Keep cool and carry on – A summer survival guide for restaurants and cafés

Iced teas, tropical fruits, a cheeky ice cream – those signature flavours of summer are something you would be all too familiar with as a restaurant or café owner. Summer also marks a time of long, busy days, bringing with it some unexpected challenges your small business should be prepared for.

Safety First

Restaurants and cafes are a constant hive of activity – from the prepping in the kitchen, the steaming of coffee machines and dining areas buzzing with hungry, and often impatient, customers. It’s important to take responsibility and keep these areas free of potential obstacles that could cause an unwanted accident.

Keep your risks at bay by:

  • Ensuring all boxes of stock are put away safely and not left lying around to avoid causing a trip hazard and injuring someone
  • Displaying the appropriate signage on mopped floors and slippery surfaces to help prevent an accident from occurring

Prevention is better than cure, but if an accident happens, having a response plan in place is a smart way to minimise the risk from escalating. Make sure you communicate to your staff what the plan is, how they can access it and what to do if an incident does occur.

No need to cry over spilt milk!

One of the best ways to safeguard your restaurant or café business is with Public Liability insurance. It is designed to protect your business from the financial risks which may arise from accidental injury or damage to a third party’s property that is caused by your business activities.

The common risks restaurants and cafes are faced with include:

  • A customer, supplier or member of the public injuring themselves through a slip, trip or fall on your business premises
  • Accidental spillage of hot food or drinks on a customer by a staff member, causing injury
  • Food poisoning – an off batch of seafood could result in multiple claims from customers who may fall ill because of your food

Show me the money

Cash is king and is what keeps those tills ticking over. Make sure you protect your hard-earned dollars by following a few simple processes like:

  • Implementing cash handling procedures for your staff to follow
  • Limit the number of people who handle your cash – you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen
  • Make regular bank deposits to prevent high levels of cash on hand
  • Don’t keep in your business premises overnight
  • Keep an eye on your transactions, both cash and electronic. This is often the first place to identify any cash discrepancies that may be occurring

When you’re handling money every day, it makes sense to protect it. Money cover is available under Business Insurance pack and will protect money belonging to your business that is:

  • Stolen
  • lost or damaged on your premises
  • in transit to or from your premises or
  • in your personal custody

If the books don’t balance, alarm bells go off, and while it’s not something we like to think about, internal theft is also a reality. During the holiday period, there is the added financial pressure of Christmas which can often drive honest employees to do things they wouldn’t usually do.

An effective way to handle the situation is by having an Employee Dishonesty policy to cover your business for losses that are caused through fraudulent or dishonest acts by your employees.

Protecting the goods

Relying on refrigerators to keep your stock fresh and your ovens to get the job done can be a recipe for disaster if your machinery decides to call it a day and breakdown, especially in the middle of summer.

When serving freshly prepared food it is essential to ensure you have the right cover for in case things go pear-shaped. Machinery Breakdown cover offers protection for the related costs of repairing or replacing insured machinery following a breakdown. There is an additional extension of cover to protect against loss of stock if your fridge experiences motor burnout or your premises encounters a power failure resulting in spoiled food.

Wild elements

During the summer season many restaurants and cafes take advantage of the extra business, while others take time off for that well-deserved break. Either way, it’s important to have a plan in place to protect your business against loss or damage from bushfires, storms and other insurable events.

Fires breaking out in commercial kitchens are also a common risk for both cafes and restaurants.

Taking these additional steps can help minimise the chances of a hot mess:

  • Assess your business premises to identify any potential threats and hazards, mitigating any risk before they cause destruction
  • Create a plan to prepare for possible natural disasters which can include action items like reviewing and updating emergency evacuation points, checking fire alarms and maintaining any trees around your premises
  • Ensure all fire alarms and sprinklers are correctly installed and functioning and that you have the necessary equipment to deal with a kitchen fire, such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets. If your premises is fitted with flue, ensure there is a regular cleaning and maintenance regime in place.
  • If you use deep fryers, make sure they not being overfilled with oil, as this is one of the biggest causes for fires
  • Never leave cooking equipment unattended

Business Insurance can act as a safety net to protect your business building and assets. Here are a few types of cover to consider:

Contents – could you afford to replace all your contents if it was destroyed by fire? Contents cover provides financial protection when disaster strikes by replacing your contents and stock.

Glass – falling debris from extreme storms can cause extensive damage to your main shopfront and other windows- Glass cover can cover the repair and replacement costs.

Business Interruption – time is money, so if you had to shut up shop due to  a peril covered by the policy such as storm or fire there’s a good chance, you’re going to break the bank. If your business was forced to close due to an insurable event, Business Interruption insurance can help by providing cover for loss of income and the increased costs of operating your business.

*It is important to note that this kind of cover is only available if you insure Building or Contents.

Keep cool and carry on

The summer season doesn’t need to be stressful. By taking a few preventive measures to guard your business against those unwanted risks, you can pop your feet up, pour a cold drink and rest easy knowing your business is safely protected. Contact BizCover today to compare competitive quotes from some of Australia’s most trusted insurers.

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