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Insure Your Indian Restaurant

Running an Indian resurants has it's risks!

Hospitality businesses are inherently risky. In a highly competitive market, every business owner is looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. Competition between Indian restaurants in the same niche is at an all-time high with more and more brands venturing into the segment. From fine dining experiences to quick takeaway services, there’s something for every type of eatery.

However, the rise in competition is also resulting in increased operational risks. If you operate an Indian restaurant in the UK, it’s important that you know what these risks are, and have solid insurance cover to safeguard your business against any that could affect your financial future. Here’s what you should keep an eye out for when insuring your establishment:

Damage From Theft & Robbery

The hospitality industry is particularly susceptible to loss from theft and robbery. In order to prevent incidents in the first place, you must be proactive in managing risk. Any theft or robbery incidents should be promptly investigated so that appropriate action can be taken to prevent them from happening again. A thorough incident report should be created detailing the 'who, what, when, and where' of the incident to help law enforcement track down the perpetrator. Business insurance policies can provide coverage for any damage caused by break-in or robbery.

However, it’s important to note that most insurance providers will require you to demonstrate that the damage or theft was the result of a break-in or robbery. Without this it could be difficult to prove that the incident actually took place at all. You will also be expected to take reasonable steps to prevent thefts in the first place.

Business Interruption

The hospitality industry is highly susceptible to sudden disasters. A devastating fire could cause major damage to your premises, leaving you with no option but to close down operations. Similarly, a major flood could cause extensive damage to the building and wipe out your stock. However an absolute disater is not the only thing that could affect you. A road widening scheme, relaying or repair of underground pipes, or even nearby construction work could make it difficult for customes to reach your restaurant, and many would just go elsewhere. And let's not even think about how much damage another epidemic, like the Covid one, could cause.

Even if you was able to keep going, your suppliers could be stopped from delivering ingredients, causing you to run out of stock.

Fortunately, most insurance policies cover business interruption. If the worst happened, you should be able to claim against your insurance to get your business up and running again.

Food Poisoning

Whilst most restaurants have to deal with allegations of food poisoning from time to time (many of which are actually caused by Norovirus episodes, or reactions to highly spiced food), it’s important to keep an eye out for it at your establishment. In a highly competitive environment, there are many ways for a food poisoning outbreak to spread quickly. It could be a simple misunderstanding between staff members, or a customer could get sick from food contaminated with a pathogen. Either way, it could cause significant damage to your reputation and revenue.

A food poisoning outbreak can also be the result of faulty equipment or poor hygiene. Excess heat, cold, or wet weather conditions can cause food to spoil more quickly and bacteria is already present in raw animal ingredients like fish, meat, and eggs. Raw poultry and seafood can be especially dangerous if handled improperly.

To avoid this, make sure you have the most up-to-date equipment and that your staff follows food safety procedures. Invest in appropriate insurance cover. Make sure you choose a provider who has experience dealing with Indian restaurants. And most importantly, make sure that all your staff are well trained in good food hygiene practices.

Staff accident

Accidents Happen!

Staff Accidents

A busy kitchen can be a dangerous place, with hot surfaces and liquids providing risks of scalds and burns. Sharp knives, skewers, mandolins and choppers can cause nasty wounds. Add in the hustle and bustle of a busy night, perhaps in the early hours, and is perhaps surprising that there are are not more accidents amongst restaurant staff.

It is of couse a legal necessity, in most cases, to have Employers Liability Insurance to cover accidents to your employees; but it is more important to have a strict safety plan prepared, and to have at least one person trained in at least basic first aid in the restaurant at all times.

Other Staff Problems

The Indian restaurant industry is not known for providing highly paid work. As a result, it’s possible for employees to feel understaffed and overworked. This triggers a lot of operational risks, including staff illnesses, absenteeism, and work-related accidents. While you can’t control the first two, you can protect against the latter.

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of an accident happening to your employees, such as ensuring they follow a safe work practice. You can also implement an employee health screening programme to identify potential risks before they adversely affect your operations. If an employee gets sick, they may not be able to work and may even pose a threat to customers. That’s when you need to be ready with a comprehensive insurance policy that allows you to claim against your policy for an illness claim.

Contented workers are less likey to move elsewhere at short notice. A high staff turnover is not only bad for the other staff who have to work harder, particularly at busy times, but it is bad for your profit margin too; training new staff takes time and costs money. Encouraging a happy and co-operative atmoshere amongst your staff can help you retain their loyalty and it can pay you big dividends.

Modernisation Risks

Hand-held computers, or smart phones with appropriate apps, can be useful tools. This has led to many businesses to invest in automated systems that can take over some of the more mundane tasks, like recording orders and ensuring that customers are served quickly with the right food. While this could be great for your business, it could also pose a risk. If wifi goes down or a computer system crashes, it could leave you with no way to serve your customers. To avoid this, make sure you have a backup system in place. Also, make sure your staff are properly trained to use the new equipment; remember that every computerised system is only as good as the information that is put into it.

Fraud & Employee Dishonesty

Risky customers and dishonest employees are some of the biggest operational risks for all restaurants in the UK. If you spot any fraudulent activity or employees who are not playing by the rules, you should not hesitate to dismiss them and if necessary bring in the police; the activities of dishonest staff can become common knowledge very quickly and lead to a collapse in the number of customers. Make sure, however, that you can prove your allegations beyond reasonable doubt, either by photo/video evidence or witness testimony, or else you could possibly find yourself facing a very expensive and time consuming employment tribunal.

Customer Accidents

Many Indian restaurants stay open until late at night - there are, after all, few meals as tastly as a good curry after a few beers. As a result an appreciable number of their customers will have consumed alcohol - and, unfortunately, sometimes stronger substances. These factors can greatly increase the possibility of the customers having accidents, or causing others to have them.

Although you are likely to be blameless for these accidents it is possible for an attempt to be made to hold you responsible, meaning heavy costs for compensation and perhaps even legal costs. A good public liability policy could relieve you of that burden.

Staff accident

There are burglars about!

Securing Your Restaurant

Look out for customers acting suspiciously in your restaurant, in particular any that you notice paying a lot of attention to the till area, computers or other valuable equipment. There are regular spates of burglaries by thieves who eat in the restaurant first to check on just how secure it is - or is not. If you have suspicions let your local police know, they are often aware of any undesirables in the area and you may help stop a burglary elsewhere, if not in your own restaurant.

A good relationshop with the police is always a good idea and the odd free meal can work wonders! 😀

Shutters over the windows when you leave at night, high quality locks and a good approved burglar alarm will probably be required by any insurer, and you may wish to install a CCTV system covering the till and perhaps other possible areas of theft such as the cloakroom, if you have one, provided that you comply with data protection law.

Check all areas carefully before leaving at night; for instance, a tap left running in a toilet or a hotplate left switched on could cause massive damage by morning. Consider a camera and alarm monitoring system; modern ones can be very efficient and reasonably priced. Most of all, make sure you know which risks are covered by your insurance and which are not; many business people only find this out when a claim is refused because of an uninsured event. Beyond that; the rest is just plain common sense really.

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There are a lot of different insurance companies out there, but it's important to make sure you're getting the right cover from a trusted provider. This is why you will only get quotes from top-tier UK insurers, all of whom are fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, to give you the best possible protection.

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