Crime prevention and protection for restaurants

When it comes to insurance, even the most seasoned (pun intended) business people in the restaurant industry may be likely to focus only on the obvious things they know they need to insure.

Table at Restaurant

By Gina Fee, Senior Commercial Lines Marketing Specialist

Most of the restaurant owners I've worked with got into the business because of their passion for food and the incredible social experiences surrounding food. Fortunately, a lot of them are also good business people (although unfortunately, I've met a chef or two whose dream of running a restaurant collided with a lack of business experience). 

When it comes to insurance, even the most seasoned (pun intended) business people in the restaurant industry may be likely to focus only on the obvious things they know they need to insure.

General liability, property and liquor liability seem to be familiar terms with many restaurant owners. But there are many other exposures in a restaurant business that may require additional endorsements or policies in order to help cover their risks properly. One example is a restaurant's unique exposures to crime.  

Because restaurants tend to be cash heavy businesses, they can be particularly vulnerable to robbery, burglary and theft. Many restaurants also carry expensive cuts of meat and bottles of alcohol as part of their stock. Fine dining restaurants may have expensive works of art or collectibles, or memorabilia if it's a sports restaurant, on the walls. 

Cash, expensive stock and valuable items can potentially make restaurants a prime target for criminals. And as a restaurant owner, you should be concerned about theft losses of all of these items that you can sustain from outside the restaurant and from the inside (the unpleasant reality of potential employee theft). 

It's natural for a business owner to want to believe that they can trust and rely on the honesty of all of their employees. Unfortunately, employee theft is a common criminal event in a restaurant. Employees may have the greatest opportunity to steal because they have access to the stock and are familiar with the operation of the restaurant.

There's a lot a restaurant owner can do - both taking action and setting policy - to protect themselves and their honest workers from a dishonest employee. Here are some things you may want to consider: 

  • Are employees - even managers - allowed alone in the restaurant?
  • Do you have limits on how much cash is kept on hand? 
  • What training do you provide regularly? Is it mandatory? 
  • Do you have an alarm system? Is it working properly?
  • How does the design of your restaurant - both inside and out - help deter or encourage crime? You may want to think about things like landscaping, lighting and even where you place your waste containers.  
  • Do you have a basic "honesty policy" that employees have to sign, acknowledging theft is unacceptable? 
  • How is your hiring process aligned with crime prevention? Do you do proper employee screening and reference checks? 
  • How often do you change the combination to the restaurant safe?
  • Is your inventory managed properly and checked regularly? 

Even the most attentive restaurants owners could still have a loss related to theft. This is where a thorough insurance review will come into play. A restaurant that has adequate amounts of coverage like employee dishonestly, monies and securities, and property coverages may help restaurants be more prepared to continue successful business operations should the worst happen.

See our infographic Crime exposures in U.S. restaurants.

State Auto Insurance makes no representations or guarantee as to the correctness or sufficiency of any information contained herein, nor guarantees results based upon use of this information. State Auto does not warrant that reliance upon this document will prevent accident and losses or satisfy federal, state and local codes, ordinances and regulations. The reader assumes entire risk as to use of this information.