The hospitality and catering industry continues to go from strength-to-strength, particularly in the mobile catering field. Not only through food trailers and traditional catering firms, but also via the growing popularity of pop-up restaurants and food led events. Many modern restaurants now incorporate a mobile strategy into their business model, which is a great way to promote their offering and to reach new customers.
The Advantages of Mobile Catering
Mobile caterers could be referred to a ‘kitchen on wheels’, the food that is produced is now of the same high calibre as any typical modern restaurant. That ability, coupled with the flexibility to be mobile, provides you with three main benefits:
Flexibility – Both in terms of location and trading hours, the mobile nature of a catering service provides you with the flexibility to operate during hours that can deliver maximum profitability or that are most convenient for your own schedule. Similarly, you can travel to multiple locations in a single day to maximise revenue.
Start-up Costs - The initial start-up cost for a mobile catering operation is far lower than a traditional restaurant. Not only in terms of rent, rates and other fixed costs but also in terms of lower operational and staff cost and ongoing expenses through the use of paper and plastic utensils and flatware.
Menu Flexibility - Unlike a typical traditional restaurant, the menu for a mobile caterer can change on an almost daily basis if required. Having the freedom to modify the menu can help attract new customers or encourage previous customers to keep returning. Also, by supporting a rotating menu, you may also be able to better manage your operating costs and adapt to different surroundings or locations.
The very nature of mobile catering leads to your business operating from a wide range of premises and locations. Operating out of a mobile kitchen also exposes your business to unique hazards that are specific to your environment. The key to safe working is understanding where your key risk hazards exist while also protecting your business through the purchase of specialist Mobile Catering Insurance.
General Hazards of Mobile Catering
The risks that are present in traditional catering tend to be exaggerated when space for food preparation and cooking is reduced in a mobile catering environment. The potential risks can typically be divided into three distinct categories:
#1 Employee Hazards
As a catering business, you have a duty of care for the welfare and safety of your employees. Should one of your team suffer injury or illness in the course of their work, you could face a compensation claim under the employers’ liability section of your Catering Insurance.
Typical claims include:
- Injuries relating to improper training in manual handling, knife handling and/or cooking in confined space.
- Slip and trip losses following failure to provide safeguards against slips, trips and falls — such as non-slip footwear or mats.
#2 Motor Hazards
- Maintenance – Infrequent or poor quality maintenance of gas and electrical systems could result in electrical shortages, fires or explosions.
- Weather – Poor weather and constant travel could expose your vehicle, trailer or stall to damage.
#2 Customer Hazards
Accidents, injury or illness to customers can result in compensation claims under your Products or Public Liability Insurance. Typical hazards include:
- Storage - Ineffective or poor storage, labelling or handling of storage containers could result in contamination or spoilage of ingredients, which could lead to potential ill health of customers.
- Hygiene - Inadequate employee hygiene training or practices can cause illness or food contamination.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of all the potential hazards and risks that a mobile caterer may encounter, it does represent those that are most common.
Mobile Catering Insurance
As a mobile kitchen, catering firms require a different and more specialist level of insurance cover to a traditional restaurant. The key areas of cover include:
Products Liability Insurance - Providing your business with protection in the event that a customer becomes ill or is injured by one of your products.
Public liability Insurance - Providing cover that protects you in the event that customers, or their property, is damaged as a result of your business activities – for example, a customer trips over a loose cable wire and breaks their ankle.
Employers’ Liability Insurance – Protection for any employees is compulsory by law. It provides your business with cover if one of your employees is injured during the course of his (or her) employment.
Catering Trailer Insurance - Cover for your trailer itself, including all of the contents, fixtures and fittings.
Mobile Catering Van Insurance – Motor Insurance to cover your legal liabilities required by the Road Traffic Act, which can be extended to cover fixtures, fittings and contents. As with other motor policies, a variety of cover options is available from third party only to fully comprehensive protection.
Catering Liability Insurance – An extension of your public liability provides cover for any outside catering.
Mobile Catering Cover Extensions
Each mobile catering business is unique, as such, cover must be tailored to your specific requirements. As well as the core levels of cover outlined above, the following option extensions are also popular with catering firms:
Event Insurance - Providing your business with cover protects you if a team member, customer or their property is damaged as the result of your businesses attendance at an event. Event cover can also be extended to cover cancellation if required.
Equipment insurance – While some vehicle or trailer policies can cover business equipment, this is not always the case, and in these circumstances, separate cover is available which protects your equipment (including generators) in the event of loss, theft or damage.
Business interruption insurance – Loss of income protection if your truck, trailer or pop-up restaurant is damaged or stolen.
FREE Business Insurance
Insync specialises in cover for the restaurant and catering industry, including mobile businesses. We can arrange Mobile Catering Insurance from the UK’s leading insurers, tailored to your specific requirements.
Quotations can be requested online, alternatively, why not book a free review with one of our expert Gurus who can help you identify your key requirements and appropriate insurance protection.