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4 steps restaurants can take to prevent liability

Millions of people eat in restaurants each day. According to the National Restaurant Association, the industry makes around $800 billion in sales each year. Unfortunately, with the amount of people choosing to dine out, restaurant owners face several liabilities.

As a restaurant owner, make sure you are taking the following four simple steps to protect yourself from liability:

  1. Train staff properly: Training a restaurant staff involves more than serving customers or plating a dish. The way your staff stores, fixes and serves food can have a profound impact on your liability. Take the time to instruct your staff on proper food storage procedures, including dating, labeling and ways to avoid cross contamination. Additionally, have your staff wash their hands and clean surfaces regularly to avoid the spread of germs.
  2. Put warnings on raw or undercooked items: While you might assume people know most sushi items contain raw fish, this is not always the case. If you are serving any dish containing raw or undercooked items, make sure that you label it on your menu. On the off chance a customer who orders the dish becomes sick later on, a warning or a label might help protect you from liability.
  3. Put caution signs up if slippery: Slip and falls are a major concern among restaurants. With the amount of water and drinks going around, there is a great risk of a customer slipping and suffering an injury. If a server drops any item that might be wet, sticky or even greasy, put up a caution sign immediately. Additionally, consider safety mats and other ways that might prevent slip and fall accidents in your restaurant.
  4. Do not allow outside food: Customers might want to bring in a homemade cake for a birthday or some of their own dishes for a catering event. You should try to avoid this from happening. If someone becomes ill after dining at your restaurant, it will be hard to determine if it was your food or the outside food that caused the illness. If your food is the only food served, you have better control over any storage, preparation and delivery.

Protecting yourself from liability as a restaurant owner can be complicated. It can be beneficial to speak with a liability defense attorney, in order to protect your business from liability claims.

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