Managing Risk | Restaurant Risk Management Checklist

Nicole Georgiev
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    Do you dream of opening a restaurant, opening a coffee shop, or opening a food truck? When opening a business in any industry, managing risk is something you should be thinking about.

    Running a business, especially one in the restaurant industry, comes with challenges and risks. This is due to the high-pressure environment that may result in an increase in employee-related injuries. 

    Effectively managing risk and building business resilience can help you work towards restaurant success and business growth. Consider this blog post your restaurant risk management checklist to help you plan ahead for potential risks. 

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    Managing Risk in Your Restaurant

    Risk is all around us, even in a growing industry like the restaurant industry. As a restaurant owner, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks you may face in the business. This includes common restaurant industry risks

    Understanding the risk management definition and developing a risk management plan is a great place to start when it comes to managing risk. This will allow you to create different “if, then” scenarios and develop effective solutions. 

    Accidents are bound to happen, but they shouldn’t scare you away from starting the business of your dreams. Proper risk management will help you prepare for the worst. 

    Key Takeaway: Managing risk in your restaurant business is an important task. Following a risk management checklist for your restaurant business is an efficient way to manage this process. 

    Managing Risk in the Kitchen

    Working in the food and beverage industry will likely require you or your employees in the kitchen at some point. As a restaurant manager, it’s your responsibility to prevent injuries from happening as much as possible.

    This starts off with creating a safe working environment and culture. To ensure a safe environment, you may consider holding regular employee training. This way you can educate your staff about best practices and provide them with tips on managing risk.

    Reduce the Risk of Cuts

    Some of the most common injuries that take place in restaurants are cuts, punctures, and lacerations. It’s your duty to minimize these risks.

    Four ways to reduce the risk of cuts in the kitchen include:

    1. Determine the ideal kitchen layout for your restaurant.
    2. Provide employees with cut-resistant gloves to protect their fingers and hands.
    3. Train your kitchen employees on proper knife and sharp equipment handling.
    4. Keep non-slip mats underneath the cutting boards.
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    Minimize the Risks of Burns

    Most kitchens include dangerous equipment that may cause burn injuries. This equipment includes stoves, ovens, and fryers. It’s possible for someone to accidentally touch a hot pot or spill a hot liquid. 

    In order to prevent and minimize the risk of burn injuries, employees should be required to wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, and long sleeves. This will help protect large areas of the skin from coming in contact with heat points. 

    Another way to reduce the risk of burns is to keep the kitchen organized, especially the area near the hot equipment. This area should be free of debris and clutter as it will help reduce the risk of someone bumping into the kitchen equipment.

    Managing Health Risks

    The customers are the heart of the restaurant business. They are what keep the business running and what helps it grow. 

    Aside from the loyalty program and great customer service that your restaurant may offer, customers go to restaurants primarily for the food. With that being said, the last thing you want is for your customer to have a bad experience due to an allergic reaction or food poisoning. 

    This situation would not only be bad for your restaurant financially, but it will also hurt your business’ reputation. However, there are ways to avoid having to deal with such risks. 

    Six ways to manage health risks in your restaurant include:

    1. Train your employees on how to handle and prepare food properly.
    2. Ensure food safety by developing a food safety management system.
    3. Keep the kitchen area organized and clean in order to avoid cross-contamination.
    4. Provide multiple cutting boards and use an individual one for preparing different foods such as meat.
    5. Ensure that all employees are washing their hands frequently.
    6. Strategically design your menu so that it includes allergy information such as if the dish contains nuts, dairy, and eggs.

    Another way to protect your business in the event that a customer gets sick is with an insurance policy. Product or general liability insurance policies may be able to cover the cost of food poisoning claims.

    Managing Cyber-Related Risks

    Today’s world is more connected than ever. In fact, hackers are getting more and more sneaky when it comes to stealing personal information. 

    You may not assume that restaurants are a target for cyberattacks. However, they are definitely on their hit list, and it’s mainly due to the fact that restaurants, like many other businesses, store valuable information. This information is just what the hackers what as it may contain customer credit card and employee payroll information. 

    Four ways to minimize cyber-related risks include:

    1. Use a cloud-based POS system in order for your information to be secure and regularly backed up.
    2. Consider having Cyber Liability Insurance and a policy that covers expenses that may stem from cyber-related attacks.
    3. Develop a system that allows you to manage all documents and keep a record of all contacts, receipts, and billing statements.
    4. Limit access to sensitive information and documents.

    Managing Alcohol-Related Risks

    Are you considering getting a liquor license to serve alcohol at your restaurant? If so, you may be held liable if an intoxicated customer causes harm to themselves or others or if they cause property damage. This may be true even if the incident occurs outside your business’s property. 

    Managing risk is crucial for a business, especially when it comes to alcohol. The risk is high, but with proper management, you can ensure a solid strategy to prevent, avoid, and deal with risks as they arise. 

    Four ways to manage alcohol-related risks include:

    1. Train bartenders and bar staff to identify signs of intoxication.
    2. Create a policy that prohibits serving alcohol to customers that are visibly intoxicated.
    3. Ensure that all customers consuming alcoholic beverages in the restaurant are of the legal drinking age.
    4. Protect your business with liquor liability insurance in order to prevent financial losses if a customer does get involved in an accident or causes physical damage.
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    Frequently Asked Questions About a Risk Management Checklist

    Knowing and understanding the risks you face as a business owner are key to running a successful business. Properly managing risk will allow you to run a smooth business and maintain a solid reputation within your industry.

    To better understand this process, read the following questions about having a risk management checklist: 

    What Is Risk Assessment in a Restaurant?

    Risk assessment in a restaurant refers to the evaluation of potential problems that may arise within your restaurant business. Managing risk, including health and safety risks, in your restaurant, is crucial. To do this, you must identify potential problems that may arise and develop a strategy to prevent them from occurring. 

    What Are the Risk Factors in a Restaurant?

    A few risk factors in a restaurant that you should be aware of include: 

    • Employee lawsuits
    • Flooding or property damage
    • Sign coverage
    • Food contamination or spoilage
    • Equipment breakdown
    • The need for major renovations or improvements
    • Employee lawsuits

    What Are the 4 Strategies for Risk Management?

    The four strategies for risk management include:

    1. Acceptance
    2. Transference
    3. Avoidance
    4. Reduction
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