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10 Restaurant Safety Blogposts to Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 17, 2022

Tips to Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie and all over PennsylvaniaCreating a safe workplace helps protect your business, maintain a good reputation, and lower the cost of Restaurant Insurance and other expenses. Safety should be a priority in any industry, but perhaps more so in restaurants where many potential hazards exist - sharp knives that can cause injuries, hot fryers that can trigger fires, food that can become contaminated, etc. 

If you want your business to succeed, you must be diligent about creating and maintaining a safe restaurant. So here is – as they say – the proof in the pudding:

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, there were 93,800 nonfatal injuries and illnesses in full-service restaurants, with about one-third requiring at least one day away from work.

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 7,410 structure fires per year in eating and drinking establishments between 2010 and 2014. These fires caused average annual losses of three civilian deaths, 110 civilian injuries, and $165 million in direct property damage each year.”

  • According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur in the U.S. every year, resulting in about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Furthermore, between 2006 and 2007, about 66% of foodborne disease outbreaks reported were associated with restaurants. 

How Does a Safe Workplace Benefit Your Restaurant?

Creating a safe restaurant protects and benefits everyone - your restaurant, employees, customers, and the community.

Here are a few of the benefits to your restaurant:

  • Improves your bottom line. Experts report that safety and health management systems reduce injury and illness costs by 20-40%, and employers can save $4-6 for every dollar they spend on safety and health programs. Plus, of course, fewer claims mean lower WC premiums.
  • Increases productivity. Fewer injuries lead to lower absenteeism and turnover and higher employee morale.
  • Saves time. It takes time to repair or replace damaged equipment, hire and train new employees, etc. 

Employees also benefit from a safe workplace with less pain and suffering, less stress, and better quality of life for themselves and their families. Finally, safe workplaces benefit your community by creating attractive employment opportunities and restaurants people want to frequent. 

How to Create a Safer Restaurant

There are plenty of things you can do to create a safer restaurant, and American Insuring Group is here to help! Here are ten blogs devoted to restaurant safety. Check out these and more blogs about safety and Restaurant Insurance.

  1. 8 Restaurant Safety Tips to Lower Insurance Costs

  2. How to Prevent Fires in Restaurants

  3. A Clean Kitchen Can Reduce Restaurant Insurance Costs

  4. 5 Tips to Minimize the Hazards of Commercial Deep Fryers

  5. 6 Knife Safety Tips for Restaurant Owners

  6. Minimize Food Delivery Risks for Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

  7. PPE to Lower Insurance and Other Operating Costs in Restaurants

  8. 3 Food Safety Tips to Reduce Risk and Insurance Costs

  9. Slip-Resistant Shoes Help Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

  10. Food Allergies and Restaurant Liability Insurance

The Fastest Way to Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

Call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover how our independent agents can help you lower your Restaurant Insurance costs. They compare costs among many competing providers to help you get quality coverage at the best price. Call today.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

7 Common Mistakes Restaurants Make When Filing an Insurance Claim

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 20, 2022

Properly filing a restaurant insurance claim can help you save on restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, PA and elsewhere.Savvy restaurant owners purchase Restaurant Insurance to help protect their business, but insurance policies and claims can be complicated. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help you navigate your insurance options, policies, and claims.

However, it’s helpful to understand and avoid the most common errors restaurant owners make when filing an insurance claim:

Not Understanding Your Policy

Your insurance policy states explicitly what “perils” it does and does not cover. It can be extremely frustrating to discover something you thought was covered isn’t when you go to make a claim (not to mention the time wasted making a claim while also trying to recover from the incident).

Therefore, you need to read and understand what your policy does and does not cover, so you can either fill the gap or have a plan in place if an uncovered event occurs. Ask your insurance agent to clarify anything you’re unsure of. 

You should also know your policy’s deductible – the amount you must pay before insurance kicks in on a claim. If you decide to increase your deductible to lower your premiums, make sure you have enough available cash to cover that deductible if you need to make a claim. 

Finally, it’s crucial to understand if your policy values damaged property according to an actual cash value (factors in depreciation and normal wear and tear) or the replacement value (does not factor in depreciation and normal wear and tear). If the damaged property is valued according to actual cash value, you need to be prepared to pay the difference out of pocket. 

