How Restaurant Insurance Changes for Outdoor Dining in the Summer

Summertime presents a unique opportunity for restaurant owners to diversify their operations and enhance their customers’ dining experiences as the sun shines brighter and temperatures rise. One increasingly popular way of doing this is by expanding dining services outdoors. Outdoor dining can help restaurants accommodate more customers and offer an appealing, open-air dining experience that attracts a crowd eager to enjoy the season’s pleasant weather.

However, along with the unique charm and potential profits of outdoor dining come unique challenges and risks. It requires careful planning, from reconfiguring your space to meet safety standards, to adjusting your operations to handle an increase in customer flow. Among the most crucial considerations is the change in insurance needs. Extending your services outdoors could present a new set of risks and liabilities that your current insurance policy may not adequately cover.

Let’s look at a few of these considerations, highlighting how your restaurant insurance needs may change with the introduction of outdoor dining in the summer. We’ll begin by understanding the coverage of your current restaurant insurance policy, then delve into the specific implications of outdoor dining on various types of insurance, and finally explore additional coverage options to consider.

Understanding Your Current Restaurant Insurance Policy

Before considering the changes that outdoor dining may bring to your restaurant’s insurance needs, it’s important to understand what your existing policy covers. This will serve as your foundation in identifying any potential gaps that might be exposed by extending your operations outside.

In this section, we will explore the core components of a typical restaurant insurance policy and discuss whether they can adequately cover outdoor dining.

Basic Coverage of Your Current Policy

The first step is to understand what your current restaurant insurance policy covers. Typically, it includes general liability insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation. These protections may not be sufficient when you extend your operations outdoors.

Does Your Current Policy Cover Outdoor Dining?

Review your existing policy to see if it covers outdoor dining. If it doesn’t, you may need to extend your coverage. Outdoor dining introduces new risks that may not be covered under standard restaurant insurance, such as accidents that occur in your outdoor dining area.

Insurance Implications of Outdoor Dining

Switching to or incorporating outdoor dining during the summer months can significantly change the risk landscape for your restaurant. From increased general liability concerns to property and liquor liability adjustments, there are several insurance aspects that need careful consideration.

In this section, we’ll delve into these implications, providing insights on ensuring you’re adequately covered for the unique risks associated with outdoor dining.

General Liability Insurance

With outdoor dining, there’s an increased risk of accidents. Customers might trip over uneven ground or get injured by falling umbrellas. Extended general liability insurance can cover any bodily injury or property damage suffered by customers in your outdoor dining area.

Property Insurance

Outdoor furniture, décor, and equipment are exposed to different risks, including theft and weather-related damages. Ensure that your property insurance covers these items and consider whether you need additional coverage.

Liquor Liability Insurance

If your restaurant serves alcohol and extends this service to your outdoor dining area, you need to review your liquor liability insurance. This coverage protects you if a customer causes damage or injury after consuming alcohol at your establishment.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

With outdoor dining, staff may be required to navigate different terrains, potentially increasing the risk of workplace accidents. Review your workers’ compensation insurance to ensure it adequately covers your employees.

Additional Coverage to Consider

While standard restaurant insurance can provide significant protection, introducing outdoor dining might necessitate further coverage. These additional insurance options can help safeguard your establishment against the risks of outdoor operations.

Let’s explore some types of insurance that you may need to consider for the comprehensive protection of your summer outdoor dining business.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Commercial umbrella insurance can provide additional liability coverage beyond your standard policies’ limits. This can be beneficial if a lawsuit exceeds your general liability coverage limits or other liability policies.

Business Interruption Insurance

Summer weather can be unpredictable, and severe weather could temporarily shut down your outdoor dining area. Business interruption insurance can cover the loss of income during this period.

Special Event Coverage

Special event coverage may be necessary for hosting special events in your outdoor space, such as live music or parties. This insurance covers injuries or property damage that may occur during these events.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance becomes crucial if your restaurant offers delivery services, especially with the increase in outdoor dining during summer. This insurance offers protection if your delivery vehicle is involved in an accident. It’s important to note that personal auto insurance policies typically exclude coverage for vehicles used mainly for business purposes.

Cyber Liability Insurance

With the shift towards outdoor dining, you may find an increase in digital transactions, such as customers making reservations online or paying via digital wallets at their tables. This increase in digital activity could potentially expose your restaurant to cyber threats. Cyber liability insurance can protect your business from losses related to data breaches or cyber-attacks.

Equipment Breakdown Insurance

Outdoor dining often involves using additional equipment like patio heaters or outdoor cooking appliances. These items can be expensive to repair or replace if they break down. Equipment breakdown insurance can cover the costs of repairing or replacing equipment that breaks down due to power surges, motor burnout, boiler malfunction, or operator error.

Key Takeaways

The summer season presents a beautiful opportunity for restaurant owners to extend their services outdoors, enhancing customer experiences and potentially boosting revenue. However, along with the change in the dining environment, new risks and exposures need to be adequately covered by insurance.

Whether it’s extending your general liability insurance, ensuring your property insurance covers outdoor assets, or considering additional coverage like a commercial umbrella or business interruption insurance, every aspect plays a vital role in safeguarding your establishment. Reviewing your workers’ compensation and liquor liability coverage if applicable, is crucial.

If the process feels overwhelming, remember that working with an insurance agent can make it easier. They can provide expert guidance tailored to your restaurant’s unique needs, helping you navigate through the options and ensuring your outdoor dining venture is well-protected.