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Should Restaurants Have Coverage for Food Spoilage and Burns?
7 min read
Go beyond the obvious answers to protect your restaurant.
You’re smart. You probably know the answer to the question asked in the blog title.
It’s “yes.” But you might wonder why you need coverage for food spoilage and burns. You'll find more than a few answers below, along with tips for reducing food spoilage, fires, and burns at your restaurant.
- Prevention Tips (Not a Sales Pitch)
- 75% Turnover Rate and Burns
- Burn Prevention and Orientation
- Money Makes Safety Meetings More Exciting
- Burns Lead to Fires, and Fires Lead to Losses
- Our Coverage Recommendations for Burns and Fires
- Five Quick Food Spoilage Tips
- Our Coverage Recommendations for Food Spoilage
- Why You Want to Work With an Independent Agent
1. Prevention Tips (Not a Sales Pitch)
Restaurant owners hear plenty of sales pitches.
Produce vendors want you to use their potatoes. Tech companies ask you to demo their point-of-sale software. A beer guy shows up to push a new brew that’s sure to bring in tons of new customers (at least that’s what he says).
If you’re lucky, a vendor might send you a nice bottle of wine on your birthday.
The point is, we’d rather share our knowledge than sell to you.
Before we dive into the reasons for carrying coverage for burns and food spoilage, we want to help you prevent those things from happening.
2. The 75% Turnover Rate Creates Problems
You’ve probably worked with brilliant chefs. These culinary superheroes could make a mouth-watering meal out of dry ramen, SPAM,® and cake frosting.
You look the other way when their quirks and rule-breaking ways lead to amazing recipes. Isn’t that what makes them geniuses?
There are some guidelines you shouldn’t budge on, though. Everyone from the new server to the head chef should follow the same safety rules in your restaurant.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the restaurant industry turnover rate was nearly 75% in 2018. Accidents happen when new and veteran employees don't have safety processes to follow.
This could be why the food service industry claims more documented burns than any other line of work.
3. Burn Prevention and Orientation
There are many sources for burns, including:
- Equipment that hasn’t been properly maintained
- Hot plates
- Steam from just-opened pans
- Stoves, grills, ovens, and other hot surfaces
- Splattering oil and grease
We know you do a little bit of everything at your restaurant, but that doesn’t mean you should rush new hires through safety training.
When you onboard employees, you should show them where you keep the following safety equipment:
- Fire extinguishers (you should have more than one)
- First aid kit
- Freezer gloves
- Oven mitts
- Wet floor signs
During the orientation, you should share these tips for avoiding burns:
- Don’t hurry when draining pasta or pouring liquids
- Keep your distance from hot liquids, including water and grease
- Never touch the stovetop with your bare hand
- Stand back from a hot pan when you remove the lid
- When pans are on the stove, tilt the handles inward
- Use oven mitts – always
While you’re at it, make sure employees know how to use a fire extinguisher and how to put out a grease fire.
4. Money Makes Safety Meetings More Exciting
All the rules we discussed above? You should post them in a highly visible place in the kitchen.
You might ask, “What if my employees think this whole safety thing is lame and not worth their time?”
They won’t think safety is lame if you tie it to money. You don’t need to hand out thousands of dollars, but you could give employees a $50 bonus for every accident-free month.
This gives your staff something to celebrate, but if an accident does happen, you can review prevention tips and rules in safety meetings.
5. Burns Lead to Fires, and Fires Lead to Losses
You know it’s tough to succeed in the restaurant world. It’s even tougher to recover from a fire that takes away your positive momentum.
Here’s a scenario. Grease splatters on a cook’s hand. She’s in pain. She turns her back to the stove and doesn’t notice the grease fire spreading across the stove.
In a restaurant that’s not prepared, the employees won’t know what to do. They won’t know where the fire extinguishers are, either. That’s why training is so important.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the average restaurant fire leads to a $23,000 loss. Cooking causes nearly 64% of these fires.
That’s why a fire suppression system is a great investment!
If you don’t have one, here’s how a fire suppression system works:
- It connects to two places: the gas line and the hood above your cooking station.
- The gas line shuts off when the system is activated.
- The hood contains a ventilation system with nozzles that shoot a fire suppressant.
- The hood will also suck up smoke from the fire.
6. Our Coverage Recommendations for Burns and Fires
Restaurant work is fast-paced. This speed can lead to mental slips and accidents.
Workers compensation insurance will help you take care of an employee’s medical bills and lost wages in the event of an accident. This coverage also goes a long way in curbing potential lawsuits.
Business property insurance helps protect your building and business personal property, along with loss of income and damage from covered losses.
7. 5 Quick Food Spoilage Prevention Tips
Fires are obvious bottom line killers. Food waste isn’t as obvious, but it can do just as much damage over time. It’s a simple formula. Food in the trash = money in the trash, and you don’t like throwing away profits.
These best practices will help you cut down on food spoilage in your restaurant.
The more menu items you have, the more ingredients you’ll need to keep on-hand. Experiment with rotating menus, and create dishes from ingredients that are in-season. Don’t add items to your menu just because customers ask for them.
2. Check Every Vendor Order
Everyone makes mistakes. But if you pay for 20 bell peppers, and 19 of them are moldy on delivery, you should ask for replacements at no cost to you.
3. Label and Date Everything
You don’t have to do this yourself, but your restaurant staff should label and date ingredients so everyone knows which ones to use first.
4. Use Controlled Storage
Use containers with air-tight seals.
5. Store Meat Low in the Fridge
If you put meat higher up in the fridge, its juices could drip on other food and contaminate it. That’s why you should store meat in a low spot with no other ingredients beneath it.
8. Our Coverage Recommendations for Food Spoilage
It’s great to follow food spoilage best practices. Think about this, though. What happens when an overnight power outage shuts down your restaurant’s fridge and spoils all the food inside of it?
Spoilage insurance exists for situations like this, and that’s why we suggest you carry it. Spoilage insurance covers the costs of spoiled food up to policy limits.
9. Why You Want to Work With an Independent Agent
Our independent agents are businesspeople, too. They serve restaurant owners like you and work to create a plan that fits your business model.
Contact Heitmann Insurance Services to discuss workers compensation insurance, business property insurance, and food spoilage coverage that’ll help protect the profitability of your restaurant.