As a franchise owner, you know that things don’t always go according to plan. Success in the restaurant industry always involves some amount of risk. Discover how building a risk management program for your franchise can help manage those risks, better protect your employees and guests from harm and shield your business from associated costs.

Fundamentals of Your Risk Management Program

A successful risk management program should be developed proactively ahead of potential risks, so that you aren’t caught off guard by the unexpected. For this reason, organizational leadership should take responsibility of planning.

Start by establishing the 4 key fundamentals of the program:

  1. Reasons and objectives: State the reasons for establishing the program. Your objectives help determine a proper depth and scope for your program development.
  2. Policy statement: Draft a policy statement to share with employees. Outline program objectives and explain the goals of a successful and effective program.
  3. Assignment of responsibilities: Assign responsibilities to all employees. Ensure everyone gets involved and has a role to play in program success.
  4. Plan for communication: Implement a system for quick and efficient communication between employees and leadership. Reviewing program results can also help identify areas for modification and improvement.

Establishing plan fundamentals will give a supportive foundation for developing your risk management program. Keep in mind that a successful program takes time to build. New elements can be added as needed and past policies can be refined for better results, once a strong foundation is in place.

Elements to Include in Your Program

For franchisees, these 7 plan elements have been shown to lead to better safety and fewer claims and accidents:

  1. Selection and placement of personnel: Remember proper role placement is key. Make sure your franchise assigns the most qualified person for each role.
  2. Establishment of safety rules and procedures: Develop general and specific rules and implement the guidelines that employees will need to follow.
  3. Accident reporting, investigation and analysis: Create a system to ensure all accidents and injuries are reported immediately, promptly investigated to uncover facts and causes and analyzed so that corrective actions can be taken.
  4. Training: Implement a program to provide initial and ongoing training for all employees.
  5. Safety inspections: Establish procedures to maintain franchise safety. Check regularly for any unsafe conditions or operating procedures.
  6. Emergency preparedness: Designate procedures to follow for first-aid, treatment of serious injuries, building fires, workplace violence and natural disasters.
  7. Engagement and motivation: Keep employees engaged in the franchise’s risk management efforts. Establish a safety committee or incentive program and create posters, handouts and more.

Five Strategies for Reducing the Risk to Your Franchise

Franchises like yours face unique risks frequently associated with the industry. Make sure your risk management program addresses these added business risks. Here are five simple strategies you can easily implement to reduce your risk:

  1. Don’t rush hiring: Pre-screen candidates and hold one or even two interviews before hiring to ensure a good fit and minimize turnover.
  2. Minimize slip and fall accidents: Remove hazards by cleaning up spills and keeping floors free of clutter and trash. Reduce risk by checking for proper extension cord storage, clear foot-traffic areas and consistent wet floor sign usage. Get rid of any damaged or wheeled seating.
  3. Implement driver guidelines: Ensure all drivers of company vehicles have a valid driver’s license, clean driving record and adhere to mobile device usage bans and safe driving policies.
  4. Manage weather injury risks: Develop severe weather plans for storms. Inspect the property after a storm and remove any tree limbs or trash. Remove snow and treat walkways and parking lots for ice. Hire licensed and insured maintenance and removal services and have the contract reviewed by legal counsel. Use wet floor signs and keep floors inside clean and dry when weather is wet outside.
  5. Maintain safety signage: Make sure safety signage is posted and positioned at point of use. Reduce visual clutter by removing signs that are no longer needed. Replace any signs that are out of date, damaged or missing.

For more information about building a risk management program and building a comprehensive insurance plan for your franchise, contact Lockton Affinity’s Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions Insurance Program.