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How to Keep Restaurant Customers Safe and Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 17, 2022

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Cost in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, York, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call Today!COVID has undoubtedly brought the importance of health and safety to the forefront of every restauranteur’s mind. The good news is that creating a safer restaurant has many benefits for restaurant owners and managers, including lower Restaurant Insurance costs. 

That’s why we often discuss tips to keep restaurant employees safe, such as proper training and appropriate PPE, in this blog. However, prioritizing customer safety is just as crucial to the health and well-being of your restaurant. A sick or injured customer can increase your Restaurant Insurance costs and affect your restaurant’s reputation and bottom line. 

Here are some important tips for keeping your customers safe and your restaurant prospering. 


Keep Your Restaurant Clean

Cleanliness in restaurants has always been important to customers. For example, consider these 2016 (pre-COVID) statistics from Jolt.

  • 66% of people are unwilling to revisit a restaurant with bad food hygiene. 
  • 75% of people are unwilling to return to a restaurant implicated in a food poisoning or hygiene incident unless it has changed ownership. 
  • 75% of consumers will not visit a restaurant with negative reviews about its cleanliness. 
  • Restaurants are the most negatively affected business by negative reviews about cleanliness, even above hotels and doctor’s offices.  

Dirty restaurants can also lead to food-borne illnesses, which can lead to lawsuits, damaged reputations, and more. Therefore, you must regularly sanitize and clean your entire restaurant, including the kitchen, dining room(s), bathrooms, and takeout station, using food-grade cleaners on surfaces that come in contact with food. 

Practice Fire Safety

Fires are one of the biggest potential disasters for restaurants. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2010 and 2014, an estimated average of 7,410 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments were reported to U.S. fire departments per year, causing annual losses of three civilian deaths, 110 civilian injuries, and $165 million in direct property damage. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to the safety of your customers that you practice proper fire safety, including the following:

  • Installing fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and a fire-suppression system
  • Providing fire safety training for employees
  • Conducting regular maintenance on restaurant equipment

 Provide Adequate Training

The turnover rate for restaurant employees creates a serious challenge for restaurant owners, including proper training. However, safety training is essential to the health and well-being of your customers and your restaurant.

  “Your kitchen is only as safe as your employee who has received the least amount of training,” WebstaurantStore aptly states. “For this reason, investing time in training your employees is one of the most effective ways to make your restaurant safe.” 

Employees need to be regularly trained on the following:

  • Good hygiene, such as the importance of hand washing and where, when, and how to wash hands properly.
  • Food safety, including preventing cross-contamination and how to handle allergens.
  • How to operate restaurant equipment safely to avoid fires, food contamination caused by equipment failure, etc.
  • Fire safety, such as knowing how to put out a grease fire, using a fire extinguisher, etc.
  • General safety procedures, such as the proper use of PPE, avoiding slippery floors, etc. 

Additional Safety Tips

  • Tell employees to stay home if they aren’t feeling well to avoid the spread of Covid, colds, etc.
  • Provide safety signage where appropriate.
  • Use contact-free technology, such as touchless credit card readers and mobile ordering.
  • Set up hand-sanitizing stations 

Reduce Your Restaurant Insurance Costs the Easy Way

Keeping employees and customers safe is a crucial step to lowering insurance costs.

Working with an experienced independent insurance agent is another way to reduce insurance costs. The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, so we understand your unique challenges. We'll be sure to get you the right coverage for your business. In addition, as independent agents, we work with many different insurance companies to help you find the lowest premium for that coverage. 

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to start saving on Restaurant Insurance!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety

9 Tips to Reduce Slip and Fall Injuries in Restaurants

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 22, 2022

Keep Restaurant Insurance Affordable by Avoiding Slip and Fall Accidents in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading and throughout PAInjuries within your restaurant can significantly increase the cost of Restaurant Insurance and other costs, damage your restaurant’s reputation, lower productivity, and more. Therefore, understanding and minimizing the risk of injuries is crucial to business success. One of the most significant risks restaurants encounter is falls. 

According to ISSA, “More than 3 million food service employees and over 1 million guests are injured annually as a result of restaurant slips and falls.” They also report that “slips and falls are the greatest source of general liability insurance claims within the restaurant industry.” 

You may not be able to avoid all slips and falls in your restaurant, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. 

  1. Install high-traction, slip-resistant flooring. You can confirm slip resistance with a coefficient of friction (COF) audit.
  2. Immediately clean up spills, pick items off the floor, and keep walkways clear of clutter.
  3. Use maintenance and floor cleaning products with slip-resistant characteristics compatible with your flooring surfaces. Check out the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).
  4. Pay special attention to permanently installed features, such as carpets and mats. They need to be properly maintained and cleaned to avoid trip hazards. NFSI-certified mats are an excellent investment.
  5. Conduct and document regular hazard inspections. Regularly walk around your restaurant looking for hazards, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, and blocked or dimly lit areas. Document the hazard, when it appeared, and what you did to eliminate it. Documenting this information helps provide proof that you are serious about maintaining your property and keeping it safe for employees and customers.
  6. If you discover a hazard that can’t be fixed immediately, alert employees and visitors to the danger with warning signs.
  7. Install a surveillance system to monitor for situations that may pose a risk. Cameras can also record accidents to help expedite the resolution of any claims and minimize the risk of false claims.
  8. Train employees on established safety procedures, cleaning operations, and inspection procedures. Train workers to apply floor cleaning and maintenance products following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep records of all employee training, including individuals trained, subject matter covered, training materials, and the date of the training.
  9. Require slip-resistant shoes. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) study 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.” 

IIf – despite all your best efforts – an injury does occur, immediately ensure that the injured person receives appropriate medical attention, complete an incident report, and notify your insurance company as soon as possible. 

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs!

The American Insuring Group is committed to providing information about Restaurant Insurance and tips to improve safety with our weekly blog. From protecting your restaurant from cyber threats to minimizing the risk of an allergic reaction in your restaurant and from protecting your restaurant against lawsuits to creating a safe outdoor dining space your customers will love (and everything in between), we’re here to help your restaurant succeed! 

In addition, when you work with one of our Restaurant Insurance specialists, we help ensure you have the right coverage for your needs. And as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage.

✔︎ So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover how we can help lower your Restaurant Insurance costs.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Safety Programs, Restaurant Safety

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

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

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

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