OSHA Compliance & Safety Checklists for Restaurants

It is exciting to announce that we have completed our restaurant safety and OSHA compliance checklists and are now offering this program to our clients.

Safety Checklist for California Restaurant Insurance ProgramWe don’t just quote insurance and this is proof. What we provide is a valuable service that is beyond what other local insurance brokers do.

Just last week we did an OSHA compliance review with one of our restaurant owners and found violations that would have cost him $11,800 in fines if an inspector came in. We helped him correct the errors and helped him save $11,800.

Not only did we save him the amount of money a fine would cost him, we also helped reduce his workers’ compensation rates by doing the service as well. Invensure offers a complete, holistic approach to risk management that is more than just insurance.

Not only does Invensure provide the right protection for when somethings, we also help to prevent problems and reduce your overall cost of risk.

If you have questions about how we can help with your restaurant safety and insurance in Southern California, call (800) 331-4700.

Food Safety for Restaurants: How to Prevent Foodborne Illness, Cross Contamination, and Lawsuits

Foodborne illness causes an estimated 47.8 million sicknesses and about 3,000 deaths annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2011, an outbreak of a foodborne illness from Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe took at least 13 lives.

Restaurants and their employees are responsible for the safety of their dishes and the health and safety of their customers.

If someone gets sick from eating food prepared
in your restaurant, you could:

Foodborne illness can be prevented with a food safety program

  • Be sued
  • Be found liable in a lawsuit
  • Be responsible for the medical costs
  • Be responsible for monetary settlements, which have amounted
    to millions of dollars in several wrongful death cases
  • Destroy the reputation of your business
  • Lose your business
  • Have to file bankruptcy

Download a copy of this report

Common causes of foodborne illness

Reasons people become infected is because of bacteria growth, improper food storage, improper food prep hygiene, cross contamination, undercooked meat, and infected prep workers transmitting illness to the consumer.

The CDC estimates that 9.4 million of annual illnesses are caused by 31 known foodborne pathogens, and that 90% of all illnesses due to known pathogens are caused by: Salmonella, norovirus, Campylobacter, Toxoplasma, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria and Clostridium perfringens.

How to prevent food contamination and
foodborne illnesses in your restaurant

It all starts with your supplier

Once food has been contaminated, there is no way to change that. If you purchase produce from a farm and it has e. coli bacteria, you will transmit that to your customers. You could be found liable for serving the tainted food.

Do your homework when choosing your suppliers. Choose reputable distributors and make sure you are receiving good quality, fresh food items. Ask questions about the safety mechanisms they have in place to prevent contamination.

Develop a system to quickly identify all inventory from a particular supplier, so if one supplier has a recall, you can quickly deal with it and keep business moving at the same time.

Keep cold foods cold until ready to use
You must keep frozen food frozen and cold food below 41 degrees through the transportation and storage process. If food that needs refrigeration is left above 41 degrees for more than four hours, there is a high risk of foodborne illness caused by bacterial growth.

Make sure your suppliers follow the cold chain and once the items are in your facility, use strict measures to ensure they are refrigerated immediately and all fridges and freezers are operating at the proper temperatures. The less time foods are at temperatures above 41 degrees, the less opportunity for bacteria to grow.

Foods must be cooked to proper temperatures

Safe food temperatures to prevent harmful bacteria growth and foodborne illness

This is a general guide to safe food temperatures to prevent harmful bacteria growth and foodborne illness

Always use a meat thermometer to make sure that food has been cooked to a safe temperature. Food that does not reach a safe temperature can allow bacteria to breed and cause illness.
Put the thermometer into the thickest part of the cut to make sure it has cooked all the way through. Do not allow it to touch the bone as this will give an incorrect temperature. The temperatures on this chart must be maintained for at least 15 seconds to kill harmful bacteria.

About microwave cooking

Microwaves tend to cook food unevenly. Stir food while it is cooking and leave it covered for two minutes after it is done. This will ensure the even distribution of heat to destroy bacteria in colder spots.

Cross-contamination is the leading cause of foodborne illness

Cross contamination occurs when bacteria is transferred from one food item to another via work surface, improper storage, thawing, preparation, or the cooking process.

  • Use separate knives for poultry, meats, and produce.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meats, poultry, and produce.
  • Never put cooked food onto a plate or tray that has
    been used for raw foods.
  • Use high heat for sterilization when washing dishes that have come in contact with raw foods.
  • Wash all foods well before preparing.
  • Wash hands with anti-bacterial soap frequently during the cooking process. Do not handle coked food after handling raw food without washing hands first or changing gloves.
  • Do not use the same utensils for cooked and raw foods.