Not Filing a Claim Promptly

If someone is injured in your restaurant or your oven is damaged by fire, call your insurance company immediately. Waiting to file the claim can make the process more difficult or even lead to having the claim denied. A good rule of thumb is to file a claim within the first 48 hours of an incident, but the sooner, the better.

Not Working with Insurer

Don’t think of your insurance adjuster as the enemy. Be professional, polite, and cooperative, and promptly provide whatever documentation they request. Failure to cooperate may provide grounds to deny a claim. However, don’t be afraid to ask questions or even appeal an estimate if you have reasonable proof that the lost property is undervalued. 

Not Documenting Damage and Claim

You will need proof of damage to receive a payout, so immediately record the time and date of the incident and take photos and/or videos of the damage. Also, document your communication with your insurer – keep a record of mailed correspondence and emails along with the time, date, and substance of verbal communications. 

Disposing of Damaged Items

You may think photos will be enough when filing a claim, but you should also keep the damaged property as physical evidence until the claim is closed. 

Admitting Fault

Never admit fault if someone is injured in your restaurant. There are too many frivolous lawsuits, and you may not honestly know the cause of an incident until it is investigated. In addition, accepting responsibility will make it difficult for your insurer to defend you if there is a lawsuit. Plus, some policies don’t allow you to assume fault without the insurer’s consent. With these policies, admitting fault can lead to a breach of contract, denial of a claim, or termination of coverage.

 Paying Claims Out of Pocket

You may be tempted to pay the medical costs of someone injured in your restaurant. However, your insurance policy will not reimburse you for payments made out of pocket and could even result in a denied claim. 

Want to Save on Restaurant Insurance Costs?

Work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We can answer any of your questions, and – as independent agents – we compare pricing and coverage with multiple insurance companies to make sure that you pay the lowest premium for your insurance coverage!

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Do I Need Commercial Auto Insurance for My Restaurant?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jul 27, 2022

Get the Proper Auto Insurance for Your Restaurant Business in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Wyomissing, Lancaster, Harrisburg and throughout PA.Insurance – including Restaurant Insurance - is all about risk. The higher the risk of a claim, the higher the cost of the insurance.

The same is true of auto insurance, and let’s face it, driving can be risky. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, there were 5.24 million police-reported crashes in the U.S., which caused 2.28 million injuries and 38,824 fatalities (a 6.8% increase over 2019).

 A vehicle used for commercial purposes is considered a higher risk because it may be driven more often or by more than one driver. Therefore, if you own a vehicle used for commercial purposes – making deliveries, visiting customers, etc. – your personal auto insurance may not cover damages caused when you or an employee uses your vehicle for commercial purposes. 

3 Auto Insurance Options

Personal Auto Insurance

A personal auto insurance policy covers property damage, bodily injuries, and legal expenses. While some personal auto insurance policies include limited coverage for business use, this type of policy is typically limited to accidents that occur during personal use, such as commuting to and from work and other travel unrelated to your job/business. In addition, a personal auto insurance policy typically insures the owner and one or two immediate family members only. 

Commercial Auto Insurance

A commercial auto insurance policy covers vehicles owned by a business. It covers vehicles used to drive customers or employees, perform a service you’ve been paid for, transport goods, and other business uses. Like personal auto insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance covers property damage, bodily injuries, and legal expenses. It also typically includes additional insureds, such as employees, and covers different types of vehicles, larger claims, and more complicated legal issues.

 Hired and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA)

HNOA insurance provides coverage for vehicles your business does NOT own but uses for commercial purposes, such as running business errands, picking up supplies, and visiting customers. This includes your employees’ vehicles used for business purposes and vehicles you rent or lease to use for business purposes. HNOA insurance can be purchased as a rider to your general liability insurance or as a standalone policy. It’s important to note that HNOA does NOT cover damage to your own property – only third-party liability costs.

 How to Lower the Risk of an Accident

Studies show that 98% of auto accidents are caused by human error. The following are the top six human driver errors:

  1. Failure to wear a seatbelt
  2. Excessive speeding
  3. Distraction/in attentiveness
  4. Incorrect assumptions about other drivers
  5. Tailgating/not leaving enough space between vehicles
  6. Not checking traffic before pulling out or crossing lanes 

The fewer accidents you or your employees are involved in, the fewer insurance claims and the lower your auto insurance costs. Here are five steps to minimize the risk of an auto accident:

  1. Check employee driving records before allowing them to drive a vehicle for business purposes
  2. Provide safe driving training
  3. Research vehicle safety records before purchasing, renting or leasing a vehicle
  4. Create and enforce a policy for employee cell phone use while driving
  5. Download the National Safety Council’s FREE online Safe Driving Kit

How to Lower Your Auto Insurance Cost

The best way to lower the cost of your insurance is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group.

