a New Restaurant? Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 06, 2021

Protect Your Restaurant with the right Restaurant Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster and all of Pennsylvania.You know what they say, “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst and make sure you have the right Restaurant Insurance!” Okay, we made that last part up, but it is true. 

One accident has been known to put restaurants out of business. So, before all of your hopes are dashed, think about how you can prepare for the worst. Thinking ahead will help you minimize the “worst” scenarios – such as fires, food spoilage, and accidents - and help ensure that you have the right insurance coverage if the “worst” does happen. 

Here are five things to consider to help you prepare for the worst. 

1. Employee Training

Yes, employee turnover rates in the restaurant industry are high. According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurants-and-accommodations sectors' turnover rate was 74.9 percent in 2018. 

But it is also true that employees are your greatest asset and some of your highest risk. While we’re talking cliches… Your business is only as strong as your weakest link. Employees should be regularly trained on safety procedures, customer service, and - if your restaurant serves alcohol - alcohol service. 

Safety Procedures:

  1. Help avoid employee injuries by teaching proper lifting techniques, using equipment properly, appropriate personal protective equipment, etc.
  2. Keep your customers safe by training employees how to handle, prepare, and store food properly and what to do in the case of a fire, robbery, etc. 

Customer Service 

Help minimize litigation issues by providing customer service training to employees who interact with customers.

Alcohol Service

In Pennsylvania, it is against the law to serve alcohol to a "visibly intoxicated person," and your restaurant could be held legally responsible for injuries and damages caused by an intoxicated person you served. Any employee serving alcohol should know how to recognize and prevent intoxication and how and when to refuse service. 

One of the best ways to prepare for the worst is to have a comprehensive and on-going training program appropriate for each of your employees. 

2. Maintain Equipment

You rely on kitchen equipment to run your restaurant. If a refrigerator malfunctions, food could spoil, causing food loss or worse - foodborne illnesses. If your stove malfunctions, you won’t be able to cook food for your customers, or worse – it could cause a fire. The best way to avoid equipment breakdown is with proper maintenance. 

You should have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly maintenance checklists that employees understand and follow, such as temperature checks on refrigerators and ice machines, cleaning schedules, inspection schedules, etc. Not only will this help your equipment last longer, but it will also help minimize unexpected breakdowns and potential disasters. 

3. Maintain Your Restaurant

Minimize the risk of property damage and injuries to customers and employees by maintaining your restaurant. Keep your kitchen – countertops, floors, equipment, etc. - clean to avoid grease fires, food contamination, and employee injuries. Keep aisles and exits clear of clutter. Address any tripping hazards, such as loose tile or worn carpets. Make sure outside walkways and parking lots are safe and promptly remove snow and ice following a storm. 

4. Follow Health and Safety Regulations

Every restaurant has a set of health and safety regulations issued by local, state, and federal entities they must follow. As a restaurant owner, you should be familiar with and understand those regulations or risk fines, a loss of reputation, or even possible closure. 

Standard regulations include employee hygiene, food storage, and equipment safety. Remember, those regulations are designed to keep everyone safe, so following them will also help ensure your employees' and customers' safety and the success of your business. 

5. Technology

Use technology to your advantage but also protect yourself from potential risks associated with technology. 

For example, security cameras can help protect your property from thieves and vandals and fraudulent Workers’ Compensation Insurance claims. A computer or point-of-sale device can save you time, allow you to accept credit cards, and store customer information that can be used for marketing purposes. But, in the wrong hands, that information can create problems for your restaurant, your employees, and your customers, so take steps to keep that information safe and secure. 

Be Prepared With the Right Restaurant Insurance!

Sometimes, despite your best-efforts, accidents do happen, so you need to be prepared. Insurance can help protect your business if you’re sued, experiences property damage, etc., so you can get back to business. 