Employee food safety training is the law in California

Washing hands can help prevent cross contaminationAll your employees need to get their California Food Handler Cards. Not only is it the law in California as of January 1, 2012, it is an essential overview of food safety and a good learning opportunity for employees new to the industry or younger workers.

Once employees are trained and have their cards, there is no excuse for them not working in the safest, cleanest manner possible. Make sure your employees know that food safety is a priority in your restaurant and quality standards must be maintained at all times.

How to protect yourself when all else fails

Even the most careful food suppliers, chefs, and restaurants can still have instances of food contamination and resulting illness. You can do everything in your power to run a clean, safe kitchen, but there is always the chance that something outside of your control can happen.

Work with an expert to get a good restaurant insurance policy that is tailored to your facility. It is important to work with someone who knows the industry well and understands how your restaurant is unique. A restaurant insurance specialist can help identify the risks and advise the best protection for your situation.

Restaurant insurance coverages that can help protect you

Food contamination coverage: Covers you financially in the event of food poisoning or communicable diseases transmitted by an employee.

Food product liability coverage: If you are producing goods for sale, this can protect you in the event that your food product causes harm to the user.

Food spoilage coverage:
If your refrigeration breaks down or your power goes out, the spoil food can be replaced if you have this coverage.

Food product recall coverage: If the food products you sell are recalled, your expenses that result will be covered, such as the cost to notify consumers, shipping and disposal of the product, refunding the customer, and more.

If you have questions or need assistance,
restaurant insurance experts are here to help.
Call (800) 331-4700

Why Food Product Liability Insurance Coverage Will Save Your Food Business from Bankruptcy

If you want to protect your food business from the financial damage of a lawsuit, food product liability insurance is essential. Food can easily spoil or become contaminated at many points through its life cycle. From being contaminated at the farm where it grows (as in recent e. coli outbreaks), to its storage, transportation, manufacture, and preparation there are multiple points of contact where a problem can occur.

Food Product Liability Insurance Can Save Your Business if You are Sued

You can use all the care in the world in your process, but if food you receive is contaminated with bacteria, you could be held liable if someone gets sick.

Even when food safety and hygiene is a priority in the operations of your business, there is always a chance for an error that can expose you to a lawsuit. Even if you do everything right, you could receive a shipment of contaminated food and pass on that on to a consumer, in which case you may be liable, even if you did nothing wrong.

Common bacteria that cause foodborn illness are e. coli, listeria, mad cow disease, and salmonella. If the food is not refrigerated or processed properly, the end product can cause illness or even death to those who consume it.

Food labeling is also another serious issue that can lead to lawsuits if it is not done properly. Not only can the food company be sued for improper labeling or mislabeling, the organizations using those food products can be liable for lawsuits as well.

Many people suffer from food allergies, and can become seriously ill or even die if they eat the wrong thing. Common food allergies include: peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, lactose, and wheat gluten. If food is not labeled properly, such as “processed in a plant that contains peanuts,” a lawsuit can ensue.

If a food manufacturer, farm, or restaurant causes a consumer to become ill, they can be sued and be held liable. The cost of legal defense is extremely high, and monetary rewards or settlements out of court can be astronomical. Food product liability insurance will cover costs of a lawsuit, and protect the financial well being of the company sued.

Invensure has experts on staff that can help you determine what amount of coverage you need. We have been serving Southern California for over 35 years, and have agents who work exclusively with restaurants, food manufacturers, and distributors.

Call today to learn more. (800) 331-4700

How to Increase Your Restaurant’s Profitability with a Good Prevention Plan

Attention all Restaurant Owners and Managers:
Increase Your Restaurant’s Profitability with a Good Prevention Plan

Running a successful restaurant is a balancing act of hiring the right employees, keeping a consistent supply of quality, fresh food, and drawing a steady crowd of hungry customers. Aside from the obvious, there are additional items you can adjust in your operations to help increase your profits.

Review Your Fixed Expenses
It may seem that you have less control over these items, but it may be more important to your bottom line than you think. In the arena of litigation, risk management, safety, and insurance expenses, you have a lot of control and your diligence and actions can make the difference between a profitable restaurant and a bankrupt one.

Beware the Salad BarSalad bars are a liability and result in higher restaurant insurance premiums
While many customers may compliment the variety and freshness of the items in your salad bar, you should be aware that your salad bar is a huge liability. Thousands of slip and fall accidents occur every year because of salad bars and some result in lawsuits and higher insurance premiums.

Slip and fall accidents are the number one cause of accidents in restaurants and the number two cause of workers’ compensation liability claims. Most slip and fall accidents are easily preventable when proper procedures are in place.