We will help determine the best type of insurance for your needs and then – as independent agents – check with multiple insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for that insurance.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Manage Risk to Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 18, 2022

Lower your restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia and throughout PA, including Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, York, Pittsburgh, Erie and more!Restaurant Insurance helps protect your business from accidents, lawsuits, data breaches, and more. However, one lawsuit or severe accident can go far beyond financial losses. They can tarnish your restaurant's reputation, cause stress and sleepless nights, interrupt business, lower employee morale, and so much more. 

So, wouldn't it be better to eliminate those accidents, lawsuits, and data breaches before they occur? While it's impossible to eliminate all risks (which is why the right insurance is crucial to any restaurant's success), you can significantly minimize many risks with these tips. 

Train Your Employees

We all know the high turnover rate restaurants experience, so it's no surprise that many restaurant staff are undertrained. However, undertrained employees can lead to accidents, lawsuits, and even higher turnover.

 "One of the primary reasons restaurant employees look for new jobs is that they want more mentorship and training (in the case of younger workers) to help them take their careers in hospitality to the next level," US Foods reports. "Handing a new staff member your employee handbook and expecting them to master a role isn't enough. Empowering your employees to feel like they have the necessary knowledge and training to be good at their job will make a world of difference for your restaurant."

Ongoing training should include safety procedures that cover recognizing and avoiding common restaurant injuries - such as lacerations, slips and falls, burns, sprains, etc. – to help lower Workers' Comp Insurance. Training should also include good customer service, food allergies, etc., to help lower Liability Insurance. And finally, employees should be trained on topics such as theft and fire to help lower Property Insurance.

When all else fails, Workers' Compensation, Liquor Liability, General Liability, and other types of insurance act as a safety net. 

Maintain Facility and Equipment

QSR magazine points out, "The foundations of delivering outstanding customer service start with a well-maintained kitchen." A well-maintained kitchen requires routine maintenance and regular cleaning. 

Routine maintenance helps keep your equipment running better and helps minimize the risk of injuries caused by an equipment malfunction. In addition, maintaining your equipment helps reduce the risk of breakdowns, which can cause business interruption, food spoilage, fires, and accidents. Click here for a restaurant equipment maintenance checklist. 

Keeping your restaurant clean helps prevent fires, accidents, and food cross-contamination. Keeping your restaurant clutter-free also helps reduce accidents. 

Utilize Technology

Many small to medium-sized business owners – including restaurant owners - believe they are immune to data breaches, but the reverse is true. "63% of SMBs report experiencing a data breach in the previous 12 months," according to Hashedout, yet 43% lack any cybersecurity defense plan. Technology, such as anti-virus software, password protection, properly securing WiFi networks, etc., has made it possible to minimize those risks. 

Another risk that can be mitigated with technology is theft. There are 2.5 million burglaries annually in the U.S., and 34% of the burglaries that happen each year affect small businesses. In addition, one survey found that "internal employee theft is responsible for 75% of inventory shortages and about 4% of restaurant sales. That totals between $3 and $6 billion annually." 

Security cameras and alarm systems can help deter criminal activity, such as theft and vandalism. Check out "Five Ways Restaurants Use Technology to Secure Their Business." 

Property and cyber insurance help soften the financial blow when these precautions don't work. 

Start Saving Today on Restaurant Insurance!

Get the lowest rate on restaurant insurance and all of your insurance needs by working with the highly qualified independent agents at American Insuring Group. We research and compare the cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to make sure you pay the lowest premium possible for the quality coverage you need.

→ Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

5 Tips to Minimize the Risk of an Allergic Reaction in Your Restaurant

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 26, 2022

Reduce-Allergy-Risk-Restaurant-Insurance

Imagine a customer has an allergic reaction to a meal prepared by your chef. Perhaps they have trouble breathing, faint, or begin to vomit. The episode turns your whole restaurant into a scene of chaos as customers look on and the staff tries to help the customer. 