American Insuring Group can help you prepare and, as experienced independent agents, help you obtain the lowest price for the right restaurant insurance coverage. We're independent, so we're free to shop among many competing insurance carriers, resulting in a lower price than you're likely to receive from single-brand agencies. Contact us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Don’t Leave Your Restaurant at Risk: Discover Insurance Coverage Gaps

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 09, 2021

Discover Your Restaurant Insurance Gaps so Your Business is not at RiskEvery restaurant owner or manager knows that accidentally omitting even one key ingredient from a recipe can have a devastating effect. The same is true with Restaurant Insurance. Leaving one gap in your insurance coverage could have a disastrous effect on your restaurant.

Restaurants often face unique risks that other businesses do not, which may require additional layers of insurance coverage. Therefore, you must look at possible risks to determine if there are any gaps in your insurance. In this case, ignorance is definitely NOT bliss.

How to Discover Gaps

The best way to determine if there are any gaps in your insurance is to work with an insurance agent who specializes in Restaurant Insurance. They understand the unique challenges and risks inherent in the restaurant business. They know the right questions to ask to ensure that you don’t have any coverage gaps.

Here are a few key questions to consider:

  1. What property – building, signs, equipment, etc. – do you need to cover?

  2. What types of liability might you be open to during the course of doing business?

  3. Do you transport anything off the property?

  4. Does Workers Compensation cover you, the owner?

  5. What types of events – fire, theft, spoilage, etc. – does your Commercial Property Insurance cover?

  6. What are the limits and deductibles that apply to each type of situation?

  7. What would happen if you had to close your restaurant for a period of time because of a fire, flood, etc.?

  8. What would happen if one of the suppliers or wholesalers that you depend on could not deliver?

And as your business changes, so should your insurance coverage. For example:

  • Have you invested in a food truck to expand your reach, which could open your restaurant up to additional liability risks?

  • Have you become a farm-to-table restaurant, which means a shorter supply chain that could place more responsibility for your restaurant's quality control measures?

  • Did you start using an outside delivery service, which takes some of the control out of your hands?

Also, having the right insurance policies isn’t always enough. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with the limits and deductibles on each of your policies.

Common Gaps

Most restaurants understand the need for General Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Commercial Property Insurance, and - if they sell liquor – Liquor Liability Insurance, but here are five often-overlooked Restaurant Insurance gaps:

  1. Cyber Insurance – If you accept checks or credit cards as payment, you have personal information that can put your business at risk for a data breach. Your website and social media sites can also make you a target for cyberattacks. Cyber Insurance helps you recover losses associated with a cyberattack.

  2. Equipment Breakdown – Every restaurant has equipment – fryers, stoves, refrigerators, etc. Equipment Breakdown coverage helps cover the cost of repairing or replacing equipment after a covered incident.

  3. Business Interruption – What if you had to close your restaurant for a period of time while repairs are made after a fire? Could you handle the loss of income that would result? Business Interruption Insurance, which helps cover that loss, is often included under your Business Owner’s Policy but make sure you are comfortable with the amount of coverage and duration of that coverage.

  4. Personal and Advertising Injury –Personal and Advertising Injury Insurance protects you from third-party lawsuits claiming non-physical personal injury, such as libel, slander, copyright infringements, etc. It is typically included in Commercial Liability Insurance; however, every restaurant has different needs. Make sure the coverage in your Liability Insurance is adequate.

  5. Reputation Damage Insurance – There are so many ways your restaurant’s reputation can be damaged – a cyber-attack, a food-borne illness, an alcohol-related accident, etc. Reputation Damage Insurance can help cover losses associated with this type of event.

The Right Insurance Agent Can Make a Big Difference!

American Insuring Group specializes in Restaurant Insurance. Our agents are experts in eliminating the gaps in your Restaurant Insurance. Plus, as independent agents, we will compare prices among many insurance companies to make sure you get the best price on quality insurance protection.

