It doesn’t matter if you own a franchise or small business, you must protect yourself from liability to keep your business safe and ensure customers feel safe when visiting your store. Liability claims can ruin any company. But, as a smaller enterprise, you

How To Avoid Liability As A Food Business

It doesn’t matter if you own a franchise or small business, you must protect yourself from liability to keep your business safe and ensure customers feel safe when visiting your store. Liability claims can ruin any company. But, as a smaller enterprise, you are less financially equipped to handle substantial charges. If something too severe occurs, there is a risk that you cannot afford to pay claims, meaning you may go out of business.

While liability protection is vital for any company, food businesses are in even greater danger as multiple issues could impact your customers (and even employees). If you want to improve your liability protection here are the best factors to consider. 

Store Food Safely 

Safe food storage is the most effective way to minimize the risk of liabilities in your food business, particularly if you serve or sell fresh food. You do not want to cause issues by selling customers out-of-date or spoiled food, so knowing how to store food properly, including refrigerated shelves like the CX4, and preventing cross-contamination will hugely benefit you. 

This also applies to the back of the grocery store or restaurant. Storage facilities should have enough space to prevent fresh food from coming into contact with potential pollutants that may pass on diseases and illnesses. If you sell spoiled food to customers, you may have a lawsuit on your hands. 

Recall Products Quickly 

As much as you can try to sell the best products, some issues can arise, and some are out of your hands. Sometimes, food manufacturers may send products that are not suitable for sale, and your customers could purchase them without knowing about the potential dangers. 

When you are alerted of recalls and outbreaks, you must do everything you can to take the products off the shelves as soon as possible. Furthermore, correspond with customers who have purchased these products to make them aware before they consume them. You can also place posters around the store and highlight issues on your social media pages. 

Have a First-Aid Qualified Team Member 

First Aid training is something every business should offer. For food businesses, you should have at least one member of staff fully trained in first aid at all times. Several instances could occur when customers are shipping, including choking on samples or slipping on wet floors. 

Your first-aid employee will know how to overcome these issues and make sure the customer is safe and healthy. They will be able to evaluate their condition and determine the next steps. Writing an incident report will also help get all the facts straight should the customer choose to take things further. 

Highlight Wet Floors Immediately 

Food businesses that stock drinks, whether bottles of wine, cans of soda, or crates of water bottles should always have Wet Floor signs easily accessible to highlight potential dangers to customers. This is especially true for stores with slick tiled floors, as customers may not always be able to see the spill. 

You should follow this procedure for all spills, even small ones, and it is worth keeping the wet floor sign out even after an employee has mopped up the spill to ensure customers are more aware when walking through the aisles.

Outline Evacuation Procedures 

Disasters can strike in any store, so outline evacuation procedures to keep everyone safe in the event of fires or other issues. By establishing these procedures as quickly as possible, you and your team will be more prepared to direct customers to safe spaces in the parking lot. 

While challenging, it can also be beneficial to keep a general idea of the number of people in the store. This will make it easier to determine whether everyone has gotten out of the store following the evacuation. 

Train Staff Correctly

Staff training is crucial for ensuring a safe and liability-free store. They should know how to work the cash register, stock shelves safety, and also know how to handle food without cross-contamination. Store owners can research regulatory assistance and training for handling food which will teach employees all they need to know about how to prepare and present fresh food for purchase and consumption. 

Training your staff is also beneficial behind the scenes. If your team is competent at taking care of the store, you can trust them to lead if you are not around. By allowing them the freedom to lead, they should be able to handle crises and protect customers even if you are not present. 

Keep The Parking Lot Clear 

One area many businesses do not consider regarding liability is the parking lot. If you run a busy store, the chances of a packed parking lot increase, which also raises issues for customer safety. With more vehicles, there is a larger chance of collisions or damage, so you need to establish ways to keep the parking lot clear. 

Having employees regularly collect shopping carts and baskets will make it easier for customers to drive around and find a good parking space. Regular cleaning and spacious ports will also benefit drivers when reversing their car when they are ready to leave. 

Set Up CCTV 

A security camera system is vital for reducing liability claims and providing clear and indisputable evidence should your business receive complaints. Many business complaints can come down to a you said/they said issue, but with CCTV, you can provide the truth one way or another. 

Install security cameras throughout the store and at the entrance. This makes it easier to monitor customers and employees and recognize any suspicious activity. Not only will this help protect customers, but it can also reduce theft or at least give you the means to press charges after identifying shoplifters. 

Summing Up 

No company wants to be on the receiving end of a liability claim as the consequences can be more damaging than you expect. By ensuring you have followed this advice you will put your food business in a more stable position to overcome – and hopefully avoid – any liability issues following accidents or injuries while customers visit your store. 

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