Owning or managing a restaurant can be a rewarding
venture, but with the rewards come major risks. Two of the most concerning in the restaurant
business are the food and drinks you serve. Studies show 1 in 6 Americans get sick from
food borne illnesses each year. Of those, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000
die. The FDA has identified the five most significant
contributors to food borne illness in a restaurant setting:
1) Food from unsafe sources 2) Inadequate cooking
3) Improper holding temperatures 4) Contaminated equipment and
5) Poor personal hygiene By referencing accepted industry best practices,
you can develop controls and procedures to minimize the effects of each of these contributors. Safe food storage controls will help eliminate
biological hazards and risks associated with foodborne illnesses. Considerations include:
– Ventilation – Extermination
– Containers tightly covered, labelled and dated. – Food items stored 6 inches off of the floor. – Proper temperatures maintained and
– Cleaning products stored away from food products. Restaurant kitchen staff should be well versed
in safe practices and kitchens should have signs posted outlining safe procedures and
storage temperatures for all food types. Considerations include defined kitchen cleaning
schedules for cooking equipment, utensils and cutting boards, and floors, walls, horizontal
surfaces, and appropriate handling of food. Handwashing is key! Additional food safety controls you should
incorporate include: – Checking foods for foreign objects
– Checking supplier’s quality control – Posting ingredients
– Making sure employees are aware of all ingredients in the food being served
– Providing undercooked food warnings – Support evidence of organic or low fat and
– Properly maintaining same temperatures for catering or carry out foods
Along with making sure your food is safe for consumption, you need to assure your patrons
are consuming alcohol safely as well! According to the CDC, alcohol use results
in approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of lost potential life span annually
in the US. As a restaurant owner, it is critical to ensure
customers are not overserved. Failure to control this exposure could result
in fines, loss of license, increased insurance costs, and possible imprisonment. Anyone who serves alcohol should be trained. Certification and recertification is available
through a number of highly recognized programs, both online and in classroom settings. Written liquor service policies should be
established to address items such as: – ID checks or “carding” of persons who appear
to be under 30. – Handling of customers showing signs of intoxication. – A “Ride Home” policy
– Incident recordkeeping Restaurant product and liquor liability losses
can be minimized or avoided by identifying exposures, having a current prevention plan
and policy in place, and ongoing management support. Should you have questions about controlling
your liability exposures, contact your independent insurance agent.