Take-and-bake meal stores are a growing trend in the food service industry. People with busy lives love take-and-bake meal shops, where they can pick up complete fresh meals on the go, plan ahead for a single evening, or stock up for an entire week.
Meals are typically ordered online, prepared on-site, and then picked up by the customer at a designated time. Some meals may be premade and available for walk-in business. Many take-and-bake meal shops also offer meal delivery services.
If you own a take-and-bake meal store, you face a variety of unique business risks that can be addressed with business insurance. Whether you are an independent owner or a franchisee, you can find the best way to insure your take-and-bake meal shop with a comprehensive set of business insurance policies that are tailored to your unique risks. An independent insurance agent can help.
Why Do You Need Take-and-Bake Meal Store Insurance?
There are literally endless possibilities and scenarios that can lead to costly financial losses for your take-and-bake meal store. Aside from making sure that you attract enough business, minimize expenses, and turn a profit, you also need to be seriously concerned about the many ways that things can go wrong.
Take-and-bake meal stores face typical risks like fire, theft and vandalism, severe weather, and workplace injuries. But you also are at risk for a variety of more insidious threats such as:
- Food contamination or spoilage
- Delivery driver car accidents
- Customer injuries on your premises
- Breakdown of ovens, refrigerators, or other kitchen equipment
- Utility interruptions that force you to close
While you do not operate a full-service restaurant, you have nearly the same risk exposure (except for customers actually eating on your premises) as any restaurant or food service establishment. You need a customized package of property, liability, automobile, crime, and other business insurance policies to protect you from financial losses. It’s a good idea to work with an agent and an insurance company that specialize in businesses like yours.
Do Franchisees Need Take-and-Bake Meal Store Insurance?
You’ll need to purchase your business insurance on your own, whether you’re an independent owner or a franchisee.
Why? First, every state and municipality has different regulations regarding insurance. A franchisor couldn’t possibly provide compliant business insurance for all of its franchisees. What’s more, while the franchisor plays a role in your business, it has no control over your day-to-day operations, employees, or any other factors that could lead to liability claims. The franchisor cannot purchase business insurance for you or on your behalf.
But that doesn’t mean that the franchisor has no involvement in your business insurance purchase. Most franchisors will require franchisees to purchase certain types of business insurance, or franchise insurance, in order to comply with the franchise agreement.
If you’re a franchisee, you’re likely to be required to name the franchisor as an additional named insured on your franchise insurance, to ensure that the franchisor is protected from any claims against your shop.
What Does Property Insurance cover?
Commercial property insurance offers protection for your building (if you own it), as well as everything inside it. If you sustain a property loss after a fire, a tornado, lightning, theft, vandalism, or some other covered event, this policy helps you pay to rebuild, make repairs, and replace destroyed or damaged kitchen equipment, inventory, meal packaging and cutlery, fixtures, office equipment, menus, and computer systems.
Talk to your independent insurance agent about the difference between insuring your business property for actual cash value or replacement cost, and how rented kitchen equipment should be insured.
When you have a property loss, it’s likely that you might also have to close down for a while in order to make repairs, rebuild, and restock lost inventory and supplies. In these cases, your business interruption insurance helps replace lost income during the shutdown period. It also covers some of your ongoing expenses like rent, employee, salaries, utility bills, and more.
What Is Equipment Breakdown Coverage?
You need your ovens, commercial ranges, dishwashers, freezers, and refrigerators to be in good working condition at all times if you want to continue to prepare top-quality, fresh food. If something essential breaks down due to a power surge, a user error, or some other covered event, you could face a loss of income during the downtime, as well as significant repair or replacement costs.
Talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for equipment breakdown coverage. It protects against costs associated with the sudden and accidental breakdown of machinery and equipment. It pays to repair or replace the equipment as well as any business interruption costs that accompany it.
What Does Liability Insurance Cover?
