Sheffer Insurance

Bar & Restaurant Risk Managment

Are you prepared for a health inspection?

Failing a health inspection could ruin the good reputation you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Our inspection preparation materials take the guesswork out of the inspection process, helping you pass your next inspection with flying colors.

Do your employees follow proper food service safety practices?

Our employee-facing posters and training materials are available in both English and Spanish, and will educate your employees on proper food safety practices, such as preventing foodborne illness, knife safety and more. We even have an employee safety manual designed specifically for the restaurant industry.

What are you doing to manage potential liabilities?

From slips and falls to kitchen fires to (over)serving liquor, our risk management resources will help you identify and mitigate the unique risks facing the hospitality industry.


Sheffer Insurance can help identify and provide solutions to the unique requirements and exposures for restaurants, bars, and their owners. We have a risk management platform for you and your industry to help you manage risk and reduce insurance costs. We passionately work with a range of entities including: restaurants, wineries, breweries, bars, and taverns.


Sheffer Insights

Property exposures are from any cooking operations conducted on the premises. Cooking may be limited to microwave and toaster ovens. If there are grills and deep fat fryers, these must have automatic fire extinguishing protection, hoods and filters. The kitchen must be kept clean and grease free to prevent fire spread. Alcoholic beverages are susceptible to damage from heat and smoke. A small fire can become a total loss if the FDA condemns stock due to potential contamination. Where legally permitted, many clubs continue to permit customer and employee smoking. The proper disposal of cigarettes butts as part of the closing procedure is vital to prevent fire from smoldering ashes or butts. Theft can be a major concern if liquor and tobacco products are on premises. Liquor should be stored in areas inaccessible to members and guests. If food is served, spoilage can result from power outages.

Equipment breakdown exposures can be high because operations are generally dependent on refrigeration equipment.

Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty and money and securities due to the high amounts of alcohol and tobacco products. Criminal background checks should be conducted on any employee handling money. Employee dishonesty normally centers on the stock rather than the money. The sale of lottery tickets or other gambling devices presents another major temptation for employees. Clubs often do not have large cash on hand because many members pay monthly tabs. If there is cash on hand, drawers should be regularly stripped and moved to a safe away from the front of the store. Irregular drops during busy evenings are helpful in preventing a large buildup of cash. Closing time is the most vulnerable time, so security procedures should be in place to prevent hold ups.

Inland marine exposures can include accounts receivables if members are permitted to pay bills monthly, bailees customers if coat check or locker facilities are provided, computers for tracking inventories, musical instrument floater if equipment is kept for use on the premises and valuable papers and records for membership and supply documents.

Premises liability exposures are high due to member and guest access to the premises and the serving of alcoholic beverages, which can impair motor abilities and increase the likelihood of trips, slips or falls. Spilled drinks should be cleaned up promptly. Floor coverings must be in good condition with no frayed or worn spots on carpet and no cracks or holes in flooring. Dance floors must be clean and free of debris. Because lighting may be subdued, changes of elevation should be highlighted. All fire exits should be plainly visible from any part of the premises, and kept unlocked from the inside during business hours. Chairs, particularly bar stools, should be regularly checked for cracks and fatigue. Members and their guests must not be permitted to climb on top of chairs, stools, bars or tables. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair, with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slip and falls. Outdoor security and lighting must be consistent with the area. Members or guests may carry weapons onto the premises. Employees should be trained in dealing with unruly or impaired members or guests to prevent violence. Personal injury exposures include bouncers escorting a patron out of the premises. Any bouncer activity should be documented and witnessed in case of future lawsuits.

Club halls are often used for receptions, parties and other special events. There must be a very clear contract available spelling out responsibilities of the lessees, especially regarding the liquor liability and premises maintenance during the events. If outside caterers are permitted, there must be separate contracts for their services.

Liquor liability exposure depends on the amount and type of alcohol served and the adherence to strict policies on who can be served and how much they can be served. Failure to comply with state and federal regulations can result in the loss of a liquor permit which will close the business. Handling of unruly or demanding customers can be difficult as these are generally members of the clubs or their guests. The club must have clear guidelines so that employees can properly deal with problem situations quickly. There must be a set procedure to check ages of all who enter any area serving alcoholic beverages. All employees who serve liquor to customers must be trained in recognizing signs of intoxication. A procedure should be in place to deny serving intoxicated patrons. Programs that encourage designated drivers or offer free taxi service can be useful.

Automobile exposure is generally limited to hired or nonownership from employees using their vehicles to run errands.

Workers compensation exposures come from slips, falls, cuts, burns and heavy and awkward lifting, along with interactions with rowdy members. The employees in many clubs tend to be minimum wage and turnover may be high. Well-trained employees with an incentive to do their best and who have clear direction will have the fewest injuries. Company incentives to encourage long-term employment are positive signs of management control. Hold-ups are possible so employees should be trained to respond in a prescribed manner. Coverage for volunteers should be considered because members may provide employee-type services.

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