If you don’t want a customer to take a header in your establishment and sue you for their injuries, reconsider the salad bar. If it must stay, implement strict employee procedures to monitor the area and keep the floors around it debris free and dry at all times. Install non-slip mats or surfaces. Those tomato slices may look beautiful on a plate, but when a customer slips on one and sues, you are the one who will be seeing red.

Employee Safety Training Pays For Itself

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “for every $1 spent in safety programs, businesses can save between $4 to $6 from costs associated with injuries and fatalities.”

Because the cost of your workers’ compensation rate is directly affected by the number and severity of claims, a good safety program is the first step in lowering the cost of your workers compensation premium. One out of 20 employment related injuries occur at eating and drinking establishments, and the most common injuries are cuts, burns, strains, and eye injuries.

Make sure all employees are trained in the proper safety measures of handling knives and power equipment. Make sure equipment is in good working order and properly guarded.

Save on Restaurant Insurance with Fire Prevention Measures
Restaurants have a high risk of firesThere are thousands of restaurant fires each year, and cooking equipment is the cause of half of all fires in restaurants. Restaurant fires are particularly dangerous because the number of patrons and workers who are exposed to potential fire danger.

Insurance companies are well aware of the risk fire imposes in restaurants, but did you know that you will get better rates if you comply with certain safety measures? A sprinkler system will help decrease the amount you pay for fire insurance as well as reduce damage when it’s really needed. The average loss for a fire with a sprinkler system was $6,500, compared to $18,800 for those without a automatic suppression system, according to NFPA Fire Analysis and Research.

Maintain a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule in your kitchen. Some carriers will give you credit for regular maintenance, cleaning and/or removing grease from your hoods, flues and chimneys because it helps to prevent fires.

Additionally, when considering fire safety, keep fire extinguishers charged and accessible, and make sure employees are trained how to use them.

Your Location is a Factor in Saving as Well as Making Money

Anyone who has studied business understands how important location is to the success of a business, but did you know your neighbors have an influence on your insurance premium? If your restaurant is near a business with potential hazards, such as a woodworking or chemical facility, your insurance will be higher than if you have general offices nearby. Choose your location wisely.

The Moral of the Story
Finding ways to save on your fixed expenses can help increase your bottom line. A good prevention plan that includes safety measures can not only reduce the cost of your insurance premium, it can also prevent problems and increase employee morale. Implement a good prevention plan that includes keeping your establishment clean and tidy, training employees in safety, and keeping your fire protection up to code, you are on the way to an accident-free workplace with low restaurant insurance rates!

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Invensure offers specialty insurance and safety services for restaurants.

Call (800) 331-4700 to sign up or learn more about the restaurant insurance program.

California Restaurant Fined $239,000 in Wage Theft Violations

A restaurant in San Francisco had to pay 14 employees more than $239,000 for wage theft violations, according to the California Labor Commissioner.

According to California law, employees who work more than eight hours in a day are required to be paid 1.5 times their normal pay rate for the first four hours over eight, and double time after 12 hours in a day. An employee who works more than 40 hours in a week is entitled to receive 1.5 times their normal pay rate for any hours over 40.

However, in the case of the Big Lantern restaurant, employees did not receive overtime pay and some salaried employees did not even receive minimum wage after working overtime, according to attorney David Balter.

Underpaying workers is a large problem in the restaurant industry, and the labor commissioner is getting tougher on restaurants in general. To protect yourself as a restaurant owner, you should get Employment Practices Liability Insurance.

If you are in Southern California, call the restaurant specialists at Invensure to learn more: (949) 756-4100.

How much is Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Restaurants in California?

A lot of people search the internet trying to get an idea of how much restaurant insurance is in California. However, there is really no way you can get a solid number (or even a good estimate!) just by looking online. There is no “average cost” because there are simply too many variables involved.

Factors Involved in the Cost of Workers’ Compensation for a Restaurant in California:

1. What is the amount of your payroll?
2. Have you had any claims? How severe were those claims?
3. Have you been continuously insured? Has your coverage lapsed?
4. Was your Unit Statistical Filing done correctly? Are there errors?
5. What is your experience modification factor?
6. What is your class code?
7. When is your normal anniversary date?

You really need to speak to an agent who has a lot of experience with restaurant insurance. They will ask you a lot of questions, look up the technical factors, speak to underwriters, and finally do the calculations for you. If you don’t go through all of these steps you will get a wide range of numbers that do not apply to your business.

