If you have ever been to a restaurant, you have possibly heard your server say be careful, the plate is hot. They are doing it, first, to protect you. If you eat something too hot, you could burn yourself in severe ways. They’re also likely doing it, in a way, to protect themselves and their employer. If you are a restaurant owner, you understand this. A customer who gets burned is likely a dissatisfied customer, and they might claim restitution from your business. You probably have insurance to help should such instances arise. However, your first goal should be to prevent burns from occurring. Consider some of the essential steps to take.
Burn Risks in Restaurants
When people come to your restaurant, they want a hot meal. But that’s to say that they want a reasonably warmed and served meal. They do not want to experience a burn when eating your soup, touching your plates or drinking your coffee. That’s why you should strive to prevent burns from occurring. Within your restaurant, burn risks might arise from:
- Spills of hot liquids
- Hot food that has just come off the stove
- Plates heated in warmers or ovens (that are then filled with hot food)
- Warming plates used to keep coffee or buffet items hot
- Candles on tables
- Fires caused by certain exotic dishes (like Baked Alaska flambe)
- Exposed radiators and heaters throughout the business
If someone does get burned, then the business might actually be liable for their losses. Yes, on one hand, it was someone’s choice to take a bite out of hot food. However, they may not have realized that the food was quite as hot as it was. And it almost certainly is not the client’s fault if a server accidentally spills hot coffee in their lap.
In these and so many other situations, the results of injuries might be extremely painful, costly and even debilitating to the victims. As a result, they might hold the restaurant responsible for their losses. They could decide to sue as a result.
If you have commercial liability insurance, the policy will likely contain a section of coverage that applies to bodily injuries. This means that, should a client get burned, the liability policy might provide a settlement to help them with the costs of recovery. Furthermore, should the party decide to sue you, then coverage can assist your restaurant with its legal costs.
Preventing Burn Risks in Services
All in all, liability insurance can help both the restaurant and affected parties recover from the devastating costs that might arise from burn risks. However, it’s better to prevent burns in the first place. If you have a lot of claims for burn liabilities, your insurance premiums might rise as a result. Furthermore, the business’s reputation could suffer to the point that it fails.
So, what can you do to prevent burn risks throughout your services?
- Keep open flames shielded. From gas flame heaters to candles on tables, place covers around the items. Never let a candle burn openly.
- Place warning signs near burn risks. For example, place a note near hot plates that they will remain hot for a considerable time even after they are turned off.
- One of the best ways to protect clients is to warn them if food or plates are hot. If the steam doesn’t show them, then a friendly warning by their server should.
- Ensure that your staff knows how to handle hot items. For example, ensure they can always balance trays of steaming food, or remind them not to pour coffee without moving it close to the pot. Remind them to place pot holders on hot dishes, if necessary.
- Don’t allow customers to handle hot items themselves.
If a burn does occur, immediately get the client the medical help they might need. Afterwards, follow up with them to offer assistance if necessary. Should the accident escalate into a lawsuit or liability claim, don’t hesitate to contact your agent to determine the right course of action.