However, because they have so many visitors every day and because they serve food, it’s especially important for restaurants to provide as safe and as healthy an environment as possible. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a restaurant and harm a visitor, and even if your insurance covers premises liability, you’re sure to start paying higher premiums afterwards.
Only Hire Trained Chefs
The very first thing a chef in training learns is how to handle meat and other potentially contaminated foods safely and without adding any germs of his or her own. It’s very important for your chefs to know things like what temperature beef needs to reach to be safe to eat versus meats like pork and chicken because food poisoning doesn’t just threaten your bottom line, it threatens your restaurant license.
Be Careful When You Clean
Dirty tables and floors are unprofessional, but while it may knock a star off a Yelp review, no one is going to sue you because there are a few crumbs left on the table (and if someone does, his or her case will be swiftly thrown out of court). On the other hand, wet spots on a tile floor can be slippery, and if you do any mopping during business hours you need to make sure you set the appropriate warning signs to avoid liability.
You should also choose your table cleaning fluid carefully, because if someone sits at a recently cleaned table it may still be wet. Some fluids that are fine for cleaning wood or plastic may stain sleeves that come to rest on the table, and whatever you use should at least be safe enough to not cause problems if a customer puts his or her fork on a wet spot.
Be Very Careful With Heat Sources
Whether it’s boiling water, hot soup, buffet burners, or just a plate that’s too hot to safely touch, the fact is that a place that serves hot food and drinks is going to have a lot of different ways for guests to potentially burn themselves. The classic cautionary example is Liebeck v McDonald’s, the case about a 79-year-old woman who received third-degree burns from a spilled McDonald’s coffee. Coffee and tea are still widely served at boiling or near-boiling temperatures, and while you probably won’t be held responsible if your guest spills his or her own coffee, you will certainly be held accountable if one of your servers makes that mistake.
Be Ready To Comp Meals
Often enough, all an irritated customer really wants is an apology and a free meal. Even if you or one of your employees made a major misstep, providing these two things together can very often prevent a situation from escalating into litigation.
Like any other public building, restaurants have a duty to make sure their guests remain healthy and safe while they are on the business’s premises. Restaurants feature more hazards than most other businesses, however, so it pays to stay on top of any potential problems.