This is a situation no restaurant owner or manager wants to face. Foremost, of course, is your concern for your customer’s well-being. Still, an episode like this can also hurt your business – disruption in service, a hit to your restaurant’s reputation, and a possible lawsuit. And more lawsuits can mean higher Restaurant Insurance costs.

 Approximately 15 million people in the U.S. are affected by food allergies, resulting in about 30,000 emergency room visits and 150-200 deaths every year. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Nearly half of fatal food allergy reactions over a 13-year period were caused by food from a restaurant or other food service establishment.” 

According to the FDA’s 2017 Food Code, a person in charge must “demonstrate knowledge of the major food allergens regulated by the FDA, as well as the symptoms of a food allergy reaction. The Food Code also specifies that retail and foodservice managers be made aware of the seriousness of food allergies, including the potential for reactions, anaphylaxis, and death; to know the 8 (soon to be 9) major food allergens, to understand food allergen ingredients and labeling; and how to avoid cross-contact during food preparation and service. 

“In addition to a manager being aware of food allergy safety, the Food Code requires that the person in charge ensure employees are properly trained in food safety, including food allergy awareness as it pertains to their jobs.” 

5 Tips to Minimize the Risk of an Allergic Reaction in Your Restaurant

Training

Proper training is the first step to minimizing the risk of experiencing the scene described above. Yet, the CDC reports “fewer than half of members of the restaurant staffs surveyed in 278 restaurants had received training on food allergies.” In fact, one survey discovered that “some managers and staff incorrectly believed someone with a food allergy could safely eat a small amount of that allergen.” 

Both back and front-of-house staff should be trained on the following:

  • The ingredients used to prepare each menu item
  • The most common food allergens
  • The most common symptoms
  • How to prevent cross-contamination
  • What to do if a customer does have an allergic reaction 

Keep Them Separated

When possible, restaurants should use separate equipment and prep areas for cooking meals for customers with food allergies. If that isn’t possible, the area should be thoroughly wiped down and equipment washed before preparing food for someone with allergies. 

Here are tips from Total Food Service:

  1. Change aprons, wash hands, and sanitize prep surfaces.
  2. Use a piece of foil on the grill to act as a barrier between the food and grill.
  3. Use separate fryers and utensils, plates, glassware, etc., that are washed, sanitized, and stored separately.

Provide Ingredient Lists

Make a list of ingredients or recipes for all menu items available to customers.

Have a Plan

Have a plan in place to serve customers with food allergies. Culinary Agents, Inc. advises that the plan should include the following:

  • How to address the reservation during the lineup
  • How to communicate the allergy across departments
  • How to answer any questions a guest regarding the menu
  • Who is responsible for checking the ingredients
  • How to avoid cross-contamination,
  • How to notify the kitchen of the allergy
  • How to mark the ticket in the kitchen 

Protect Your Restaurant With the Right Insurance!

Unfortunately, sometimes – despite your best efforts – a customer has an allergic reaction to something prepared in your restaurant. That’s where the right insurance can help. Not only do the agents at American Insuring Group specialize in restaurant insurance to ensure you have the right coverage, as independent agents, they check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage.

Call American Insuring Group to start saving today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

Protect Your Restaurant Against Lawsuits To Reduce Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 20, 2021

Protect Your Restaurant Against Lawsuits To Reduce Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, York, Allentown, and throughout PennsylvaniaCertain types of Restaurant Insurance are designed to protect your business in the event of a lawsuit. Here's what you need to know about lawsuits and your insurance options.

How Likely is My Restaurant to Be Sued?

There's no doubt we live in a litigious society. According to the U.S. Financial Education Foundation (USFEF), it's estimated that over 40 million lawsuits are filed every year in the U.S. And small businesses aren't immune to lawsuits. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 36 to 53% of small businesses are sued every year. Let's take a moment to let that statistic sink in... Approximately half of all small businesses are sued in any given year.

And it costs those businesses big time. The SBA reports that lawsuits that go to trial can cost $3,000 to $150,000 to resolve. Thankfully, most cases are settled out of court; however, they still cost the business time, legal fees, business reputation, and sometimes a settlement to the plaintiff.

How to Protect Your Restaurant From Lawsuits

"Business owners who've had to pay legal damages say the costs nearly put them out of business," SCORE reports and advises, "Take the right steps to reduce the financial repercussions on both your personal and business finances should litigation become necessary. Incorporate your business in a way that shields your personal finances from any legal claim, and obtain the right business insurance coverage to protect your company's finances."

