Working in the foodservice industry, you are handling food every day, and the risks to your client's health and your personal safety are of the utmost importance. What happens when a client claims that they had an allergic reaction to something that you prepared? No matter how experienced you are, none of us are infallible and accidents can happen to anyone. What if the reaction was caused by the client consuming something else that day, not the food you prepared? Are you going to have the time and know-how of how to deal with this?
Whether it's cross-contamination causing food poisoning or a cut to your hand while chopping or even damage to the client's property or a commercial kitchen that you are using, the risks to your business and to you personally are high.
A home insurance policy will usually offer a small coverage limit for books, tools and instruments necessary for a business, profession or occupation. If you operate a business from home, you should inform your insurance agent and obtain additional coverage to mitigate the risk of a potential loss. There may also be limits on your home insurance and it may not be adequate for all of the equipment used by your business.
Commercial General Liability Insurance may cover some claims that occur at home if the claims are in respect to your business's related incidents, and you run your business from home.
Any equipment or supplies stolen from or damaged while in your car will not be covered under your auto or home insurance policies. It is important to have coverage under the home business endorsement policy or a specific commercial policy.
You must declare your home-based business to your insurer or the business equipment will not be covered under your homeowner’s policy. Not disclosing a home-based business to your insurer can result in your policy being voided by the insurer, as operating a business from home would be a material change of the risk that they insure.
Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.
You should provide clients with handling and storage instructions for any food that they take away, so that if the items need to be refrigerated, the instructions clearly indicate this. Having a disclaimer on your invoice/quotes/receipts etc would also be helpful; members get special-priced legal consultations for this. The last thing you need is for someone to take food home, leave them on the counter-top or in their car and then eat the food a few hours later - a food-illness disaster waiting to happen!
If all of the services are provided under one business name/ entity, then only one membership is required. So, for example, if you provide private cooking lessons, attend at a weekly farmers market to sell your vegan dips, and also cater private and corporate events, these would be covered under one membership. All other terms of the membership and the policy must be adhered to.
Delivering food should always be done in a food-safe manner, using temperature controlled, food-safe bags or boxes, a refrigerated truck or deliver services such as Skip-The-Dishes, Uber Eats etc.
Food prepared at home for sale must adhere to local by-laws, health and safety restrictions and you must notify your home insurance company and have liability insurance.
The purchase of alcohol or cannabis is not permitted unless you have been granted a licence by your local control board. Wine recommendations and the use of alcohol as a cooking ingredient (where the alcohol is 'burned off') are permitted.
Serving or purchasing alcohol for clients or an event or including cannabis as an ingredient being served to clients are not covered by the insurance policy that is included in your membership, irrespective of whether you have Safe Serve certification or a license.
Yes; selling food & drink products directly to consumers and at private catering events is typically covered by the liability insurance provided with our membership.
Yes, this type of service may be covered by the policy although there may be some restrictions.
Most municipalities have very strict laws regarding where food for sale can be prepared and how it can be transported. These laws protect the client from food-borne illnesses should food be prepared in a kitchen that has not been inspected and passed by the health department; there are also risks to the food during transportation, if it is not transported in a refrigerated truck, for example. The General Liability Insurance included in membership may not cover your business if you do not adhere to related laws should anything go wrong.
Personal Chefs avoid these issues by transporting the raw ingredients to the client's home, and preparing all of the meals in the client's kitchen.
For catering, you can use a licensed, inspected commercial kitchen or have your home kitchen inspected and approved by your local Health Department. If you are doing the later, you must notify your Home Insurance provider that you are running a business there.
Transporting food also carries risks. You may consider having your clients pick up the prepared meals from the place of preparation, but should have clear instructions for the client on how to transport and store the food to keep it 'food safe'. Some members may have access to continuous temperature food storage bags/boxes to keep hot/cold food at safe levels.
Having a waiver or contract addressing transportation, handling and storage recommendations with your clients is highly recommended for all situations where you hand over the control of the food to the client.
This type of service may be covered by the policy; however there are restrictions. If you are preparing any type of food for sale, the facility you are cooking in should be inspected and have the approval of your local Health Department.
The Chef Alliance does not approve of, or endorse, any of its members providing food-related services except as permitted by the laws and regulations of your respective jurisdictions, and as covered in your liability insurance policy.
Using church kitchens or those in service clubs, organisations or schools as a location to cook food and then for you to transport it to clients may not be covered by the policy. You should use legal, inspected commercial kitchens and should abide by your local health & safety regulations, both while cooking and transporting the prepared foods.
You may need to have a refrigerated van to transport the prepared foods or specialty equipment to hold the prepared food in etc. Some members may have access to continuous temperature food storage systems to keep hot/cold food at safe levels.
Should you decide to proceed without taking the recommended safeguards, you may not be covered by the policy, and your policy may be voided. Should anything go wrong, you may be wholly responsible for costs, damages and court-mandated awards. This could be a costly mistake.
No - Restaurants/ catering companies etc. will (we hope!!) have their own liability insurance should anything go wrong.
The Commercial General Liability Insurance - "Chef Insurance "- that may be included as a member benefit of The Chef Alliance, is not offered as a stand-alone insurance product. It is provided through a third party licensed insurance broker.
The information provided in these articles are general and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, legal, business, insurance or financial advice. For more information or a quote for you or your business, please contact a licensed insurance broker or a Success Manager for a referral to a licensed professional.
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Disclaimer: Information provided may be incomplete. Any suggestions or guidance should not be considered a substitute for professional, legal, business, insurance or financial advice. Each business situation is unique, and the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact a professional for advice that's best suited for your business and to meet requirements of your local/regional government laws and by-laws.
The Chef Alliance is an industry member organizations for chefs and cooks and is not an insurance broker. The Commercial General Liability Insurance (" Chef Insurance") that may be included as a member benefit is provided through a third party licensed insurance broker. The Chef Alliance, by virtue of the size of its membership across Canada, is able to negotiate deeply-discounted insurance packages for its members and facilitates the insurance process on their behalf.
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