Insurance Savings and News You Can Use
Join the Conversation!

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

The Real Cost of Employee Injuries in Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Apr 23, 2021

Reduce your restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown and throughout PA with these tipsWorkplace injuries do more than increase your Restaurant Insurance costs. They cost your business in many other ways, such as lost productivity, lower morale, and more. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates the “total economic costs of work-related deaths and injuries” in 2019 at $171 billion, $1,100 per worker, and $1.2 million per death. Those figures include “income not received or expenses incurred because of fatal and nonfatal PREVENTABLE injuries.”

The good news – as the NSC points out – is that many of these injuries are preventable. Here are seven ways to minimize the risk of injuries – and the ensuing costs – in your kitchen. 

Suitable Attire

Ensuring your employees are appropriately dressed can go a long way to preventing accidents and protecting the quality of the food you serve. 

Providing or requiring closed-toed, non-slip shoes is essential to keeping workers safe in the kitchen. Closed-toed shoes help prevent cuts from falling knives and burns from hot oil. Non-slip shoes help prevent slips and falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 27% of the nonfatal work injuries in 2018 that resulted in days away from work were related to slips, trips, and falls. 

Personal Protective Equipment – such as gloves, oven mitts, and aprons – help prevent injuries such as burns. Properly-fitting uniforms - such as chef coats, cook shirts, and aprons – can help protect employees and minimize injuries. 

Professionally laundered uniforms have been shown to provide superior cleanliness as opposed to home washing machines. Hats and hairnets keep hair out of the way and prevent food from falling into the food. 

Non-Slip Mats

Again, 27% of work injuries result from slips, trips, and falls, and restaurant kitchens tend to be high-paced, busy places with employees constantly on the move. Therefore, anything you can do to keep your employees from slipping, tripping, or falling is essential to kitchen safety, making non-slip mats crucial for any restaurant kitchen. 

Proper Ventilation

“Having proper ventilation for your restaurant is imperative for employee and customer health as well as food sanitation,” FSR magazine states. “Improper ventilation can result in safety violations, higher utility bills, decreased employee productivity, and even flaring tempers from customers as well as employees. It can also result in loss of traffic due to unpleasant odors or uncomfortable conditions.” 

Fire Suppression System

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Restaurant fires accounted for about 6 percent of all nonresidential building fires reported to fire departments each year. These fires resulted in an average of less than one fatality per 1,000 fires, 11 injuries per 1,000 fires, and $23,000 in loss per fire.” 

Deep fryers are involved in one out of ten kitchen fires. Pouring water on a grease fire is not a good idea as it can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire, and the vaporizing water may carry grease particles, which can spread the fire further. 

Proper maintenance and cleaning of deep fryers help minimize the risk of fires, and installing a fire suppression system helps ensure that if a fire does occur, it is put out quickly and safely. 

Equipment Guards

Kitchen Equipment, such as mixers, grinders, and slicers, are an essential part of most commercial kitchens, but they also present a safety risk. In a fast-paced environment or without proper training, accidents can happen. An easy way to avoid cuts or amputations is installing appropriate guards that keep fingers and hands out of harm’s way. 

Appropriate Signage

Signage can draw attention to potential hazards – such as a wet floor – and prevent injuries. 

Proper Cleaning

Good sanitation should be a top priority in any kitchen. One uncleaned filter can cause a fire. A spill that isn’t immediately cleaned can cause an employee to slip and fall. 

Employees need to be trained on how to clean surfaces, equipment, and floors properly. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly cleaning checklists and schedules should be strictly adhered to. 

When Injuries Can’t be Prevented

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an employee is injured. Or a customer gets sick from a foodborne illness. Or a fire damages your kitchen. The right insurance helps protect you, your business, your customers, and your employees. 

Give one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. Not only will we ensure you have the right insurance, but we’ll also ensure you get it at the lowest cost.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp insurance, Restaurant Insurance Reading PA, Restaurant Safety, 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

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

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

A Clean Kitchen Can Reduce Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Nov 04, 2019

AIG man cleaning kitchen counterIf you are a restaurant owner or manager, you already understand how vital a clean kitchen is to the safety of your customers. But have you ever considered how a clean kitchen can save you money, such as lowering your restaurant insurance and litigation costs?