Workers’ Compensation premiums are also affected by a complex formula that looks like this:

Modification =[(Ap x Cp) + (Ep x (1 – Cp))] + [(Ae x Ce) + (Ee x (1 –Ce))] / E

An average Experience Modification (Ex-Mod) is 100. However, if you have had claims it may be higher. If you have a long history with few claims, it will be lower. You get a credit toward your Workers’ Compensation premium if you have a lower ex-mod, and that credit is determined by the number. You will pay extra if your experience modification is higher than 100.

Just to show you how you cannot get a good estimate without actually having an agent submit it, here is an example:

With a payroll of 1,000,000, class code only for a Restaurant/Tavern, and anniversary date of 10/10/2012, and an average ex-mod of 100 (also displayed as 1), the range estimate could be anywhere between $17,700 to $85,900! Because there are so many other factors that help determine your Workers’ Compensation premium, the only way to get an accurate number is to hire an agent to work for you.

Once you hire an agent, they will get the information you need in order to get an accurate quote. They will check to make sure there are no errors in your formula that could result in higher premiums. Finally, they will advise you of additional ways that you can possibly lower your premiums.

Invensure has a restaurant insurance expert who can help you determine exactly what you will need. If you have a restaurant in Southern California, call (949) 756-4100.

Restaurant Business Insurance: A Basic Outline of Coverage

Restaurant business insurance is so specific that you could be leaving yourself liable for thousands of dollars in damage if you do not work with an agent who specializes in insuring restaurants. Many owners are either too busy or unfamiliar with insurance they do not know how important this is.

Recently, we handled a case where a restaurant owner got his business insurance through a family friend. In an effort to save the owner money, the agent dropped a few vital coverages during the renewal. There were two incidents when the owner had to contact the insurance company because of a loss. Imagine the owner’s surprise when he found out that he was not covered and had to shell out over $100,000!

Restaurant Business Insurance: Most important, work with a specialist!
We cannot stress enough how important it is to work with a qualified agent who is experienced in working with restaurants. Call (949) 756-4100 and ask for our restaurant business insurance specialist.

In the meantime, here is some helpful information about restaurant business insurance. This is by no means a complete list and there are many exceptions and nuances to the brief descriptions supplied below. Your restaurant business insurance specialist can help advise what limits you need and which coverages apply to your restaurant specifically.

Insurance Specific to Restaurants and Food
Several types of insurance coverages are made specifically for the food industry. Depending on the type of restaurant you have and the volume you sell, your insurance agent will help you get the appropriate coverage:

  • Food Product Liability – Protects you in the event that your food causes injury to the user.
  • Food Spoilage Coverage – Covers you in the event that your refrigeration equipment breaks down and you lose your food as a result.
  • Food Contamination Coverage – Covers you in the event of food poisoning or communicable diseases transmitted by an employee.
  • Food Product Recall Coverage – If you sell food products and they are recalled, your expenses are covered.
  • Equipment Breakdown Coverage – If your pizza oven (for example) goes on the fritz and you lose business as a result, this is how you are covered for your loss. Similar to:
  • Business Interruption Coverage

Only a qualified agent can help you determine exactly which policies you need to help protect your business.

Insurance for the Restaurant Building
Like other business insurance policies, you will need insurance coverage for your property.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Even if you only have one employee, in California you are required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Valet Coverage – If your restaurant has a valet service, this protects the customers.

Liquor Liability – An absolute necessity if you serve alcohol.

Bailee Coverage – Protects your customers’ property.

Cyber Crime Insurance – If your restaurant offers online ordering with credit card transactions or payment by smartphone, you would need this.

Crime Insurance – To protect yourself from employee theft, among others.

Non-owned & Hired Auto – Do you have delivery drivers? If so this coverage will protect your business in the event they cause an accident on the job.

Employment Liability Practices Insurance (EPLI)
In California, about 60% of restaurant owners face employee lawsuits. California has complicated wage and hour laws and the hours that restaurant employees work is unpredictable and hard to control. Restaurant owners need this coverage to protect themselves financially in the event of a lawsuit.

Only Work with a Restaurant Business Insurance Specialist
You want someone who thoroughly understands the restaurant business. Make sure you only work with an agent who has years of experience in your industry.

Invensure specializes restaurant business insurance for Southern California. Call us if you have any questions or if you would like a no-obligation quote.

Call (800) 331-4700

How Much Does Restaurant Insurance Cost? Restaurant Business Insurance

When new restaurant owners start out, they are always concerned about the cost of business insurance for their restaurant. You may be asking the question, how much does restaurant insurance cost?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Every business is different and so is every restaurant. Insurance is as individual as the business it covers, and only a qualified agent who specializes in restaurant insurance can give you an actual number after they have thoroughly reviewed the operation.

