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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

Do You Need Restaurant Liability Insurance Coverage?

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Dec 29, 2016

Things to consider when purchasing Restaurant Liability Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Erie, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Imagine… One of your servers loses his grip on a hot cup of coffee and it lands on a patron’s lap. Or a woman slips on a wet spot in your restroom and breaks her ankle in two places.

As a restaurant owner, you’re probably already aware how quickly an accident can happen in your establishment. So it’s incumbent upon you to be prepared for the lawsuits and expenses that often accompany these type of mishaps. Without adequate restaurant insurance protection, your business assets could be seized to pay any claims for which you’re found liable. 

Even when the court does not rule in the patron’s favor, your restaurant will still be responsible for court costs and your attorney's fees to defend the case.

 

Getting the right insurance protection

Without the proper insurance coverage, incidents like these could bankrupt, or at least derail, your small business. Liability insurance safeguards your business from claims from others, including lawsuits. This insurance starts with a General Liability (GL) policy, but there are also plans to meet a restaurant’s specific needs. These include:

  • Liquor Liability if your business serves alcohol
  • Excess Liability to increase the liability limits on your policy
  • Assault and Battery Liability if a fight breaks out and there are injuries
  • Cyber Liability to address data breaches

Who needs this insurance?

Restaurant liability insurance is appropriate for a variety of hospitality businesses including:

  • Full-service restaurants
  • Fast-food restaurants
  • Bars and taverns
  • Sports bars
  • Night clubs
  • Delis
  • Pizzerias
  • Food trucks
  • Caterers

This list is not comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of the types of establishments that incur the risks associated with serving food and drinks to customers and clients.

What does general liability insurance cover?

Liability policies will usually include the following:

  • Financial awards to the plaintiff if you lose your case
  • Attorney’s fees for defending your business in court
  • Future medical payments for an injured party
  • Settlement costs if it makes sense to settle out of court

If a patron’s injury or illness results in death, your GL policy will cover the medical expenses, funeral expenses, and any court-awarded compensation. Just remember, when your employees are injured or become sick while working for you, they are not covered under your GL but by your Worker’s Compensation insurance.

Property damage claims coverage may be included

Keep in mind that your policy may also protect your food service business from liability due to injuries or property damages that happen at other locations. Think about a business that caters an event at which a food warmer malfunctions and the resulting fire causes property damage at the venue. Your policy would handle the costs and any lawsuits.

And don’t forget personal and advertising injury claims

When your restaurant uses advertising or any promotional literature, you need to take into consideration that you may be infringing on another restaurant’s brands or copyrights. A general liability policy that covers you if you copy the promotional literature of another business would make sense. It protects you from accusations that your advertising slandered or libeled another company or person and caused non-physical damage.

 

Be Prepared - Contact Us for All Your Restaurant Insurance Needs

Contact us for Restaurant Liability InsuranceNo matter how well prepared you think you are, your food service business is not immune to accidents. A Restaurant General Liability policy is a must to protect you against the unpredictability of mishaps, oversights, and lawsuits.

When shopping for coverage, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for help in finding the right policy to fit your restaurant business needs.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Philadelphia PA, Restaurant Insurance Allentown PA, Restuarant Insurance Harrisburg PA, Restaurant Insurance Lancaster PA, Restaurant Insurance Reading PA, Restaurant Liability Insurance

Food Product Recalls and Restaurant Insurance Solutions

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Oct 13, 2015

Restaurant-Insurance-Food-RecallsHaving the right type of restaurant insurance coverage is key to protecting your business in the event of a food recall. That's because food recalls have become a major concern for restaurant owners and others in the food businesses in recent years.

The number of recalls has nearly doubled since 2002, costing many of these affected businesses more than $10 million for each incident, with some going as high as $100 million. Most of that money is spent on product disposal costs, business interruptions, and customer reimbursements. And those figures do not include the reputational damage that lowers profits for food producers.

A 2013 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicated that nearly nine million people were sickened by contaminated food that year, costing the U.S. public health system a stunning $15 billion in hospitalization costs and lost wages.

Food recalls are triggered for several reasons, nearly half of which are for microbiological contamination. Another 25% come from incorrect or missing labelling. Defective packaging, physical and chemical contamination, and unapproved ingredients round out the list. 

Food Product Recalls and Restaurants

As a restaurant owner, it’s imperative that you keep on top of all food recall information – from both the FDA and the USDA. You can do that by regularly checking www.foodsafety.gov. You can also get recall information sent right to your email inbox or by uploading an app.

If you discover that there is a recall on a product that you serve, check to see if the items you have in stock are part of that recall. Then, find out the reason for the recall. As we mentioned, food can be recalled for everything from microbiological contamination to inaccurate ingredient labeling. If you do have recalled product, identify and separate those products. Finally, contact the manufacturer to determine whether to return or throw away the recalled product and to ask for a refund.

Restaurant insurance is a vital component of risk management

Contaminated foods can have a devastating effect on a food manufacturer or restaurant’s reputation. Also, consumers who have been poisoned by contaminated food can file claims for financial compensation. All of this points to restaurant insurance as a means of mitigating the financial impact of a recall. There are several possible solutions:

Product Liability Insurance provides compensation of justified third-party claims and defense costs for injury caused by a contaminated food product.

Product Recall Insurance reimburses expenses for the recall of any food product that was accidentally contaminated or labelled incorrectly and resulted in sickness, disease or death. It covers the company’s expenses related to the recall such as notification, testing, disposal, product replacement, and reimbursement of the purchase price.

Contaminated Product Insurance pays expenses that are associated with accidental contamination, malicious contamination, or product extortion demands. Specific losses that are covered include recall expenses, pre-incident consulting, post-incident crisis management, third-party expenses, loss of gross profit, and rehabilitation expenses.

Get the Right Restaurant Insurance for Your Peace of Mind 

Each of these types of insurance addresses a specific need. Click here to contact us or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to find the right insurance solution for your company based on your risk exposure and the level of protection that you need.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Philadelphia PA, Restaurant Insurance Allentown PA, Restaurant Insurance Pittsburgh PA, Restuarant Insurance Harrisburg PA, Restaurant Insurance Reading PA