Preparing Restaurants for Snow, Ice, and Other Winter Weather

Posted on: December 11, 2019 by RMS Hospitality

In many parts of the country, snow, heavy rains, sleet, and ice have already made landfall and are only expected to continue through the winter. In places like Colorado, California, Chicago, and Detroit, heavy snowfall is upending some business operations, putting everything from freight deliveries to pizza deliveries behind schedule.

But this can be expected every year around this time, so it’s important for businesses to have a game plan. For restaurants looking to stay in the black during the winter, it will help to have a prep outline in place so regulars and even new guests make their way in for happy hour, dinner specials, cups of coffee, and late night desserts.

By properly identifying the various needs a restaurant needs in order to stave off the winter weather and everything that comes with it, everyone from the staff to the visitors will know what to expect. Here are some ways a restaurant can prepare for winter weather and keep business coming in.

Get On Top of Maintenance

It’s better to be prepared than, well, not be prepared. This can be evident in preventative maintenance that can be done throughout the year. One way a restaurant can prepare via maintenance is to check the heating system and look for things like dirty air filters. HVAC vendors can be tasked with examining a restaurant’s heating system to make sure everything is clean and up to code, preventing a breakdown during a wicked winter storm.

Next is pest control, something that can often be overlooked this time of year. If it’s cold outdoors and warm indoors, you can bet that some critters will be looking to get inside and find temporary refuge for the winter. Restaurants should be sure to have all the nooks and crannies and crawl spaces inspected before winter hits and set up the right traps and preventative measures.

Review Insurance

Restaurants should be operating with some form of restaurant insurance no matter what time of year it is. Having this kind of coverage can protect businesses in all aspects of their liability needs, including delivery, slip-and-fall cases, foodborne illnesses, and alcohol-related complaints. It’s important for businesses to examine their restaurant insurance and see if they are getting the right kind and level of protection to keep costly claims away during the winter.

Removing Snow and Sleet

As mentioned above, restaurant insurance can protect against slip-and-fall cases year-round. But it’s important to take measures outside of restaurant insurance to make sure these events don’t happen. One way this can be done is through snow removal. Restaurants should be looking to their parking lots to make sure these types of issues don’t start on any part of the property. Working a snowplow on a regular basis can help to keep the lots clean, and this includes the valet drive-up area where some people may choose to use.

It’s also just as important for restaurants to look at their sidewalks, entrances, and dining room floors as some people will track in snow or wet shoes, causing an unintentional issue with slipping and falling. Always have a mop ready to go and task different employees to do regular sweeps to make sure all floors are kept dry and risk-free.

Floor Care

Taking wet floors a little further, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the integrity of a restaurant’s floors. Staff is always making sure to keep the kitchen’s floors as clean and dry as possible, so they should treat the rest of the restaurant with as much attention to avoid costly claims from guests.

It’s important to have the right mats and rug runners to sponge up some of the water that comes in. People will want and need to wipe their shoes when they come in, so it’s crucial to have these items out to encourage dry shoes. And, as always, it helps to have “Wet Floor” signs or cones to alert customers of damp floors.

Change Up the Menu

Winter doesn’t just have to mean potential claims and taking preventative measures into account. It can also be a good time of year to examine the menu and look for ways to specialize it. By tweaking the menu a bit to offer seasonal eats and drinks, profits can possibly see a lift and guests may be encouraged to bring people in with them to try out some new items.

Menus don’t have to be completely upended, but it can help to add a new hot chocolate or spiced tea which can help put people in the holiday or seasonal spirit. This can add some incentive for customers to try something new while staying warm.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom-tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.

Posted in: blog Restaurant Insurance

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