There are many factors that go into the cost of restaurant insurance. To list a few:

1. What are the annual gross receipts?
2. Is alcohol served on the premises?
3. Does the restaurant offer delivery services?
4. What about catering?
5. How large is the building and how is it constructed?
6. Does the restaurant own or lease the building?
7. What type of food is being served?
8. Are there special cooking methods that could be a risk factor, such as table top cooking?
9. Has the restaurant had any claims?
10. How many employees work there?
11. How long has the restaurant been in business?
12. What kind of risk management and safety programs are in place?

These are just a few items that determine the cost of your restaurant insurance. If you would like an accurate quote, please call our restaurant insurance specialists at (949) 756-4100.

Invensure is located in Orange County, CA and insures restaurants in Southern California.

Restaurant Business Insurance

Restaurant business insurance is a lot like insurance for other businesses with the addition of coverages that are specific to the food industry. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that any old insurance agent can help you get the right policy. As a restaurant owner or manager, you should only work with an agent who specializes in restaurant insurance. That way you can be confident that you have the right coverage to protect you financially.

A common problem in the food industry is that restaurant owners go through an insurance broker (or agent) who does not have any food industry experience. They use a friend of the family or some other broker and wind up in a mess of trouble when something goes wrong.

Recently, there was a case where a restaurant owner allowed a general business insurance agent look into policies for them. When it was time to renew, the agent promised them low rates, and managed to lower the premium. The restaurant owner was happy about this until two loss events occurred. When these losses happened and the owner went to the insurance company, it turns out the restaurant was not covered because the agent had dropped the coverages on renewal! An agent with restaurant would have never dropped these coverages, which ended up costing the owner over $100,000!

A few basic things you should know about California Restaurant Business Insurance:

Employment Liability Practices Insurance
In California, about 60% of restaurant owners will face employee lawsuits this year. In the restaurant industry, the hours that wait staff works can be irregular and unpredictable. California has tough wage and hour laws and new rules make them even more confusing. Restaurant owners need Employment Practices Liability Insurance to protect themselves financially against employee lawsuits.

Food Specific Insurance Coverages
Several types of insurance coverages are made specifically for the food industry. Depending on the type of restaurant you have and the volume you sell, your insurance agent will help you get the appropriate coverage:

  • Food Product Liability
  • Food Spoilage Coverage
  • Food Contamination Coverage
  • Food Product Recall Coverage

A qualified agent can help you determine exactly which policies you need to help protect your business.

Insurance for the Restaurant Building and Equipment
Like other business insurance policies, you will need insurance coverage for your building and equipment, as well as

California Workers’ Compensation Insurance
All employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

Other Types of Business Insurance
Business interruption coverage, valet coverage, auto, liquor liability, bailee coverage, and cyber crime insurance policies are just a few of the other products available. Work with your agent to determine which insurance you need for your business.
In sum, speak to an expert who works with restaurants in California for their insurance. You want someone who knows your industry inside and out who can help you best protect your business.

Invensure specializes in insuring restaurants in Southern California. Restaurant business insurance experts are available.
Call (800) 331-4700

How much is Workers’ Compensation Insurance for a Restaurant in California?

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required by law for all businesses in California that have employees, even if they only have one employee.The only exception to this is if the sole owner is the only employee of the business. In this case, Workers’ Compensation is optional.

Failing to have the required amount of Workers’ Compensation insurance can result in heavy fines, penalties, and possibly even jail time.

Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011

The cost of your Workers’ Compensation insurance is dependent on several factors. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, “While the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau… issues recommended rates and carriers must file their rates with the California Department of Insurance, rates can vary from carrier to carrier.”

In addition, your premiums are determined by your industry classification, your history of work related injuries that go into a formula called an experience modification, payroll numbers, underwriting adjustments, and several other factors.

More importantly, more than half of experience modifications have errors, and only a highly trained insurance broker can analyze the data to determine if your information is correct. Invensure has found that on average, those who have mistakes in their experience modifications can save an additional 30% on their insurance premiums after these mistakes have been fixed.

That being said, if you were looking for a simple explanation or a straight number for Workers’ Compensation insurance for your restaurant in California, the only way to get a good number is to contact a licensed insurance agency.

Invensure has a specialized program for restaurants and excels at finding the best coverage for the best price. We work with all the major Work Comp insurance companies so we can get you the best policies at the best rates. We also do a thorough analysis of your Unit Stat filing and the other factors that make up your Ex-mod to make sure your premium is as low as possible.

Call (800) 331-4700 for a no-obligation quote. Our California restaurant insurance specialists are here to help you.