Terry's Restaurant Insurance Blog


Restaurant Insurance – Employee Theft, The Silent Profit Killer

As the owner of a restaurant you have many things to worry about.  Where are the clients coming from? Am I putting out the best product I can? Does my targeted demographic fit my marketing plan? Where do I find quality employees? And on and on it goes. But I find that very few restaurant owners take the time to study carefully how to prevent and protect their business from employee theft.

Employee theft takes on many faces, from free meals while the boss isn’t looking to taking home food for family members and giving out free food to friends.  These are annoying and a drain on profits, but each restaurant owner has the responsibility to make sure that each employee understands the rules and the guidelines and that these rules are followed without exception.  There are many resources to help you prevent employee theft and spot employee theft and I will tackle this in more detail in a future blog.  This blog is about setting up a last line of defense that will protect your restaurant from destruction should you have a serious and determined thief on your payroll.

Most restaurant insurance programs have an option to include a minimum amount of protection on the businessowners policy for employee dishonesty coverage.  This is an excellent way to build in last resort protection for your restaurant.  But don’t just gloss over this add on coverage.  Take the time to think carefully about what you stand to lose and how you would deal with it.  In most cases, you can purchase high limits of coverage here.  My insurance agency was attacked in the late 1990’s by one of our employees who made away with over $10,000 before we caught here.  I have a neighbor who lost $300,000 over a very short time frame when one of his employees found a quick and easy way to steal from him and his partners.  The point here is that if you might need higher limits, be willing to buy them.  At the very least, think carefully  through the process.

Another thing to consider with employee dishonesty coverage on your restaurant insurance policy is that in most cases the company will not pay off unless you prosecute the thief.  For some employers this is a hard thing to instigate so don’t buy the coverage if you aren’t going to be able to go through what you have to do to make the claim legitimate.  Also, your deductible will also apply but bear in mind that in most cases if the insurance company decides to prosecute and if they are able to collect any money from your employee, then your deductible will be reimbursed first.

At Clinard Insurance Group, located in Winston Salem, NC, we specialize in helping restaurant owners all across North Carolina and South Carolina with their restaurant insurance needs.  It doesn’t matter if your restaurant is in a metropolitan area like Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte or Greensboro, or if you are located in a small town like Kernersville or Oxford NC, we have the knowledge and the tools to help you keep your restaurant insurance costs low.  And we go a step further by implementing our Partners Program to help drive new customers to your establishment to help you grow your top line revenue as well.  In addition, we know that not all restaurants are the same so we have developed specialized programs for the different types of restaurants out there.  We have a Fine Dining Restaurant insurance program,  a Casual Dining Restaurant insurance program,  a Fast Food Restaurant insurance program, a Bar and Grill insurance program,  and a Caterer insurance program.  For more help with your NC or your SC restaurant, please call us, toll free, at 877-687-7557 or visit us online at


Have You Done A Sound Check In Your Restaurant Lately?

The opportunity to enjoy an intimate conversation in many restaurants is diminishing.  Part of this is due to construction of the interior space, partly it is caused by how the interior is decorated and arranged and in some cases it is intentional.  Either way, as a restaurant owner you should take the time to evaluate and do a sound check in your own restaurant to be sure that the noise levels on a busy night are what you and your target audience are hoping for.

So if you own a restaurant that caters to a crowd that is looking for a noisy and energetic place to eat, most of what I will tell you here will not matter.  But if your clientele has disposable income and wants  a place to enjoy a meal and conversation with their friends and family, your job of making sure the noise levels are appropriate will have a huge impact on whether or not you can turn them into repeat diners.

The first step is to try and test the noise levels for yourself on a busy night.  Just sit at a few of the tables with one of your managers or employees and quickly check how easy it is to hear each other.  Do this in several different places in your restaurant as there will be big differences in the noise levels at different spots in your restaurant.  Now keep in mind that there are many reasons why this subjective measurement can be difficult.  Here’s a great blog on the pitfalls of measuring your restaurant’s sound levels subjectively.  

Once you know where the louder and quieter places are, perhaps you can train your hostess to try and be more perceptive about the clientele and put them in the most appropriate seats at noisy times.  Is anyone in the party wearing a hearing aid?  Is it a large party or a party of 2?  What age is the customer?  All of these factors could help you make this decision.