So, call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Liquor Liability Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance

8 Restaurant Safety Tips to Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 05, 2020

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs and Workers’ Comp and Liability costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout Pennsylvania.The best way to lower Restaurant Insurance Costs – particularly Workers’ Comp and Commercial Liability – is to create a safer restaurant for everyone –employees, customers, vendors, etc.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in the U.S. in 2018. The total cost of those injuries was $170.8 billion, which included wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, etc. However, it did not include the lower employee morale and productivity workplace injuries cause.

Here are eight restaurant safety tips to help lower costs.

1. Have your kitchen exhaust hood system degreased by a professional every six months.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 7,410 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments reported to U.S. fire departments every year between 2010 and 2014. Cooking equipment was the cause of 61% of those fires. Grease build-up can cause fires that often spread into duct-work, exhaust systems, vents, and fans.

2. Have your fire suppression system checked by a professional every six months.

A properly working fire suppression system can extinguish flames in just a few seconds; thereby, preventing extensive and costly damage.

3. Ensure employees wear proper PPE.

This includes appropriate gloves (dishwashing, cut-resistant, and freezer), oven mitts, aprons, and anti-slip shoes.

4. Invest in anti-fatigue mats.

Anti-fatigue mats provide a cushion between feet and floors and relieve the strain caused by standing for long periods and help prevent slip-related injuries. In addition to minimizing strain and injuries, anti-fatigue mats can help boost employee morale and improve productivity.

5. Provide ongoing safety training for all employees.

OSHA states, “Regular training helps employees learn how to avoid hazards, keeps lines of communication open between you and your employees about hazards you may not be aware of, and lets employees know that you are serious about promoting sound safety policies and work practices in your restaurant.”

Training should include identifying hazards; preventing burns, cuts, slips and falls, ergonomic hazards, and injuries from robberies and assaults: and dealing with emergencies and injuries.

6. Have your employees take alcohol awareness training classes.

If your restaurant serves alcohol, you should have all servers take alcohol awareness training classes. In Pennsylvania, your restaurant can be held liable for damage caused by a customer served or sold alcohol while visibly intoxicated. The right training can teach servers about responsible alcohol consumption and how to protect customers, employers, and themselves.

7. Train your employees on safe food handling.

Every year, foodborne disease causes 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the U.S., and the restaurant industry is responsible for a significant number of those illnesses and deaths.

An NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) report found the cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak ranged from

  • $3,968 to $1.9 million for a fast-food restaurant,
  • $6,330 to $2.1 million for a fast-casual restaurant,
  • $8,030 to $2.2 million for a casual-dining restaurant, and
  • $8,273 to $2.6 million for a fine-dining restaurant

Those outbreaks ranged from a 5-person outbreak with no lost revenue, lawsuits, legal fees, or fines, to a 250-person outbreak, with significant lost revenue, lawsuits, legal fees, and fines.

The NCBI’s conclusion is, “The cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak to a restaurant can be substantial and outweigh the typical costs of prevention and control measures.”

8. Give American Insuring Group a Call Today!

As independent agents and specialists in restaurant insurance, the agents at the American Insuring Group will compare prices and coverage among multiple reputable insurance companies to ensure that you get the right insurance at the best price!

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Business Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Social Media Risks for Restaurants and How to Mitigate Them

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 07, 2020

Reduce Social Media Risks and Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, PA and elsewhereSavvy restaurant owners understand the importance of Restaurant Insurance to protect them from risks, such as lawsuits and property damage. However, many forget to protect their businesses from the risks associated with social media.

Social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. offer many benefits – building brand awareness, engaging customers, soliciting feedback, keeping customers informed, etc. – but they also come with risks.

Here are some of the risks every restaurant owner or manager should consider and some tips to mitigate those risks.

Social Media Risks

Here are a few of the more common social media risks; however, it is by no means all-encompassing. You should assess the potential risks to your restaurant and take action to avoid them.

Data Breaches

Norton defines a data breach as “a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization.” In 2019, there were 2,013 confirmed data breaches, and it cost businesses over $2 trillion, according to Varonis. Experts predict that number will increase to $6 trillion annually by 2021.