Liability insurance protects your business when you are considered to be negligent or blamed for causing harm to an individual or another business. This can be in the form of property damage, an injury, an illness, or some kind of reputational harm.
Liability insurance is your financial lifeline if you are sued for some reason.
A commercial general liability (CGL) policy provides broad protection for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims. It can help you cover the medical bills of injured individuals, repair or replace damaged property, pay for your legal defense if you are sued, and even cover penalties and judgments if you are responsible for a third party’s damages.
If a customer trips and falls on a wet floor after picking up a meal, this policy will pay for any resulting medical bills or property damage (e.g., the customer’s iPhone is smashed by the fall). If the guest decides to sue you for additional damages due to the trauma caused by the event, as well as ongoing pain and suffering, you’d need coverage to help pay for your legal defense and any financial payouts.
General liability insurance also provides coverage for product liability, advertising liability, slander, and libel claims against your take-and-bake meal store.
What Is Contamination and Spoilage Coverage?
Your business relies on the constant availability of fresh ingredients that are highly perishable. A power outage or refrigeration breakdown could lead to a serious financial loss for your take-and-bake meal store.
Contamination and spoilage coverage can be added on to your commercial property policy. It pays for certain losses if perishable foods or ingredients are spoiled or contaminated due to refrigeration breakdown, utility interruption, or some other type of foreign substance contamination on your premises.
If your local board of health or another agency forces you to close because of food contamination, your contamination and spoilage insurance may cover you for lost income during the shutdown period, as well as costs related to cleaning contaminated equipment and disposing of and replacing spoiled food.
Contamination and spoilage insurance does not protect you in cases where you are sued for accidentally serving tainted or “bad” food and a customer becomes ill, whether the contamination occurred on your premises or was because of food purchased from a supplier. Any costs related to a liability lawsuit are covered under your general liability policy.
Other Insurance Policies for Your Take-and-Bake Meal Store
Aside from major property and liability risks, take-and-bake meal store owners are likely to need several other insurance policies to protect them from financial harm and unexpected events. Talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for the following.
- Commercial auto insurance: if you use business-owned vehicles to deliver prepared meals, you need commercial auto insurance to protect you from lawsuits when one of your drivers is involved in an accident. It can also help you pay for car repairs. If your delivery drivers use their personal autos, you need non-owned or hired auto liability insurance. This provides liability coverage for when employees use their own cars for business purposes. Their personal auto policiesprobably don’t cover them for business use, and you need protection for when your drivers cause accidents.
- Crime coverage: Protects your meal shop if an employee or a group of employees engage in theft, forgery, or fraud that damages your business.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: Protects your workers from the costs of work-related injuries and illnesses. This coverage pays for medical bills and lost wages for employees who sustain cuts, burns, slip-and-fall injuries, repetitive motion injuries, or any other injuries or illnesses related to their work.
- Employment practices liability coverage: Protects you if a current or former employee sues you for discriminatory employment practices.
How Much Does Take-and-Bake Meal Store Insurance Cost?
The cost of take-and-bake meal shop insurance depends on the policies you choose, the unique risks your business faces, the value of your inventory and equipment, and other factors like your location, number of employees, and the size of your establishment.
An independent agent can work with you one-on-one to determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Your agent can get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can evaluate the cost and coverage options and make the best choice.
Benefits of an Independent Agent
Independent insuance agents simplify the search process for finding the right take-and-bake meal store insurance. They’ll walk you through some handpicked policy options and explain the details.
Most importantly, they’ll be there for you when claim time comes. They know the ins and outs of the process and will make sure your claim is handled appropriately.
The Lowdown on Online Quotes
Online quotes can be tempting. They are fast and easy to get—but are they accurate? And are you getting quotes for the right coverage? For business owners, choosing speed over accuracy can cost you.
Online quotes can’t and don’t see the whole picture. They can leave out important coverage that will leave you devastated if something unexpected happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities that an agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent now, and get one-on-one consultation and affordable options for the best coverage for your unique needs.