To determine what insurance coverage you need to protect your restaurant, you have to identify potential risks.

Here are four areas of liability you need to consider: 

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance helps protect your restaurant against customer injuries (for example, a customer slips and falls in your restaurant), customer property damage (a waiter spills soup on a customer's laptop), and advertising injuries, such as libel, slander, and copyright infringement. CGL typically covers legal fees, medical expenses, and judgments.

Every restaurant should carry General Liability Insurance, and it is required for most commercial leases. However, it is important to remember that General Liability Insurance does NOT cover employee injures. For those injuries, you need Workers' Compensation Insurance, which, in PA, is mandated for almost every employer.

Liquor Liability Insurance helps protect restaurants that serve alcohol. According to Pennsylvania's Dram Shop Law, "Any restaurant or licensed individual who gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be legally held responsible for injuries and damages that person might cause."

Here are some examples:

  • If you serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated and they get into a car accident, you can be held liable for any damages or injuries.
  • If you serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, starts a fight, and injures someone, you can be held liable.
  • If you serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, and they fall and are injured, you can be held liable. 

Liquor Liability Insurance helps cover legal costs and settlements if you are sued under the PA Dram Shop Law. 

Product Liability Insurance protects you from lawsuits that result from illnesses caused by the consumption of your food. The sad fact is that you can do everything possible to ensure food safety in your restaurant. Still, unless you have control over the entire supply chain, you could unwittingly end up serving contaminated food.

Commercial Vehicle Liability helps protect restaurants that use a vehicle for commercial use. Typically, a personal auto insurance policy will not cover damage caused while operating the vehicle for commercial use. That can mean a company-owned vehicle used for deliveries or even trips to the bank. If your delivery drivers use their own vehicle, you will also need non-owned vehicle coverage, and if you offer valet service, you'll need valet service insurance.

How to Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

The agents at American Insuring Group have years of experience assisting restaurants with their insurance needs. They understand your business and know what questions to ask to ensure you have the right insurance coverage. And as independent agents, they check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest rate for that insurance coverage.

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

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

5 Tips to Create a Safe Outdoor Dining Space Your Customers Will Love

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 30, 2021

Create a Safe Outdoor Dining Space and Save on Restaurant Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Erie, Allentown, PA and beyond.For many restaurants, creating an outdoor seating area became a necessity during the COVID restrictions. According to the National Restaurant Association, 48% of family dining, 56% of casual dining, and 62% of fine dining restaurants said: “they devoted more resources to developing or expanding outdoor dining areas.”

Because dining alfresco can be a fun and desirable experience for many customers, creating a permanent outdoor area your customers enjoy and want to return to can help increase your profits. But don’t forget about customer safety to avoid the risk of injuries, lawsuits, and higher Restaurant Insurance costs.

It takes some effort and unique considerations to create a safe and enjoyable outdoor seating area for your customers. A few picnic tables thrown under a tent on your parking lot may not be enough for long-term success. Here are some tips for creating a beautiful, comfortable, and safe seating area that will serve your restaurant and your customers for years to come.

Find the Right Space

Take time to look at your restaurant’s exterior to determine the best spot for a permanent outdoor seating area. You may need to think outside of the box. For example, if you don’t have a large property, is a roof deck feasible? Is there anything on your property that could make for a nice view - such as a stream, forest, an area overlooking the city – that you can take advantage of?

Also, consider the level of noise. While setting up an outdoor seating area that overlooks the town square is great for people watching, the sound of loud cars and motorcycles can make conversations challenging. Take time to sit in the area you’re considering to determine if it’s the best spot for your outdoor seating area.

And don’t forget safety. Is the new space ADA compliant? Are there any tripping hazards you need to eliminate? Does the new space cause traffic flow problems that need to be addressed?

Keep Up-to-Date With Outdoor Dining Rules

Outdoor dining laws vary by state and local governments. Contact regulators to determine what is and isn’t allowed and what permits or licenses you may need. Check into noise ordinances in your area. While many outdoor dining regulations were relaxed during COVID, that may not apply to the future, so check the laws and regulations in your area before starting any permanent renovations.

