How to Protect Your Bar or Restaurant

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Owning a bar or restaurant is an exciting way to make a living. You can do something you love, such as make and serve great food and drinks, have fun, and bring in money while you are at it. While there are several positives, there are also some drawbacks that you will have to account for. Owning bars and restaurants creates a unique set of risks that you must navigate to keep your business protected.

Anywhere there is liquor, there will be potential problems. You could accidentally serve underage patrons, for example, and lose your liquor license. Or, you could have alcohol-fuelled incidents that damage your property and your reputation. There is also the risk of food poisoning from what you serve to your patrons. Because there’s so much risk, your success as a bar or restaurant owner takes a little bit of extra work. Here’s how to protect your bar or restaurant.

Safety and Security

Your first priority should always be the safety of your patrons. The most obvious place to create a safe environment is at your front door. You need smart and strong security personnel at the entrance to ensure that people who could risk the bar’s safety don’t make it through the door. Not only should they be looking for underage people from getting in, but also those who are already intoxicated. They must also be prepared to act and remove someone from the premises if they are creating a safety risk to other patrons.

On top of unruly guests, there are several other safety issues that you should be concerned with. For instance, bars tend to end up with broken glass on the floor or slippery spots from spilled drinks. Your staff must be well-trained to spot these sudden hazards and clean them up immediately. Also, all restaurants and bars must have more than one point of egress in case of fire or other emergencies that require a quick and safe exit for staff and patrons.


You and your staff must strictly adhere to your local health authority’s sanitation and food safety guidelines. Food poisoning, infections, and viruses are common dangers in establishments that serve food and drink. Your employees should be washing their hands regularly, especially after using the restroom. Make sure that workers secure their hairnets correctly and that they regularly clean equipment and surfaces in the kitchen as per the health authority’s recommendations. Having good sanitation will keep your patrons safe and help maintain your reputation. If a customer has a dirty fork or a hair in their soup, they will be sure to say something on a local social media page.


Where there are risks, you need to have insurance. Bars and restaurants carry a lot of risks. Insuring your business with liquor liability insurance and coverage tailored towards food establishments is crucial.

With so many people coming through your doors, the chances of an injury are very high. You could have slippery floors, or a server could walk by quickly and bump into a customer. You could face a lawsuit for a personal injury in any of these situations. In many states, establishments that serve alcohol can be held liable if someone leaves over the legal limit and causes an accident or worse while drunk. The right insurance can help mitigate the potential financial fallout and help you cover your legal bills. Just one incident could cost you enough to declare bankruptcy, so it is not worth it to try to avoid having insurance.

Work Closely With Law Enforcement

Make sure that you have a good relationship with law enforcement. There may be times when you need them to come quickly to help with a situation. You certainly do not want the police to view your business negatively. Some departments are willing to provide training to bar staff and security for spotting gang signs so that they don’t get into situations they might not be able to handle. In some cases, your security personnel can contact officers with a quick call or text and have someone there quickly to defuse the situation. Your business and law enforcement can make your establishment and the public safer by working together.

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Be Proactive

Your staff should be as proactive as possible to remove threats before they become an issue. For example, if your security team breaks up fights every night, they probably aren’t doing their jobs correctly. You need security that will spot issues before they happen and take steps to prevent further problems.

The same goes with your server, host, and bar staff. For example, your bartender should keep the bar clear of empty glasses and dirty dishes. If they see a bottle fall on the floor, they should immediately move to sweep it up safely or put up a warning sign until they can deal with it. The longer a potential hazard is left alone, the more likely it will cause an accident or injury.

Watching for Signs of Intoxication

Alcohol can cause issues with motor and cognitive function. Lack of motor function means that drinkers are more likely to slip and fall, get in car accidents, or injure someone else. They also lose inhibitions, which can lead to fights and other incidents. As a business that serves alcohol, it’s crucial that your staff can spot the signs of intoxication to prevent things from getting out of hand by cutting off service.

Some of the most obvious signs include confusion, slurred words, difficulty walking, red eyes, inappropriate actions, or drinking very quickly. It’s up to the servers and bartenders to not provide patrons who are too intoxicated with any more alcoholic drinks, and security should remove them safely, if necessary. Knowing how to deal with drunk patrons will prevent damage and injuries and protect you from liability risk.

For many, running their own bar or restaurant is a dream come true. If that is the case for you, you should chase that dream and build the establishment you’ve always wanted. However, you also need to make sure that you are prepared to take all the necessary steps to protect it. Carefully taking steps to protect your bar or restaurant keeps your patrons safe from bodily injury, your business safe from liability, and your business running for years to come.

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