Keep your retail premises safe this festive season

Restaurants and liability risks under the spotlight

The restaurant industry in South Africa is booming. In January 2019, food sales at restaurants and coffee shops in the country amounted to R2,684 billion and together with hotels, these sectors have employed some 268 299 people as at September 2018, according to

Not only does this sector generate a healthy income and provide job opportunities, but it also puts our country on the international map, drawing foodies from all over the world. Wolfgat Restaurant, a 20-seater hosted inside a 130-year-old oceanside cottage in Paternoster, Western Cape, was recently named the Best Restaurant in the World, reports

And to give us all a chance to experience beautiful settings and excellent food without breaking the bank, Restaurant Week has become an institution. This initiative was started in the USA in 1992 with many benefits for the owners of eateries, including boosting sales during quiet periods.

Restaurants and coffee shops have also become a destination: Eateries with facilities for children to play and a childminder looking after the young ones, are a dream come true for many exhausted parents. Being able to relax for an hour or two, eating food that you did not have to cook, AND having someone take care of energetic kids is priceless!

Kid-friendly restaurants usually offer various activities, toys and equipment to keep children busy for hours. Jumping castles, jungle gyms, bicycles, ponds, train rides, swings and slides are included in these.

The fact that eateries and other establishments in the hospitality and leisure sector offer activities increases their liability risks. This means that food poisoning or slip and fall risks are no longer the only worry for restaurateurs.

To protect restaurant owners against these risks, they can take out liability insurance.

“Determining how much liability cover you need is the tricky part,” says Paula Harvey, Underwriting Manager with Hospitality and Leisure Underwriters.

“Many of our clients ask us how much liability cover is adequate. Our answer is always to take into account the number and kind of activities that you offer, which could increase the risk of injury. Also, who are your clientele? Are they wealthy tourists from more litigious countries or CEOs of companies that earn huge salaries? Because if anything happens to patrons at your establishment they would probably want compensation,” says Harvey.

She suggests the following to mitigate risks:

  • Ensure that you put up an indemnity notice. Speak to your lawyer to make sure you adhere to industry regulations, laws and municipal bylaws. You can also get the latest legislative and compliance updates here.
  • Train your childminders in First Aid. Also make sure that you have the correct number of childminders per number of kids.
  • Make sure that you service or maintain the equipment in your kiddies play area regularly. Also, clean these on a daily basis.

Hospitality and Leisure Underwriters offers bespoke insurance for restaurants and franchise restaurants. Speak to your insurance intermediary for more information.



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