Risks of Operating a Restaurant

If it has been your dream of owning and operating a restaurant, whether it’s a diner, cafe, or gourmet restaurant, you should be aware of the risks involved. While you can have a lucrative and passion-filled profession by owning your own restaurant, there are also certain mishaps that can go along with the territory. By knowing what these risks of operating a restaurant are, you can better prepare for them.


Restaurant Failure


The first risk you need to be aware of is the potential of your restaurant to fail. Even though you have made the right preparations, hired a talented chef, and did your due diligence in order to have a successful restaurant, it doesn’t guarantee customers. If your restaurant doesn’t do as well as you imagined, you’ll obviously experience a loss of income, and possibly go into the red.


Injuries and Liabilities


You may also experience liability claims if someone (customer or employee) was to get injured in your restaurant — injuries which could be caused by such situations as spills on the floor not cleaned fast enough, not wearing gloves or safety goggles while cooking, failing to wear anti-slip shoes, or coming into contact with spoiled foods.


Bad Reputation


Your restaurant could also suffer a bad reputation if you display a history of slow service, poor-tasting food, not having a squeaky-clean restaurant, or employees who aren’t courteous. The bad reputation your restaurant might get from these types of situations could mean loss of business and ultimately, a failure.


Food Safety


One of the biggest risks to be aware of — and prepare for — are food safety concerns. You and your employees should not only be aware of proper food storing, but should avoid serving spoiled food, recognize spoiled food so it is thrown out and not served, and keep close track of the temperatures at which your food is stored.




As mentioned previously, the cleanliness of your restaurant is vital for a number of reasons. By having a clean restaurant, you can avoid a number of types of accidents, including employees or customers falling on spills or getting injured from misplaced items throughout your business premises. Housekeeping and cleaning your restaurant is something not to take for granted and should involve the know-how and commitment of all of your employees. Your restaurant will also receive health inspections, so it’s critical that your restaurant is clean both in the kitchen and where the patrons dine.


Fire Safety


Due to cooking and baking at high temperatures and using ingredients that are flammable such as oil, practically any restaurant is at a high risk of fire — much higher than most other businesses. Protect your business, employees and customers by practicing fire safety. This includes having fire extinguishers in the restaurant and knowing how to use them, keeping flammable materials and ingredients away from flames, and not having more guests or tables than your local fire codes allow.


Food Storage


The last risk to prepare for is related to how you store and stock your food. If you aren’t educated on how to store the food, you may not know if food is spoiled and it might get served to customers. This could means a loss in reputation and business income. Create proper food storage areas that are labeled clearly, educate employees on how to store and stack foods, make sure the refrigerated temperatures of foods are listed on all refrigerators and freezers, and go through your food often to avoid keeping spoiled food on your shelves or in your commercial refrigerator.


Take the steps necessary to protect your business against these restaurant risks in order to continue operating a successful business. Aside from these preparations, you should also obtain restaurant insurance policies to cover risks such as fire, general liabilities, and property damage.