Facebook is currently the most popular social media platform, with more than two billion users. In 2019, Facebook admitted that it had not properly secured the passwords of as many as 600 million users since 2012. In 2019, Facebook had 540 million user records exposed on the Amazon cloud server, and over 267 million Facebook usernames, Facebook IDs, and phone numbers were exposed in 2019.

Cybercriminals will try to access information on your computer any way they can, including weaknesses on social media platforms.

Loss of Reputation

Information – both accurate and false – can spread like wildfire on social media platforms, and a restaurant’s reputation can be damaged or destroyed just as quickly. The damage can be intentional or accidental, and it can come from a customer, an employee, or even the restaurant itself.

A customer can post a negative review. An employee can post something inappropriate about your restaurant on their profile. You can inadvertently post something that damages your restaurant’s reputation.

Brand Hijacking

Brand hijacking (or brandjacking) occurs when a third-party acquires or assumes your online identity in an attempt to ruin your reputation or to steal customers or potential customers. While the primary objective of brand hijacking may not be financial, it will most likely result in some kind of financial loss to your restaurant.

Liability Issues

Sometimes social media mistakes – Aka “advertising injuries” - can lead to lawsuits. For example, you could be sued for posting copyrighted content without permission, posting content that defames someone or something, posting someone else’s words or likeness without their permission, or copying someone else’s advertising.

How to Mitigate Risk

You can’t eliminate risks associated with social media platforms, but you can minimize them with these tips.

Create a Social Media Policy

Create a policy that clearly defines what employees can and cannot do on every social media platform. Share guidelines, best practices, and posting procedures. Include information about creating a secure password, avoiding spam and phishing attacks, acceptable types of content, etc.

Limit Social Media Access

Don’t grant every employee in your restaurant access to your restaurant’s page. You’ll probably have more posts, but you also open yourself up to more risks. Put one person in charge of social media posts who has been trained and educated on social media best practices. Consider how much access you allow other employees and track who has access to what.

Train Your employees

Ensure anyone who has access to posting on your restaurant’s page has proper training, including what they can and can’t share, how to utilize tools to ensure security, how to recognize unsafe links, etc. 

Talk to Your Employees

You can’t always control what your employees say on their personal social media platforms, but talk to them about the risks social media can pose to your restaurant and how to avoid those risks. And ensure they understand your restaurant’s social media policy.

Secure Your Technology

Ensure that any computer used by employees to post on social media is armed with adequate security software that continually checks for malware, viruses, and other cyber risks.

Restaurant Insurance Can be Your Safety Net!

When all else fails, the right insurance will act as a safety net to protect your restaurant. The independent agents at the American Insuring Group can help you get the right insurance for your restaurant at the best price by comparing the costs of your insurance among many insurance companies. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance, Restaurant Safety

9 Tips to Reduce Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 17, 2020

Obtain affordable restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Scranton, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Reading and beyond by following these tips.If you want to protect your restaurant, you need the right Restaurant Insurance coverage, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay a higher price for that coverage.

Here are nine smart tips from the independent agents at American Insuring Group to help you lower your insurance costs.

 

Focus on Safety

Having a safety program in place, along with proper safety training and enforcement, will create a safer restaurant and fewer claims, and restaurants with fewer claims are rewarded with lower insurance premiums. Check out our blog for tips to help you create a safer restaurant – from fire prevention to knife safety.

Improve Security

Insurance is all about risk. Lower the risk – whatever that may be fire, injuries, or theft – and you’ll lower your insurance costs. Here are a few security measures to consider:

  • Security alarm systems
  • Access control systems
  • Video surveillance cameras and video monitoring
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems

Hire Wisely

Employees are one of your biggest assets and probably one of your biggest costs, but there are steps you can take to help lower insurance costs related to employees. For example, if an employee is going to drive one of your commercial vehicles, check their driving record before hiring. An employee with a bad driving record will increase your commercial auto insurance costs.