Keep Your Customers Comfortable

How can you keep your customers dry when it rains, warm when it’s cool, and cool when the sun is beating down on them? Consider a permanent roof, retractable roof, or umbrellas to protect your customers from the elements. If you want to extend your outdoor dining into the cooler months, you may want to consider investing in outdoor heaters.

Make sure the furniture you choose is comfortable. For example, chairs with supportive backs and armrests can be more inviting and more comfortable. In addition, you may want to consider using cushions that can be removed and cleaned as needed.

Control Pests

Are there any bugs or animals that could ruin your customers’ al fresco dining experience? If yes, what can you do to alleviate the nuisance? It can be hard to control nature, but keeping the area clean can help. Immediately clean up spills and remove uneaten food quickly. Sweep the floor frequently to eliminate crumbs, which can attract animals. Consider the use of bug zappers or an exterminator if bugs are a problem.

Create an Attractive Space

One of the greatest appeals of alfresco dining is the ambiance! Even if you don’t have a babbling brook or a beautiful ocean at your disposal, you can create an attractive outdoor dining experience that will compel your customers back again and again. A garden or potted plants can provide beauty and even privacy where needed.

Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you need to use vinyl tablecloths, paper plates and napkins, and plastic utensils. While that may be appropriate for a restaurant selling barbeque, it isn’t for a more upscale restaurant. Plus, glasses, real silverware, and cloth napkins won’t blow away as quickly.

And don’t forget about lighting. The right lighting can draw people in, create an inviting atmosphere, and of course, allow people to move about safely. So you may want to consider a string of outdoor lights, candles, tiki torches, lamp posts, fire pits, and/or spotlights for plants, statues, or fountains.

Save on Restaurant Insurance to Protect Your Business, Customers, and Employees

Keeping your customers and employees safe should be your biggest priority and just makes good business sense. However, if an accident occurs, the right restaurant insurance can help protect your business, customers, and employees.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in restaurant insurance and can help ensure you have the right insurance at the lowest cost. So if you’re considering adding a permanent outdoor seating area – or just want to save on your insurance costs - give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

3 Most Common Restaurant Injuries and Tips to Avoid Them

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 16, 2021

3 Most Common Restaurant Injuries and Tips to Avoid ThemThe more accidents you have in your kitchen and the more claims you file, the higher your Restaurant Insurance costs. And we all know how dangerous restaurant kitchens can be. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 93,800 nonfatal injuries and illnesses in full-service restaurants in 2019, and about one-third of those injuries required at least one day away from work.

These injuries are costing restaurants thousands of dollars every day – both directly and indirectly. Direct costs include wage replacement, litigation costs, property losses, etc. Indirect costs include loss of productivity, OSHA fines, damage to your business reputation, workplace disruptions, etc.

Create a safer kitchen to prevent injuries, and you not only lower the cost of your insurance premiums, but you also create a better work environment, save yourself a lot of headaches, and save on many other operating costs. Here are three of the most common restaurant injuries, according to QSR magazine, and tips to avoid them.

Lacerations and Punctures

With all the knives, slicers, and breakable dishes and glasses, it should come as no surprise that lacerations and punctures are among the most common injuries in restaurant kitchens. Here are fifteen tips to minimize the risk of lacerations and punctures.

  1. Keep knives sharp
  2. Use the right knife for the right job
  3. Store knives in a rack or knife block – not loose in a drawer
  4. Curl fingers of the hand holding the food under when chopping, mincing, etc.
  5. Wear cut-resistant gloves
  6. Use a cutting board
  7. Clean knives immediately after use
  8. Don’t try to catch a falling knife
  9. Install machine guards
  10. Maintain all equipment
  11. Train employees on the proper use of knives and equipment
  12. Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry that can get stuck in equipment
  13. When washing glasses, don’t quickly change the water temperature
  14. Don’t stack glassware
  15. Don’t allow glasses to rub against each other

Burns

Again, with all the hot grease, boiling water, hot stoves, and ovens, it should come as no surprise that burns are one of the most common injuries in restaurant kitchens. QSR reports that “As many as one-third of occupational burns occur in restaurants, totaling about 12,000 reported cases per year, although the actual number is projected to be much higher.” Here are fifteen tips to avoid burns in your restaurant kitchen

  1. Turn pot handles away from burners
  2. Never leave handles sticking out over the edge of the stove
  3. Adjust burn flames, so they cover only the bottom of the pan
  4. Avoid overcrowding range tops
  5. Don’t leave hot oil or grease unattended for any length of time
  6. Slowly lift lids to allow steam to escape
  7. Keep hair, clothing, and flammable materials away from open flames
  8. Ask for help to move very heavy pots that are hot or contain hot ingredients
  9. Use fryer baskets
  10. Don’t fill fryer baskets more than halfway
  11. Install splash guards on fryers
  12. Remove excess ice crystals on food before placing in fryer
  13. Dispose of oil correctly
  14. Wear protective clothing, such as gloves
  15. Use hot pads, pot holders, etc.

