When opening a business, it’s important to prepare for the worst, especially when you’re in the food and beverage industry. If you’re opening a restaurant, opening a coffee shop, or opening a food truck, you’ll want to create a restaurant risk management plan.
Before we dive into creating a restaurant risk management plan, it’s important to understand the risk management definition. All businesses are prone to some kind of risk and a way to reduce the chance of a serious accident or liability happening is with a risk analysis.
Preparing for the worst starts with identifying the potential restaurant industry risks and creating a plan to mitigate those risks. This blog post covers seven things to include in your restaurant risk management plan to ensure it’s effective.
Restaurant Risk Management Plan - Do I Need One?
To ensure restaurant success, it’s ideal to have a restaurant risk management plan in place. This is how you can understand the potential risks of your business and find ways to minimize their impacts.
There are different types of restaurant operations you may follow on a regular basis. However, the main goal is to avoid accidents and other incidents as much as possible. Planning ahead with a restaurant risk management plan will allow you to lessen the impact of the risk if an accident occurs.
Key Takeaway: A restaurant risk management plan allows restaurant owners and managers to identify risks and plan ahead in order to prevent it.
7 Things To Include in a Risk Management Plan
There are different steps you can take to avoid accidents and issues in the workplace. The following seven steps are ideal to include in a risk management plan for your restaurant.
Seven things to include in your risk management plan:
1. Follow Health and Safety Codes
Restaurants and businesses in the food industry are subject to routine health and safety inspections. It’s essential for the restaurant owner, restaurant manager, and employees to understand and comply with these laws.
Commonly regulated areas include:
- Cleaning restaurant equipment and surfaces. Frequently cleaning the kitchen and dining areas is crucial. It’s also essential to clean equipment that comes in contact with food and drink such as bar glasses. Consider following a restaurant kitchen cleaning checklist and stock up on essential cleaning supplies.
- Employee hygiene. All employees should follow strict hygiene practices. This includes regular handwashing and wearing the appropriate equipment when handling food such as gloves and hairnets.
- Safety equipment. It’s important to have certain safety equipment on hand at a restaurant. Such equipment will include a fire extinguisher as it complies with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) regulations.
- Food storage. Properly storing food will ensure food safety and reduce food waste. Developing a proper food storage plan may be part of your food safety system.
2. Maintain Restaurant Equipment
In many cases, restaurants will rely on various equipment that will help with food storage, preparation, and dish transportation, and improve operational efficiency. Properly maintaining this equipment is part of managing risk and it will reduce potential problems from arising.
It’s important to schedule regular maintenance for all essential restaurant equipment including refrigerators, freezers, heating and cooling systems, as well as food trucks and delivery vehicles.
3. Provide Regular Employee Training
It is good practice to update your restaurant risk management plan regularly. Regular updates also require additional employee training to educate and refresh them on the procedures to ensure a safe workplace.
Common topics to include in restaurant employee training are:
- What to do in case of a fire
- How to respond to a robbery
- Properly handling, preparing, and storing food
- Serving alcohol responsibly
- How to safely lift and carry heavy objects
4. Keep Your Workplace Clean
A common accident in restaurants in cafés is a slip and fall accident. This is mainly because food and drinks are often spilled by employees and customers.
Immediately cleaning up these spills and using the appropriate signage, such as wet floor signs, will help reduce the number of potential injuries the spills may cause. Cleaning up after such incidents isn’t the only type of cleaning you should be doing at your restaurant.
In fact, keeping the kitchen, bathrooms, and walkways clean is also essential. They should be free of clutter, water, and ice as it will help prevent falls. It is good practice to regularly clean grease traps to prevent fires.
5. Disclose Food Allergen and Nutrition Information
Customer safety should be a top priority when running a restaurant business. To ensure customer safety, it’s important to inform them of all food disclosures. These include dietary disclosures, allergen disclosures, and nutritional information.
Providing this detailed information regarding your food’s ingredients and nutritional information will allow customers to make informed decisions. It will also reduce the risk of customers suing your business for experiencing an allergic reaction.
6. Obtain Legal Licenses and Permits
Opening a food business will require you to obtain the proper licenses and permits. Common licenses will include a business license, liquor license, food service license, and maybe even a driver’s license if you offer food delivery services.
- Business license. Most counties will require you to have a commercial business license in order to operate your business legally. Be sure to look into your local regulations to determine the kind of license you need.
- Liquor license. In order to serve alcoholic beverages, you must obtain a liquor license. In some states, it’s also required for you to obtain certain permits before serving liquor. It’s possible to apply for a liquor license through your state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board. Be sure to familiarize yourself with how to get a liquor license based on your state.
- Food service license. A food service license is issued by your local health department once you pass the necessary health inspections.
- Driver's license. If you plan to offer food delivery services or operate a food truck, it’s essential for you to have a driver’s license. This will allow you to legally operate a vehicle. Keep in mind that food trucks may require commercial driver’s licenses in some states.
7. Have Insurance
When developing your restaurant risk management plan, you’re likely thinking about the potential occurrence of unprecedented accidents and injuries. A way to protect yourself in an event like this is with insurance.
Such insurance should cover your employees and your business as a whole. Employees in the food and beverage industry are more susceptible to workplace injuries. With insurance, you’re providing your employees with a better work environment while also reducing the risk of getting into legal trouble.
Frequently Asked Questions About a Risk Management Plan for Restaurants
The food and beverage industry is one that is prone to accidents and injuries. There are larger risks to keep in mind, such as fire accidents or customer injuries that may stem from a slip and fall. These may lead to potential lawsuits or negative publicity.
A way to avoid these accidents and prevent them from occurring is by having a restaurant risk management plan in place. To better understand how a risk management plan for your restaurant will benefit your business, read the following commonly asked questions.
What Are the Four Types of Risk in Business?
The four types of risk in business are:
- Market risk
- Liquidity risk
- Credit risk
- Operation risk
What Are the 5 Steps to a Risk Management Plan?
The five steps to a risk management plan include:
- Identify the risk
- Analyze the risk
- Assign priorities to each risk
- Treat the risk
- Monitor the risk
What Are the Risk Factors in a Restaurant?
The most common and costly risk factors in a restaurant include:
- Food storage
- Foodborne illnesses
- Business certification and licensing
- Insufficient cash flow
- Workplace injuries
- Inadequate marketing strategies
- Fire safety
- Poor brand and reputation management
What Is Risk Assessment in a Restaurant?
Risk assessment in a restaurant refers to the management of health and safety risks within the workplace. Assessing risk requires you to think about what may cause harm to employees or customers in your business and determine whether you have the strategies in place to prevent that harm.