Also, make sure all of your employees are assigned the correct PCRB classification codes. These codes - based on the probability of an employee getting injured on the job - are used to calculate your Workers’ Compensation premium. If an employee is assigned a classification code meant for someone in a more dangerous job, you’ll end up paying more for WC Insurance. On the other hand, you don’t want an employee assigned a classification code for a less dangerous job, or you could find yourself without coverage when you need it.

And finally, make sure that you promptly let your insurance company know if you hire a new employee, or an employee leaves your restaurant.

Pay Upfront

If you’re making payments throughout the year on your insurance instead of paying the full balance upfront, you’re probably paying more than you have to.

Increase Your Deductible

If you increase the amount of your deductible – the amount you need to pay if a claim is made before the insurance company kicks in - you can lower the cost of your premiums. However, you must ensure that you have money set aside to pay that higher deductible if you have to make a claim.

Carry the Right Coverage

You don’t want to have coverage you don’t need, but then again, you don’t want to have gaps in your coverage that end up costing you more when you try to make a claim. The experienced agents at American Insurance Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, and can help you determine the best coverage for your restaurant at the best price.

Bundle 

Typically, when you buy anything in quantity, you pay less, and the same is true with insurance. You probably need several types of insurance – WC, liability, maybe commercial auto, etc. If you purchase several or all of your policies with one insurance company, you will often pay less.

Review Your Policies Annually

You have a lot on your plate, and insurance is probably not something you want to spend a lot of time on; however, Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said, “change is the only constant in life.”

And that is certainly true in the restaurant industry – you may have purchased a new vehicle, decreased your staff, started serving alcohol or delivering food, or any number of things that could affect your insurance coverage and costs. Therefore, it’s essential to make time to review your policies every year to make sure you have the right coverage at the best rate.

Work With an Independent Agent!

The independent agents at the American Insuring Group will check with many insurance carriers to ensure that you get the best price on quality insurance protection. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, commercial vehicle insuarance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

3 Food Safety Tips to Reduce Risk and Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 19, 2020

The best restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Erie, Harrisburg, PA and far beyond.Want to lower your Restaurant Insurance costs? Minimize risk. It’s that simple. It may not always be easy, but it’s always that simple.

One way to minimize risk is to take every precaution to ensure the safety of the food you’re serving. One mistake can result in a customer becoming ill, the destruction of your reputation, a health department inspection, a lawsuit, or even shutting your restaurant down, and of course, higher insurance premiums.

According to the CDC, every year, approximately 48 million people get sick, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. The majority of foodborne illnesses are caused by foodborne pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and most of those can be eliminated in a restaurant kitchen with strictly enforced food safety protocols.

According to the Health Care Agency, the top five causes of foodborne illnesses are as follows:

  • Dirty and/or contaminated utensils and equipment
  • Poor employee health and hygiene
  • Improper hot/cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous food
  • Improper cooking temperatures of food
  • Food from unsafe sources

Here are three tips to minimize most of those risks.

Clean and Sanitize

Perhaps more than any other industry, cleanliness is crucial in the food industry where cross-contamination is always a concern. First, you need to make sure every surface in your kitchen is clean – from cutting boards to stovetops (which also helps avoid fires). Make sure every tool in your kitchen is regularly cleaned and sanitized – from dishes to cooking utensils. And don’t forget those hidden spaces like ovens and refrigerators.

Regularly wipe down surfaces, and make sure that whatever you are using – a sponge, rag, etc. – is actually cleaning the surface and not just moving the dirt around, creating a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Regularly replace disposable items and wash rags daily.

Every food contact surface, utensil, food prep equipment should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized at least once every four hours. Ovens, stoves, grills, and hoods should be thoroughly cleaned every night.

And don’t forget about the role your employees play in keeping your restaurant clean. Train them about the importance of cleanliness and how to maintain a clean restaurant and remind them frequently with posters, signs, and on-going training. Advise them not to come to work when they are sick, and make sure they wash their hands regularly.

