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Posted 27/02/2015

HOW MANY INSURANCE COVERS’ CAN YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT COPE WITH? BY MADELEINE HEAVEN, JOHN MORGAN PARTNERSHIP LTD

Most business owners will tell you that a business can live or die by its reputation. This statement is rarely better embodied than in the case of a successful restaurant. Even someone new to the world of running a restaurant would surely agree that a restaurant attracts its customers based on a reputation of quality food, served in a stylish setting and with exceptional customer service. It is no wonder then that restaurant owners invest heavily in interior design to create the right ambience, installing top of the range equipment and employing highly skilled staff before the doors have even opened.

So, by the time that the first customers cross the threshold, much time, effort and money has been expended to ensure everyone has the best experience possible. But, after all the careful planning and opening fanfare, what if the unexpected should happen? What if some unforeseen incident should take place that sees the restaurant facing a huge bill that could possibly result in the doors being shut for good? That is where a restaurant insurance policy comes in to play. Although it might not be one of the first things a budding restaurateur might think of when setting out on their Michelin starred journey, it should be a top priority for the protection of the business.

For example, recently a famous 3 Michelin starred restaurant faced a barrage of complaints and costly no-win-no-fee claims from some 240 customers after being found guilty for a severe outbreak of norovirus. Unbeknown to the restaurant of the customers, the oysters had been handled by a member of the kitchen staff who had been infected with norovirus and it spread like wildfire. Luckily, for the restaurant, their insurer was there to pick up the compensation bill.

In another famous case a top rated Italian restaurant, found itself in deep trouble after serving normal pasta to a lady with Celiac disease. Despite alerting the management of her gluten intolerant condition when booking the table, the menu advertising the pasta meal as gluten free, and the assurance of the member of waiting staff, less than an hour after eating the meal the lady suffered an extreme reaction to the gluten and had to be rushed to hospital. To make matters even worse, the lady was on a waiting list to receive a heart and lung transplant and the incident meant that she had to be removed from the list. Many apologies were issued by the restaurant but the authorities obviously thought this was not enough and they were subjected to a hefty legal bill. Although there would have certainly been reputational harm done to the restaurant, the insurer was once again there to cover the costs and fees incurred.

These cases might be rare but hopefully illustrate that even establishments with the very highest of standards can suffer from the unforeseen. So, whether you’re running a  Michelin star restaurant, a café, takeaway or fast food outlet, what should you be looking in your insurance? At John Morgan Partnership Ltd we have access to market leading policies, underwritten by some of the top UK insurers, which provide wide ranging covers including Public and Employers’ Liability, Fire, Theft, Food Spoilage, Business Interruption and so on.  

 

Madeleine Heaven

MadeleineH@johngroup.co.uk

John Morgan Partnership Ltd.

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