Think about what is creating the noise levels in your restaurant.  Hard surfaces will reflect noise and drive up the overall din.  How much is the noise of your kitchen contributing?  What about music?  Is the music simply driving up the overall noise level as people attempt to talk over it?  Perhaps background music is important and valuable at some times of day and should just be turned off at others.

Hanging tapestries or other items on the walls will reduce the reverberant noise in your restaurant.  Likewise, tablecloths and carpets will also reduce noise.  And watch out for sky lights as their domes can create white noise spots where it is difficult to understand conversations even when no one else is in the restaurant.

Every restaurant is different and each might have a different goal regarding music and noise levels.  But what is important is that you take the time to monitor the noise levels at different times of day and night and make sure that your restaurant is providing the atmosphere that you want for your patrons.

At Clinard Insurance Group, in Winston Salem, NC, we specialize in insurance for restaurants in North Carolina and South Carolina.  We have helped hundreds of restaurant owners with their restaurant insurance from Charlotte area restaurants to Raleigh restaurants and many small towns in between.  We also work hard to increase our restaurant clients’ revenue with our Partners Program.  If you would like help with your restaurant insurance, please feel free to call us, toll free at 877-687-7557 or visit us online at


Restaurant Owners – What Are Your Customers Saying About You On Yelp?

If you own a restaurant, you know your lifeblood is in the words and statements your clientele says to their friends and family.  Most of this you will never know, but there is a place to find out what some people are saying publicly about your establishment.  I’m talking about a web site called yelp.   If you don’t know about it, you should take the time to find out.

Your digital marketing strategy must include monitoring what people are saying about you to others.  Not only that, you simply must have your best customers, your raving fans, help you out in this area.  Take the time to visit the yelp web site and poke around in there.  Is your restaurant listed?  Have you been reviewed?  Is the review favorable?  You just cannot afford to be ignorant about these types of digital feedback sites.   Remember as more and more people begin to rely on their smart phones for help, directions and advice, restaurants are on the cutting edge of businesses most affected by these changes.  Take the time to make sure that you are on the leading edge of this huge technological and cultural shift in consumer habits.  Then ask your best clients and your friends for help in giving you positive reviews on Yelp.

At Clinard Insurance Group, in Winston Salem, NC, we specialize in helping dining establishments all across North Carolina and South Carolina with their restaurant insurance policies.  But we don’t stop there, we want our clients to be successful businesses.  For that reason, we have developed our business partners page to help generate inbound traffic to our customers’ businesses.    If we can help you with your restaurant insurance, or if you would like to know how we can help drive more customers to your restaurant, please call us, toll free, at 877-687-7557 or visit us on the web at


Restaurant Insurance Help – Slip And Fall Issues And Cheap Ways To Prevent Them

As a restaurant owner you know the importance of minimizing risk to prevent downtime and lost time out of work.  But what you may not know is that there are some very simple changes you can make that will not only reduce your risk of loss but can also save you money on your restaurant insurance policies.  This article talks about one of the most common sources for claims in the restaurant business and the simple techniques you can employ to help prevent these claims.

The most common restaurant workers compensation policy claim comes from slip and fall claims.  These claims can really haunt the restaurant owner because they happen so fast and often happen out of site and can often result in long recovery times.  These long recovery times can really kill your insurance costs.  The resulting disability payments to your employee who is out of work and recovering will all count against your experience modification factor and drive up your rates for many years to come.

Slip and fall risks in a commercial kitchen are high because of the cluttered and slippery floors with oil water and food on the floor.  Also, your employees putting away inventory are at risk because they often can’t see where they are walking while carrying large boxes or sacks.  In addition, severs and bussers are at risk while carrying trays and operating in subdued lighting environments.

So here is a short list of what you can do to help protect your employees from this risk.  All of the items on this list are FREE, you just have to implement them.

  1. Have your employees wear non-slip, waterproof shoes.
  2. Do not allow running in the restaurant.
  3. Properly store all supplies and equipment and eliminate clutter
  4. Apply de-icing products to exterior walkways to protect both employees and customers
  5. Clean up any spill immediately.
  6. If your employees must carry stacked items, you must have a rule that they can see over the top of the items that they are carrying.
  7. Keep and eye on all rugs and carpets and make sure they stay in their places and all corners lie flat.   