The CDC recommends employees wash their hands during these critical times:

  • Before, during, and after preparing any food.
  • After handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Before eating.
  • After touching garbage.
  • After wiping counters or cleaning other surfaces with chemicals.
  • After touching pets, pet food, or pet treats.
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

To properly wash your hands, the CDC recommends following these five steps to prevent the spread of germs:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Pay Attention to Temperatures

When cooking, remember that some meats, like beef or lamb, can be served rare or, in some cases, raw; whereas, pork and chicken must be cooked thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to ensure that food (especially meats) are cooked to safe minimum internal temperatures.

Also, remember to keep food out of the “danger zone” (40°F - 140°F) where bacteria can grow most rapidly. Keep hot food at 140°F or higher and cold food at 40°F or lower. Don’t leave food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F.

Bacteria can be reintroduced to food after it is safely cooked, so put leftovers in shallow containers for quick cooling and then refrigerate them at 40°F or lower within two hours.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria or other microorganisms from one person, object, or place to another. Preventing cross-contamination is key to preventing foodborne illness. Keeping everything clean is your first step, but there are other things you can do.

The three main types of cross-contamination are food-to-food, equipment-to-food, and people-to-food. To avoid food-to-food cross-contamination, thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables and keep raw and cooked food stored separately.

Avoid equipment-to-food contamination by making sure all equipment and surfaces are thoroughly washed and use different cutting boards, utensils, and containers for different types of food, such as raw meat and poultry products to avoid cross-contamination. Replace cutting boards when they develop hard-to-clean cuts.

People can also transfer bacteria through their bodies or clothes while preparing or serving food. Remind employees to wash their hands frequently and to keep their hair pulled back or restrained in a hair net.

Protect Your Restaurant with The Right Insurance

Sometimes despite your best efforts, a customer will become ill. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can make sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect your restaurant against potential lawsuits and, as independent agents, compare pricing among many competing carriers to ensure you get the lowest price for that great coverage.

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance Berks County, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Restaurant Safety and Outdoor Dining Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 11, 2020

Outdoor dining tips to help restaurants saver on insurance in Philadelphia, Berks County, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, PA and far beyond.The rules and restrictions put in place by Gov. Tom Wolf, during the COVID-19 pandemic, forced many restaurants to get a little creative. At first, only take-out and curbside pickup were allowed, and then in early June, restaurants were given the okay for outdoor seating.

Many restaurants that hadn't offered outside seating before the pandemic, quickly adapted. And even as we moved into the green phase and some of the restrictions on indoor dining were lifted, many diners continued to feel safer eating outside.

Even without the fear of COVID-19, many people enjoy outdoor dining. Still, restaurants need to remember that outdoor dining presents a few challenges, including risks that could affect the cost of Restaurant Insurance.

Here are tips to ensure the safety of your customers and staff:

Food Safety

Food safety should always be a priority for restaurants, but as the temperatures rise, it becomes even more crucial. According to the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), there is a "Danger Zone" – temperatures 40 to 140 degrees F - where bacteria can grow more rapidly. 

If you are in the "danger zone" (which will often occur with outdoor dining in the summer), don't leave food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, and if temperatures are above 90 degrees, that time goes down to one hour. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees F, or colder and hot foods should be kept at an internal temp of 40 degrees F or higher.

Weather

Bad weather can be just a nuisance or an actual danger to outdoor diners and restaurant staff.

Restaurant managers can keep an eye on the weather and be more prepared for bad weather by uploading a weather app to their phone.

A roof, partial enclosure, or even table umbrellas can help keep diners dry and protected from the hot sun.  Other ways to keep diners cool are fans or mist sprayers. Also, make sure your staff provides cold water to customers on particularly hot days.

As the weather begins to cool, you can extend your outdoor dining time with patio heaters to keep diners warm on chilly fall evenings.

Bugs

Bugs are just a part of summer living, but that doesn't make them any more tolerable when your customers are trying to enjoy their meals al fresco! Consider adding mosquito-repelling plants (such as lemongrass or scented geraniums) or a commercial bug zapper or bug light. Do NOT spray insect repellent around food or customers.

