Winter Considerations for Restaurant Owners

Posted on: December 16, 2020 by RMS Hospitality

For restaurants in areas where temperature can drop below freezing, there’s a lot of front-end work that goes into prepping the establishment to handle the cold weather. If a restaurant client is in an area where snowfall is the norm every winter, preparing for snow collections that may hamper their operations is a tactical step to stay open and limit risks to customers, vendors, and staff members. Every year, the industry spends more than $2 billion on slip and fall-related injuries in medical costs, lost productivity, and absenteeism. What’s more, slip and fall accidents at restaurants are rising by about 10 percent year over year. With this in mind, keeping these winter considerations in mind can prevent an injury or lawsuit.

To limit the potential for wintry risks, restaurant owners can heed these tips and winter considerations before the snow falls and the sidewalks become slick.

Prepare Sprinkler Systems

It’s recommended for restaurants to ensure their team knows where the sprinkler system controller and backflow are. This is important to know when there is a need to turn off the water to the system during a leak. Staff should know to blow out the sprinkler system lines to prevent any damage caused by freezing pipes, resulting in expensive backflow repairs come spring.

Lastly, staff should also know to shut off the main backflow valve before the first freeze occurs and turn off any automatic sprinkler system to prevent leaks. 

Prepare the Landscaping

Curb appeal always helps businesses bring in customers, so keeping landscaping a priority can help a restaurant’s efforts. First, restaurants need to keep grass cut before the snow starts to fall. Fall is the perfect time to do this and fertilize the lawn to promote root growth and prepare for the next spring.

After all the leaves have fallen from the trees, they will need to be raked up and disposed of promptly. Leaves left on lawns will suffocate the grass and present brown patches. After the final leaf pickup is complete, the grass should be cut at three inches in height to prevent fungus from growing.

Parking Lot Maintenance

No matter what time of year it is, taking care of parking lots, including potholes, is essential. It’s a good idea to take care of any potholes and parking lot issues before the first snowfall. The freeze and thawing action in cracks and potholes create more significant problems in the spring, plus it ups the potential for trip and fall accidents. And while having a dependable Restaurant Insurance Program to lean on when faced with liability claims is ideal, being proactive with maintenance can limit overall damage and the need to file a claim.

For restaurants with drive-thru service, they may see more business in the winter as people tend to choose to get their food to go and take it home. Restaurants should trim back any overgrowth from bushes and grass to ensure high visibility. 

Snow and Ice Removal

By the fall, restaurants usually already have snow and ice removal services lined up. They should still make sure to have conversations with contractors to ensure where the snow and ice will be piled up in the parking lot to ensure safety for all customers who are not only parking, but going to and from their vehicles as well.

It’s even more important to keep walkways clear of snow and ice as the pandemic has caused many restaurant customers to opt for carryout. 

Food Delivery Options

Delivery service has shot up in 2020 due to people staying inside and ordering food instead of dining out. Hiring a third-party food delivery service or connecting with options like Uber Eats or GrubHub can help restaurants reach more customers without the cost and hassle of setting up their delivery service.

Delivery is usually an ideal option during winter for customers who may not have a car or may not want to brave the cold independently. Customers will justify paying a delivery fee and a tip to beat the weather and still eat from their favorite food spot.

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 experts today at (888) 359-8390.

Posted in: Restaurant Insurance

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