Early risk detection is critical to the success of any business. If you are planning to open a restaurant, you need to scan the risk landscape of the food industry to understand what you are up against in this business.
Getting a foothold on risk detection will help you identify hidden threats, gain vital insights, and lay out plans that will enable you to circumvent any pitfalls. Here’s what you need to know about operational risks for restaurants and how to manage them.
Start by Learning the Common Risks that Restaurants Face
Risks are part of life when it comes to business. In a restaurant, there are a lot of things you need to balance simultaneously for your eatery to stay afloat. You need to find fresh ingredients, have an enticing menu, market your business, provide a conducive environment for your employees, comply with regulations, and keep your clients happy all at the same time. Failure to take a single issue into account can expose you to costly repercussions. Some of the common risks that restaurants encounter include;
- Food Safety Concerns. A foodborne illness outbreak not only causes panic in a restaurant, but it also leads to devastating financial and reputational damage. Food poisoning can occur even in the safest and most professional restaurants. Food poisoning can be caused by different factors, such as the ingredients supplied by a vendor or cross-contamination.
- Food Allergies. Although it may seem like a non-issue, food allergies are a severe problem that can put the future of your business in doubt. Eateries are required to explicitly state the specific ingredients of each dish on the menu. If you fail to mention the parts of a meal and a diner suffers from food poisoning due to one of the components used, you may end up facing a lawsuit.
- Fires. Restaurants face a big risk of fires. Over 5000 restaurants catch fire every year in the US. Regardless of the size of the fire, it poses a threat to your staff, customers, and business. Eateries without a fire protection system and policy are at the highest risk of suffering extensive damage.
- Accidental Injuries. Slips, trips, and falls are substantial risks in a restaurant setting. Water spills, leaking kitchen plumbing, messy floors in the dining area, and wet bathroom floors can cause accidents. Your customer or employee may fall and get hurt, forcing you to compensate them. Other injuries include burns and cuts.
- Customer Data Theft. Hackers are increasingly targeting businesses that accept credit and debit card payments. If any customer data you hold isn’t adequately protected, it may end up in the wrong hands. A data breach will damage your reputation and expose you to penalties and lawsuits.
- Employee Misconduct. As a restaurant owner, you are responsible for your employees’ behavior. If a staff member assaults, harasses, or misbehaves in the workplace, your business could be fined or closed down. If an employee who is in charge of customer records decides to steal some customer’s information and use it to commit fraud, your business may also land in legal trouble.
Risk Management Strategies for Food Businesses
Although risks in your work environment are inevitable, there are measures you can take to prevent these scenarios from playing out and minimize the impact if the event occurs. Before opening your restaurant, you first need to assess all threats that your business could face and then have strategies in place to counter the risks.
Here are some risk management strategies that will help you reduce the chances of an incident occurring.
- Train Your Employees
Employee training is the first step you should take if you want to avoid risks. Training should be continuous, and it should cover; safe food handling, equipment operation, lifting technique, customer service, and how to respond to accidents like fire, burns, and cuts. You should also supply your staff with the right safety gear, loading equipment, first aid kit, and firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers.
- Utilize Technology
If you store any customer data, you need to tap into the latest technology. Utilize the newest security systems, such as antimalware and firewalls. You can also make some tasks more accessible by using restaurant management software.
- Keep Your Restaurant Well-Maintained
Proper facility maintenance will allow you to keep most restaurant accidents at bay. Make sure the kitchen and dining area are always clean and free of clutter, fix any plumbing or electrical problems as soon as they are detected, and maintain all your equipment regularly, including refrigerators and ovens.
- Comply with Health and Safety Regulations
Before establishing your business, study and familiarize yourself with all health and safety codes. These rules cover food handling, food storage, hygiene, and safety equipment. Since regulations vary depending on the region, consult with your local health department.
- Get Insured
The food and beverage industry witnesses a higher rate of accidents. They may be caused by fires or trips and slips. To protect your employees and facility, get the appropriate insurance cover.
For your startup restaurant to succeed, you need to prepare for the worst. Start by assessing all the threats that similar businesses come across and create a risk mitigation plan. With the right strategies, you will never be caught off-guard by an adverse event.