Smoking

According to the PA Department of Health, smoking is not banned for "structures such as a deck or patio that is not enclosed by walls and a ceiling." You should still have a policy in place, especially if you decide to extend the ban to outdoor spaces at your restaurant.

Pets

Americans are obsessed with their pets, and many would love to bring their dogs along with them when they eat outside. While many states (17, according to Michigan State University's Animal Legal and Historical Center) are beginning to allow pets into outdoor areas of restaurants, Pennsylvania is currently not one of them – unless it is a service animal protected under the American with Disabilities Act. The reasons for this restriction given by many experts are health (diseases and parasites), safety (biting), and aesthetics (barking).

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

Keeping diners and staff safe helps keep the costs of Restaurant Insurance in check. Another way to keep those costs down is to work with an independent agent (like those at American Insuring Group) who can compare the cost of your insurance with several carriers to ensure you get the best price. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Reading PA, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Slip-Resistant Shoes Help Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 04, 2020

slip-resistant shoes can lower restaurant insurance costsIf you want to lower Restaurant Insurance costs, a comprehensive safety plan is essential. A well-designed and enforced safety program helps minimize the number of injuries. This results in fewer insurance claims, which lowers your insurance costs and provides numerous other benefits, such as improved employee morale and productivity.

But where should you begin with a safety program?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips, and falls are the third most common type of work-related injury in the US and the second most common fatal work-related injury. While falling from a higher level resulted in more work-related fatalities, injuries caused by falls on the same level occur more often in restaurants and can cause injury. In fact, the BLS reports that half of all falls from the same level ended in more than ten days away from work.

The most common injuries in same-level falls include sprains, strains, dislocations, and tears to the lower extremities, which are the most expensive category of injuries, costing almost $13 million in Workers’ Compensation costs every year.

So, there’s your answer as to where to begin! Start your safety program by minimizing the risk of falls. Here’s information about one simple step – providing slip-resistant shoes - that can help significantly decrease slip, trip, and fall injuries in your restaurant.

The Study

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Laboratory studies of slip-resistant footwear to reduce slips, trips, and falls have shown promise in reducing slips, but limited field research made it difficult to demonstrate if slip-resistant footwear actually reduced injuries.”

So, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated 17,000 food-service workers in 226 school districts across the US to determine the effectiveness of a program that provided highly-rated slip-resistant shoes at no cost to the workers. The researchers wanted to see if this type of program would reduce WC injury claims related to slipping on greasy or wet floors.

Workers in some of the school districts in the study wore 5-star rated slip-resistant shoes that were given to them at no cost, and workers in other districts wore their own slip-resistant shoes. The shoes provided were designed specifically to prevent slips on greasy or wet floors.

The Results

The districts where workers were provided slip-resistant shoes experienced a 67% reduction in claims for slip injuries. The baseline measure was 3.54 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked, which was reduced to 1.18 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked during the time when workers wore slip-resistant shoes that were provided at no cost.

The other districts where workers were not given slip-resistant shoes did not experience any decline in slip injuries.

The study also found that – prior to the study - workers over the age of 55 had a higher probability of a slip-related WC claim (4.2 injuries per 10,000 worker months) than workers under the age of 55 (2.3 injuries per 10,000 worker months). Therefore, as the number of workers over the age of 55 remain active in the US workforce, preventing slipping injuries becomes even more vital if businesses want to keep Workers’ Compensation costs down.

The CDC concluded, “The findings from this study provide evidence of the effectiveness of slip-resistant footwear and may assist employers, managers, and workers in their decision on whether to invest time and resources in a slip-resistant footwear program.”

Additional Tips to Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

American Insuring Group specializes in Restaurant Insurance and is focused on providing the best insurance coverage at the best price. Discover more safety tips on our blog and give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to discover how we can help you save even more on your Restaurant Insurance costs!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Safety Programs, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs