When you run a restaurant you know that it can be a hazardous occupation. From fires like the one that damaged the Gas Light in Portsmouth late last year to cuts and burns from your kitchen staff you understand the importance of insurance. But with profit margins already pretty thin, what is the best way to keep your NH Restaurant insurance premiums reasonable while still providing the protection that you need?
The best way to save money on your restaurant Insurance is to prevent a claim from happening in the first place. Restaurants are a very desirable class of business that insurance companies love, but only if the restaurant is established and with minimal claims. Here are 6 basic tips to keep losses from happening and your premiums low:
1. Prevent Fires:
A fire is one of the most devastating claims for a restaurant due to the extent of possible damage to the actual building, contents and loss of income. Fire also occurs more frequently in restaurants than other small businesses due to the nature of the industry so it is critical that you understand your NH Restaurant Insurance policy and work to instruct all employees on fire safety. This should include instructing all staff on fire suppression, including the location and use of all fire extinguishers. It is also important to have a professional service your extinguishers regularly. Given grease build up is a common cause of restaurant fires, all employees should be trained on disposing of grease properly and have grease traps and ventilation hoods cleaned and degreased at several times a year or as deemed necessary by a professional.
2. Practice Safe Food Handling:
Making customers ill from food poisoning is a sure way to ruin your reputation as well as increase the cost of your policy. Follow all local health department regulations and be sure all employees are regularly trained on safe practices. Some topics to focus on include:
- thorough hand-washing
- proper storage of refrigerated and hot foods
- proper cooking techniques to ensure food reaches safe temperature
- proper sanitation of all kitchen surfaces
3. Prevent Slips and Falls:
Slip and falls are not uncommon for both employees and customers in a restaurant which can impact what you pay for both workers comp and NH Restaurant Insurance. For the customers and pedestrians in general, keep walkways free of debris and ice. Use heavy-duty mats to trap water tracked in on shoes. Employees should wear sturdy, non-slip shoes and "wet-floor" signs should be used as needed.
4. Store Items Safely:
Beyond just temperature control issues, improper storage could lead to strains, sprains and other injuries. Heavy items should be stored on med-level shelves to reduce bending and reaching. Two-person lifts should be used for heavy and awkward items and sturdy stools should be provided as needed.
5. Avoid knife injuries:
Lacerations and injuries from knives are one of the most common employee injuries in a restaurant and can severely impact your premium for New Hampshire Workers Compensation Insurance. Teach employees proper knife handling and replace and broken or compromised knives. You should also sharpen knives regularly and consider investing in cut-resistant gloves.
6. Serve Alcohol Safely:
The ramifications of over-serving a customer are huge and often difficult to monitor, especially in a busy bar area. It is important that all employees are educated on alcohol awareness given that not only will your state liquor license be on the line, but so could your NH insurance policy which would need to include liquor liability if you serve any alcohol. Recognizing proper identification and how to handle inebriated patrons can dramatically help avoid a claim. For more information, visit the New Hampshire Liquor Commission website.
When a covered claim occurs, your NH Restaurant Insurance will be there to help. However by following safety practices and regularly training your employees, you can reduce the risk of needing to file a claim on an event that was easily preventable. Bon Appetit!
This material is for informational purposes only. All statements herein are subject to the provision, exclusions and conditions of the applicable policy. For an actual description of all coverages, terms and conditions, please refer to the applicable insurance policy or local jurisdiction.