This next  list is of some other things you can do to reduce injury to your employees.  This list may involve some minor expense but the cost savings are dramatic compared to the costs of a long term workers compensation claim.

  1. Provide two double swing doors with windows at the entrance to the kitchen so that people on both sides of the door can see what is going on before they push through.
  2. Install  wall and ceiling outlets so cords aren’t left running along the floor.  Also, make sure floor plugs are not in areas where spills are common.
  3. Stretch or re-lay any carpet that is bulging or bunched up.
  4. Use nonslip floor mats and non skid floor waxes on surfaces where water could be spilled.
  5. All floors where water is spilled or used to clean must have adequate drainage.
  6. Place convex mirrors at blind corners.
  7. Immediately replace any broken or damaged drain covers.

Following these recommendations will help you reduce and even nearly eliminate the slip and fall hazards to both your employees and your patrons.  This will help hold down the costs of your workers compensation insurance and your restaurant insurance program

At Clinard Insurance Group in Winston Salem, NC, we specialize in helping all kinds of restaurants across North Carolina and South Carolina with their restaurant insurance policies.  We understand that not every restaurant is the same, and that is why we have created 5 specialized restaurant insurance programs.  We don’t want you to be the round peg jammed into a square hole that so often happens with restaurant insurance.  We have a fine dining restaurant insurance program, a casual dining restaurant insurance program, a fast food insurance program, a bar and grill and tavern insurance program as well as a specialized program for caterers insurance.  If we can help you with your restaurant insurance needs, please call us, toll free, at 877-687-7557 or visit us online at


Restaurant Insurance – How To File A Workers Compensation Claim

Savvy restaurant owners buy workers compensation insurance as part of their restaurant insurance program.  If you don’t and you are paying someone to work there for you, then you shouldn’t go a day more without a policy.  But assuming you already have a workers compensation policy, how exactly do you file a claim?

Filing a workers compensation claim is easy and simple.  You want to do this as soon after the employee injury as possible.  In NC the claim form states that you must file the claim within 5 days of the injury.  To do so, you must complete a Form 19 claim form and mail, fax, or email it to your insurance company claims department.  The Form 19 is a standardized claim form to be used for all workers compensation claims in North Carolina.  The reason for this is that the policy and claims payments are all overseen by the NC Industrial Commission.

If you don’t have a form 19 on hand, check your policy as most insurance companies will insert a few blank ones in the policy that they send to you.  It’s ok to make copies of this form when you run out.  You can also do a google search for form 19 and get a pdf file that you can print or download.

The Form 19 will ask for contact information for you and for your injured employee.  They will also need to know the details of the injury, how and when and where it occurred.  This information usually comes from the injured employee’s supervisor.   Next you will need to fill in the occupation of injured person and information about how many hours they work each week and what their wagers are per hour and per day.  This information will help settle the disability portion of the claim.

The rules require that you provide a copy of the completed Form 19 to the injured employee or the employee’s representative (read lawyer) at the same time that the Form 19 is submitted to the insurance company.  Last of all, you must give your injured employee a blank Form 18 which is a form they can use should they wish to contest the claim settlement.  You can obtain blank Form 18 copies the same way you got the form 19, or you may call the NC Industrial Commission at 800-688-8349.

At Clinard Insurance Group, in Winston Salem, NC, we work hard to help all of our clients become informed insurance consumers.  Understanding how to file a workers compensation claim for your restaurant is important as you will want to move fast in the event of an accident or injury and spending time trying to figure out how to file a claim will only slow you down.

Should you need help with  your restaurant insurance policies, from workers compensation to your business owners policy, please consider us as we specialize in insuring restaurants of all types and sizes all across North Carolina and South Carolina.  We understand that not every restaurant is the same and we help you avoid becoming the square peg jammed into a round hole with our 5 different specialized restaurant insurance programs.  We have a fine dining insurance program, a casual dining insurance program, a fast food insurance program, a bar and grill insurance program and a catering insurance program.   We can put our extensive knowledge to work for you with one quick phone call.  Call us, toll free, at 877-687-7557 or visit us online at