Risks Affecting Restuarants – Chapter 2

Let’s paint a picture. It’s nearing the end of a long and busy night. If I was a restaurant owner, I might take a stool at the bar and enjoy a nice glass of Shiraz. I would revel in each successful step I had taken in a chancy but passionate industry.

Let’s paint a picture.  It’s nearing the end of a long and busy night. If I was a restaurant owner, I might take a stool at the bar and enjoy a nice glass of Shiraz.  I would revel in each successful step I had taken in a chancy but passionate industry.

I might.

More likely, and more likely forgotten about, I would be pouring over par sheets, nit-picking at purchase orders, and checking the safety manuals.  There are a multitude of factors business owners worry about. And the scariest is always the unknown.

“Did anyone card that young lady?”
“How high is the bar tab up to for that group of guys laughing a little too loudly in the corner?”
“Is that her fourth martini?”
“How many beers has our Thursday-night-regular had, and how will he get home tonight?”

For protection as a business owner, these are crucial questions we must ask ourselves on a day-to-day basis.  Ignorance is not bliss.  If any of the above are handled carelessly, the night could end in tragedy for an unsuspecting, and sometimes innocent party.

Dram shop laws may vary among the states, (NHSTA Report) but it’s illegal to serve a minor in all 50.  And in most states, it is illegal to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person.  Dram shop laws define the liability that restaurant establishments have for injuries resulting from alcohol related incidences.  Once an alcoholic beverage is served to a minor or an already intoxicated individual, a law is being broken.  

Consider the following example.  A group of ladies heads to the nearest Italian Bistro after work to share some fine wine and gossip.  They skip dinner and order a third bottle of wine.  One of the ladies starts feeling the effects of the alcohol hitting her hard. With lowered eyelids and slurred speech, she decides to order just one more refreshing Limoncello.  On the way home, she loses control of her car, swerves and kills a pedestrian.  An incident like this could very well jeopardize a restaurant owner’s business and assets when the deceased’s family brings a multi-million dollar suit against the bar that served the alcohol.  A recent case in Virginia Beach held a restaurant responsible for $7,000,000 in damages after an intoxicated patron left in his vehicle and killed two teenage girls.  In the succession of a few poor decisions, a restaurant can go from thriving to nonexistent in no time at all.

We know that you have enough to worry about just running your business successfully.  Acquiring sufficient liquor liability limits in the form of an umbrella policy provides security.  Our protection can help give you some peace of mind, and take unnecessary pressure off of your shoulders.

So sit back, enjoy that glass of Shiraz and take a deep breath because you deserve it.  And tonight you may sleep a bit more soundly knowing that our McGowan umbrella is just above you.

(1.) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA Reportwww.nhtsa.gov

 

For submissions and questions about our National Restaurant Owners Umbrella program, please contact Ali Gates (agates@mcgowanins.com) or Neil McGowan (npm@mcgowanins.com).

Thank you for Thinking McGowan!

 

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