Sprains and Strains

Improper lifting, overreaching, tripping, etc., can cause sprains and strains in restaurant kitchens. Here are fourteen tips to minimize the risk of this type of injury.

  1. Wear slip-resistant shoes
  2. Clean up spills immediately
  3. Use signs to warn of potential hazards
  4. Keep walkways clean and free from tripping hazards
  5. Avoid carrying loads that block your view
  6. Ensure there is adequate lighting
  7. Store heavier items on the middle shelves
  8. Use a ladder or step stool instead of reaching above your shoulder height
  9. Use hand trucks to move items when possible
  10. Use anti-fatigue mats
  11. Use mechanical equipment to limit repetitive tasks when possible
  12. Provide training on safe lifting techniques
  13. Take breaks from repetitive tasks
  14. Avoid awkward positions

Regular employee training and the enforcement of safety procedures are crucial to minimizing injuries. Every restaurant kitchen should also have a first aid kit handy and make sure that several workers in the kitchen know how to treat minor injuries properly.

How to Save on Restaurant Insurance Costs

Developing a safe work environment is a significant step to reduce Restaurant Insurance costs, but it isn’t the only step restaurant owners can take. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can offer additional ways to lower your Restaurant Insurance costs. So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving today!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Lancaster PA, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Safe Cleaning Tips to Protect Your Restaurant Customers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 28, 2021

Safe Cleaning Tips to Protect Your Restaurant Customers and help you save on restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, PA and points in between.The COVID-19 pandemic reminded restaurant owners and managers of the importance of proper sanitation - whether they’re running a food truck or a fine dining restaurant. So perhaps it’s a good idea to continue some of those additional precautions even as the mandates are lifted.

The fact is - COVID or no COVID – every restaurant should be kept clean for the safety of the business and its customers and employees. Dirty restaurants can lead to food-borne illnesses, making customers sick, which can lead to lawsuits, damaged reputations, and higher Restaurant Insurance costs.

Here is information to help ensure that your restaurant is adequately cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected to help prevent cross-contamination of food and the spread of germs and viruses.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

Cleaning is removing visible debris and deposits – such as dirt and spills - on the surface using a vacuum, duster, degreaser, soap, or detergent. Cleaning does not eliminate germs.

After a surface is cleaned, sanitizing helps eliminate many microorganisms and reduce the growth of bacteria. Any surface that comes in contact with food – such as cutting boards, countertops, serving utensils, pots, pans, etc. - should be regularly sanitized. They should be sanitized whenever you’re switching to a different type of food or ingredient, when you’re done with one food prep task, or every four hours. Sanitizing kills 99.9% of bacteria.

Surfaces that are frequently touched – such as light switches, door handles, phones, cash registers, bathrooms, etc.– should be regularly disinfected using bleach or other disinfectant. You should disinfect at least once a day, but more frequently during cold and flu season or a virus outbreak. A disinfectant kills 99.999% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

How to Sanitize Food Prep Surfaces

WebstaurantStore suggests the following process:

  • Wipe the surface of any visible debris.
  • Rinse the surface with soap and clean water.
  • Sanitize the surface with a food-safe sanitizer, following the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Allow the surface to air dry for at least 30 seconds.

How to Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces

WebstaurantStore suggests the following process:

  • Wipe the surface of any visible debris.
  • Rinse the surface with soap and clean water.
  • Follow the directions on the disinfecting product you’re using, including how long to keep it on the surface and whether or not to rinse it off.

Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

A restaurant cleaning checklist can help ensure that all employees know what is expected and that cleaning tasks aren’t overlooked. The checklist should include both the kitchen and dining areas and have daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

Prevent food poisoning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these four steps to avoid cross-contamination and food poisoning:

  • Clean (your hands, surfaces, fruits and vegetables, etc.)
  • Separate (cutting boards, food, etc.)
  • Cook to the right temperature
  • Chill – refrigerate promptly

CDC COVID-19 Guidelines Worth Continuing:

  • Urge employees to stay home if they don’t feel well.
  • Require employees to wash their hands frequently - particularly before, during, and after preparing food or after touching garbage. Employees should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Have enough supplies – soap, towels, no-touch trash cans, etc. – to support healthy hygiene.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, phones, cash registers, bathrooms, tables, chairs, etc.
  • Use touchless payment options.
  • Post signs and posters to promote healthy hygiene habits among the staff.

Save Even More on Restaurant Insurance!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group will compare competing restaurant insurance carriers to get you the right insurance coverage at the lowest price. So, give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Pittsburgh PA, Safety Programs, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

5 Tips to Minimize the Hazards of Commercial Deep Fryers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 29, 2021

Deep Fryer Safety Tips to help lower the cost of restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, York, and throughout PennsylvaniaUsed properly, commercial deep fryers can result in delicious foods, but they can also cause injuries and damage, which increases Restaurant Insurance costs. Deep fryers are a staple in most restaurant kitchens. However, you can’t have a deep fryer without hot oil and grease, and both are powerful fuel sources and fire ignitors.

Hazards of Commercial Deep Fryers

Fire

Deep fryers are involved in about one in five restaurant fires. The FDNY reports that deep fryer fires cause an average of five deaths, sixty injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage every year.

Burns

The oil in commercial deep fryers is typically between 350- and 400-degrees Fahrenheit. Splashing oil can cause severe burns.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If a vent hood or fryer exhaust isn’t adequately cleaned or functioning properly, carbon monoxide – an odorless, colorless gas – can quickly fill a kitchen, causing carbon monoxide poisoning.

5 Tips to Minimize the Hazards of Commercial Deep Fryers

1. Proper Training

To avoid an unsafe cooking environment, any employee that uses a deep fryer should be trained on the proper operation and cleaning of a fryer and fryer safety protocol. They should also be trained on appropriate PPP, such as goggles and thermal rubber gloves when operating a fryer. And all kitchen staff should be trained on what to do if there is a fire.

2. Proper Maintenance

A deep fryer and oil that are properly maintained are less likely to cause a problem and more likely to function correctly for longer. Plus, it can help your fried foods taste better. Always have fryers services according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Here are four maintenance tips from Wasserstrom:

  1. Maintain the oil by filtering oil at least once a day, using a skimmer, allowing oil to cool during slower times, shaking off ice crystals from food, and not salting food above the fryer
  2. Regularly clean fryer oil well
  3. Once a week or as needed, perform a full-tank cleanse
  4. Calibrate the fryer every three months

3. Keep Area Around Fryer Clean

Employees should be trained to maintain a clean area around the fryer at all times. Spilled oil on the floor can quickly become slippery, causing an employee to slip and fall, and dirty vent hoods can cause fires, so make sure those are regularly cleaned. Another way to minimize slippery floors is to invest in non-slip mats with holes and require employees to wear non-slip shoes.

It’s also important to keep plastic away from fryers as hot oil can quickly melt plastic, creating a hazard. Utensils used in fryers – such as spatulas and mesh skimmers – should be stainless steel – not plastic. Also, avoid using plastic equipment – such as buckets - to clean fryers.

4. Use Fryer Baskets

Use commercial-grade fryer baskets designed for your fryer to hold and drop food into the hot oil. Although many restaurant kitchens use the word “drop” to describe adding food to hot oil, actually dropping the food or a fryer basket into hot oil can cause the oil to splash out. Gently lower the baskets into the oil to avoid burning someone or creating a slippery floor.

5. Keep a Class K Fire Extinguisher

Water doesn’t put out oil fires. Therefore, a Class K fire extinguisher - made specifically for fires involving cooking media, such as fats, grease, and oils – should be easily accessible. And all employees should be trained on how to use a fire extinguisher properly.

Commercial deep fryers are a staple in most restaurant kitchens – from food trucks selling French fries to upscale restaurants serving fried quail eggs. Following these tips will help keep your employees and your kitchen safe and help improve your bottom line.

Get a Free Restaurant Insurance Quote!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, so we can make sure you have the right insurance at the lowest price. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to get a free insurance quote.

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