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

California Food Handler Card: Law SB 602 Requires Food Safety Training

Starting in June of 2011, California law SB 602 began to require that all restaurant food handlers take a food safety training course and pass a test. Once the test is passed, they would receive a California Food Handler Card. The questions that beg to be asked are: How many restaurant owners know about this law? How many restaurant “food handlers” have these cards? The answer is not very many.

California Food Handler Card

Food handlers in California restaurants are required by law to have a California Food Handler Card


In case if you didn’t know, here is an overview:

In California, people who prepare, serve, or store food for a restaurant are required to have a California Food Handler Card. Within 30 days of being hired, a food handler must take a certified food safety course and pass a test with a score of 70% or higher.

The law does not apply to food handlers in Riverside, San Bernardino, or San Diego counties, but the cards are required in the rest of the state of California. The counties mentioned above have more specific laws regarding this issue.

Once the employee receives the card, they are to make a copy of the card and give it to the employer. In turn, the employer is required to keep records of all employees and ensure their cards are up to date. This is required by law.

Health inspectors enforce the law and they will ask for the records during an inspection.

For the fill text of SB 602, click here.

The classes are inexpensive, the law says that there must be at least one course that costs no more than $15, and the law caps fees at $60 for testing and certificate to ensure affordability for food handlers. The law does not specify if the employer or employee is responsible for the cost of testing and food safety certification.

Apparently, there is another bill in the works, SB 303, that will clarify the message of the first bill.

Stay tuned. If you want to receive updates on the subject, sign up for our RSS feed.

US Department of Labor Sues Subway Restaurant Franchise over Wage and Hour Law Violations

February 6, 2012: According to a press release from the US Department of Labor, a Subway franchise in Ohio owned by Hray Enterprises has been sued for back wages of 68 employees in 5 restaurants. The owners Joseph Hray and Tammy Hray were investigated by the Wage and Hour Division and are alleged to have violated minimum wage, overtime, and child labor laws.

The two-year investigation found that the franchisee did not pay employees for the hours they worked after the store closed (overtime violations) and employees were docked wages when their cash registers were short, (minimum wage violations). Most seriously, minors were found performing dangerous tasks that are prohibited by child labor and OSHA laws.

Workers under the age of 18 have special restrictions about operating hazardous machinery in the workplace. Restaurants have special OSHA regulations about teen workers. Minors are prohibited from operating or loading balers and trash compactors, and five of the employees regularly had to do so as part of their duties.

According to the press release, “employers may make wage deductions for cash register shortages, certain uniforms and food; however, the deductions cannot result in an employee earning less than the minimum wage for all hours worked in every workweek.” In this case, the wages that were deducted lowered the rate of pay as to fall below the allowable amount. Additionally, the overtime work should have been paid at a rate of time and a half to comply with federal laws.

This year, 6 out of 10 restaurants in California will be sued by their employees. Inspections are increasing and wage and hour laws are becoming more complicated. Many employers are not aware of the laws or have difficulty understanding how to comply with them.

This is where Invensure can help. Because we specialize in insuring restaurants in Southern California, it is our job to advise you how to minimize your liability. A good Employment Practices Liability insurance (EPLI) policy could help to recover some of the financial damages from an employee lawsuit.

Are you protected? Call (800) 331-4700 to learn more.

Restaurant Server Allowed Workers’ Compensation Although Positive for Drugs

In the news this morning, Feb. 3, 2012, Business Insurance.com announced the results of a court finding regarding this case.

The court case, Deloris K. Stenson vs. Pat’s of Henderson Seafood, originated in 2008. Ms. Stenson tripped over a box of potatoes in the food prep area and broke her wrist. She went to the emergency room for the injury, and while she was there, they tested her for drugs.

Workers Compensation Claims can be expensive to an employer. Do you know how to prevent them?

Workers Compensation Claims can be expensive to an employer. Do you know how to prevent them?


Because the test result was positive for Xanax and marijuana, her insurer and the employer only paid for the emergency room bill and denied all other benefits.

However in court, the judge determined that the accident was not caused by intoxication. Ms. Stenson was awarded all temporary disability benefits and medical care.

Here is some of how the court determined their decision:

“Based on the testimony that Stenson had performed her job all morning without complaints from the customers or any other staff members and that she had smoked marijuana four days prior to the accident, not on the day of the accident, we cannot say that the WCJ was manifestly erroneous in finding that Stenson had overcome the presumption of intoxication,” according to the appeals court.

“Furthermore, we agree with the workers comp judge that the accident was not of the nature that any intoxication was a contributing cause,” the appeals court continued. “Boxes of potatoes were left on the floor in front of the microwave in the ‘prep area’ where Stenson and other employees were required to go in the course of their duties. No one testified that Stenson appeared intoxicated at the time of the accident. Thus, the judge’s findings are supported by the record.”

Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court: A case study for wage hour laws and employment practices liability insurance

Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court is a high profile case that will set the standards for wage and hour law. While the outcome of the case may benefit numerous employers by clarifying the gray areas of California wage and hour laws, Brinker Restaurant Corp. has been through a nightmare with the class action lawsuit that has been dragging on for years.

Protect your restaurant from lawsuits related to Employment Practices Liability

Protect your restaurant from lawsuits related to Employment Practices Liability

What if this were you?

Brinker Restaurant Corp is no small employer. Best known for its franchise brands, Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant, Brinker has more than 1,500 restaurants in 32 countries worldwide, and employs over 10,000 people.

Hopefully Brinker’s international success can afford it the lawyers it needs to keep this 3-year case going. The outcome of this lawsuit will clarify the issue of what exactly is an employer’s obligation to provide meal periods to non-exempt employees.

Even though Brinker can afford a team of lawyers and Human Resources specialists, its knowledge of wage and hour law was still fuzzy enough for them to be faced with a class action lawsuit.

The case stems from a law that states, “no employer shall employ any person for a work period of more than five (5) hours without a meal break of not less than 30 minutes . . . .”

Brinker, like many employers, interpreted this to mean employees who work more than 5 hours get a meal period and employees who work more than 10 hours get a second meal period. However, the plaintiffs in the case argue that an employee who works over 5 hours is entitled to a second meal period, and if the employer did not provide one, the employee should be entitled to a one-hour penalty.

Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011

Fuzzy interpretations of the law is the reality in California. Wage and hour laws are numerous, complicated and ever changing. For the very reason that most employers are not legal experts, 6 out of 10 restaurant owners will face employee lawsuits this year.

Scary, isn’t it?

So what can you do to protect yourself and your restaurant?

The cost of a lawsuit is very high, and we don’t want to even imagine what Brinker’s costs are for the past 3 years of legal defense. An average restaurant owner faced with these types of charges would have to file for bankruptcy.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) provides protection from claims against employees, former employees, and potential employees. It covers discrimination, sexual harassment, and other legal action that arises from employment practices.

You should get an EPLI policy as soon as you intend on hiring an employee. Your restaurant can be vulnerable starting with the pre-hiring process, so it is best not to take the risk. Also, most investors and directors require it since they can be held liable in these types of suits.

If you would like to learn more about Employment Practices Liability Insurance for your restaurant in California, call (800) 331-4700 and ask to speak to our restaurant specialist.

Invensure is here to help. We will help protect you from employee lawsuits, and hopefully you can avoid a nightmare like the Brinker Restaurant Corp. is going through. Call now.

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.

Restaurant Safety Tips to Lower your Workers’ Compensation Premiums

There are certain types of injuries that are common to restaurants and the food industry. If someone is injured and Workers’ Compensation Insurance handles the claim, the cost of your premium may go up.

In order to keep your Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums as low as possible, it is a good idea to develop a safety plan for your restaurant and train all employees in safe practices.

Here are some common injuries in restaurants and what you can do to prevent them.

Preventing slips, trips, and falls.

  • Mop up spills right away
  • Clean up dropped ice immediately
  • Put caution signs on wet floors
  • Put non-slip matting in areas that are constantly wet
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes

Rushing around in a busy restaurant can lead to avoidable accidents.

  • Slow down when you are entering swinging doors
  • Be extra careful around blind corners
  • Windows in doors, carefully placed mirrors, and a system to announce “coming in” or “coming out” can prevent unnecessary collisions
  • Keep walkways clear at all times
  • Don’t carry too many items that may block your view.

Burns are very common in the restaurant business.

  • Carry hot plates with trays, hot pads, or dry cloths
  • Provide safety training for hot beverage machines and other heated equipment

Cuts from sharp objects can be prevented.

  • Clean up broken dishes with a broom immediately. Do not use your hands
  • Be careful while washing dishes, there may be broken glassware or knives hidden beneath objects
  • Train employees to NEVER leave knives or broken glasses in the sink

Strains and sprains can be prevented by following some ergonomic advice and never overloading yourself.

  • Making multiple trips instead of carrying everything at one time
  • Carry heavy loads at waist height
  • Carry full coffee pots and pitchers with two hands
  • Hold heavy objects close to your body a with straight wrists
  • Don’t reach too far. Walk around the table to serve and keep commonly used items off the top shelf
  • Use neutral posture and vary your positions and tasks frequently.
  • Stretch and briefly rest every 15-20 minutes

Preventing violence in the workplace.

  • Learn how to handle customers and complaints calmly
  • Keep the cash register closed
  • Limit cash in the restaurant
  • Keep back doors closed and locked at all times
  • Develop and train employees in a safety action plan for robberies or violence

By implementing a good safety program, you can lower your Workers’ Compensation rates. If you have any questions, speak to an industry insurance specialist at (949) 756-4100.