Unfortunately, with so many other responsibilities, keeping a restaurant kitchen clean can be a real challenge. Having a cleaning and sanitizing process in place (and strictly enforced) can help make the process much easier.

First, we’re going to remind you why a clean kitchen is key to any restaurant's success and then provide some tips to help you create a cleaning and sanitizing process for your restaurant.

4 Reasons to Maintain a Clean Restaurant:

Keep Your Customers Safe

The obvious reason to keep restaurants – from kitchens to dining tables - impeccably clean is to avoid cross-contamination and food-borne pathogens that can make your customers sick. Also, a buildup of grease that is not properly cleaned can cause a fire putting employees, customers, and your bottom line at risk.

Pass Restaurant Health Inspections

Health inspections are real and can occur at any time – typically one to four times a year. Having a process in place to keep your restaurant clean helps ensure that your restaurant passes health inspections and helps you avoid fines (or closure) if you don’t pass inspection.

Two of the most common health code violations are poor kitchen sanitation and cross-contamination that can lead to food illness; therefore, maintaining a clean restaurant at all times should be your goal.

Maintain a Good Reputation

Having a clean restaurant – both front-of-house areas and behind the scenes - is imperative to your restaurant’s reputation. People will not dine at a visibly dirty restaurant (at least not more than once), and having your restaurant shut down because of a health violation doesn’t exactly instill confidence in your customers.

Keep Restaurant Costs Down

A clean restaurant can help minimize the cost of legal fees and medical costs; thereby, helping to lower your restaurant insurance costs. Plus, a sanitized and clean kitchen helps cut down on food waste.

How to Maintain a Clean Restaurant?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to sanitation and food safety is the control of bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins, chemicals, and pathogens like Norovirus and Listeria, which can result in food-borne illness.

On average, one in ten people will become ill, and 420,000 will die every year after eating contaminated food, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Food contamination can occur at any time during food production, distribution, and preparation. Any surface that touches food must be regularly cleaned and sanitized – including countertops, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, flatware, tables, microwaves, and even high chairs.

Having a cleaning and sanitizing process in writing, training all employees on that process, and enforcing that process are key to a clean restaurant. Here are some tips for developing that process in your restaurants.

Basic Steps to Clean All Surfaces:

  1. Remove debris from the item by scraping or rinsing it.
  2. Remove soil by washing the object in detergent.
  3. Rinse with hot water.
  4. Sanitize with a chemical sanitizer or hot water (180F) to reduce pathogens. Sanitization reduces 99.999% of pathogenic microorganisms.
  5. Air dry. Do not rinse or use a towel to dry it after it has been sanitized.

What Should Be Cleaned and When?

While preparing food, cooks should practice basic food safety procedures, such as switching cutting boards and brushing grills between cooking fish, poultry, and red meat.

Tasks performed after each shift should include tasks such as cleaning cooking equipment; washing utensils, plates, and glassware; and sweeping and mopping the floors.

Daily tasks include cleaning out grease traps and running hood filters through the dishwasher.

Weekly tasks should include emptying, washing, and sanitizing reach-in coolers; cleaning coffee machines; and using drain cleaners on floor drains.

Monthly tasks should include things like cleaning freezers, emptying and sanitizing ice machines, washing walls and ceilings, and wiping down storage areas.

There are also annual tasks (that aren’t exactly cleaning but are important), some of which may require a professional, such as checking the fire suppression system, fire extinguishers, the hoods, and pilot lights on gas equipment.

The Webstaurantstore offers a printable checklist that you can start with, but creating checklists specific to your restaurant ensures that everything is covered.

Want to Save Even More on Your Restaurant Insurance?

American Insuring Group specializes in restaurant insurance and offers an extensive blog that provides information about how you can save on restaurant insurance. Plus, as independent agents, we can compare costs with several companies to ensure that you get the best price.  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Safety