Approaching Risk as a Bar & Restaurant Owner


If you’re running a bar or restaurant, or perhaps you own a chain of them, there are many risks that you need to consider when operating your premises. And when operating a business that is frequented by the public and operated by busy workers, having insurance can protect you financially if any risks do develop into something tangible. So what are the common risks that you can face as a restaurant or bar owner, and how can an insurance broker like Full Time Cover help with this?

Slips, Trips and Falls


It’s likely that at some point, someone will fall over in your premises, be it a worker or a member of the public, but there are many steps you can take to manage and mitigate the risk of that happening.


At the front of house this can be through ensuring that any spills are cleaned up in a timely manner, wet floor signs are put out, hazardous steps are clearly marked and the flooring is in a good safe condition.


For bars, one key aspect to look out for is a cellar hatch, if you have one. If not properly checked and operated, it can become a big hazard and essentially become a hole in the floor. Cellar hatches should be properly maintained and used infrequently if possible, with it being well-lit, never left open unattended and in an area with minimal footfall.


At the back of house, this can include putting anti-skid rubber mats near sinks, dishwashers and stoves; and using separate mops and buckets to the front of house to ensure the grease from kitchen spills isn’t brought into the front of house.



If you run a kitchen with ovens and stoves operating at a high temperature, the risk is always present that a member of staff could burn themselves on an appliance. In order to control these risks, staff should be trained in correct operating and handling procedures, with heat-resistant clothing provided by the employer. And if a burn does occur, staff should know how to treat a burn, i.e. running the burn under a cool tap and loosely wrapping in a gauze bandage.


If serving hot food and drink, this is a risk that you’ll also have to consider for your customers. In order for food and drink not to burn or scald them, precautions should be taken to ensure that what they’re being served isn’t too hot, and when there is a risk that your customers are adequately warned about the temperature of the food or drink and the receptacle it’s in.

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Whilst fires aren’t exclusive risks to restaurants, the risks can be exacerbated in restaurants, especially if you’re cooking food with open flames. Fire risks should be minimised by cleaning out ducting, having electrical appliances tested (no matter how small), not over using oils and flammable ingredients and that exit routes are free from refuse.

And even if you’re operating a bar, care should be taken around flammable liquids such as spirits, especially if you serve flaming shots like sambuca or vodka. General care should also be taken when it comes to managing risks and carrying out risk assessments, as if a fire gets to your supply of spirits it can hugely accelerate the fire and cause even more damage.

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