As the summer approaches, restaurant owners across Canada are gearing up for a busy patio season. With the warmer weather, Canadians typically flock to patios to enjoy a drink or a meal outdoors. 

And the coming season may give restaurants, bars, pubs, and other eateries a much-needed jolt. Data from Restaurants Canada says the food service industry should see a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, with annual sales forecast to hit $83.3 billion this year. 

That would be marvellous should it come to pass. Restaurants were arguably the hardest hit by the pandemic. But with labour shortages continuing – there was a three-fold increase in job vacancies in the industry from pre-pandemic levels as of June 2022 – and inflation ratcheting up the price of food, time will tell how successful the coming season will be.

Customers having lunch on a restaurant patio.

Download Our FREE Insurance Whitepaper

Learn everything you need to protect your small business.

Your email address will be used by Zensurance to provide latest news, offers and tips. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Zensurance - Small Business Insurance Guide
Save on business insurance - CTA

Related Posts

Sign Up for ZenMail

The best of Zensurance news, tips, and resources are delivered straight to your inbox.


Nevertheless, restaurant owners can be optimistic that the warmer weather will entice Canadians to get out and about for a bite to eat this summer. One way to woo them to your establishment is by providing an exceptional outdoor or patio dining experience. 

However, restaurant owners need to be aware of the risks involved in operating a patio in terms of liability and property damage. That’s why a customized restaurant insurance policy can make a significant difference in protecting your business.

What’s In a Comprehensive Restaurant Insurance Policy?

Whether you’re planning to open a new restaurant, or are a seasoned owner, know that restaurants have a higher risk of occupational hazards and damages than other types of businesses. Operating a patio can up those risks. Some of the most common business insurance claims filed by restaurants can be handled effectively, provided you have an insurance policy that reflects your establishment’s needs.

For example, general liability insurance is a critical type of insurance for restaurant owners. It covers third-party damages or injuries that occur on the restaurant’s property. General liability insurance covers accidents such as slips and falls and allegations of food poisoning or allergic reactions. Expensive lawsuits can result from these types of incidents.

Moreover, if you serve alcohol, liquor liability insurance is necessary (and a requirement to get a provincial licence to serve alcohol). It protects you against claims related to the sale or service of alcohol. For example, if one of your customers gets intoxicated at your establishment and injures themselves, others or their property, you and your employees can be held liable for the damages.

Restaurant owners should also consider product liability insurance. Sometimes, product liability coverage is included in general liability insurance. If it isn’t, you need to add it to your policy. It protects against claims related to the products or food you serve. It covers damages from contaminated or spoiled food, allergic reactions, or other product defects.

Restaurant owners also need commercial property insurance to shield themselves against damage or loss to the restaurant’s property, including the building, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and inventory resulting from fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. It’s critical for protecting your assets and ensuring business continuity.

Often included in commercial property coverage is business interruption insurance. It covers lost income following an insurable loss, such as a fire or flood. It also covers expenses such as rent, employee payroll, and other fixed costs during the period of interruption. It ensures you can pay your bills and stay afloat until you can reopen for business.

Other types of insurance to consider for your policy includes employers’ liability insurance to complement provincial workers’ compensation insurance and cyber liability insurance to cover damages resulting from cyber-attacks and data breaches, such as theft of customer information.

How to Prevent Accidents and Injuries on Your Establishment’s Patio

Restaurant owners should also mitigate risks and prevent accidents on their patios. 

That can include regular inspections of the patio area to ensure it’s free of hazards, such as loose tiles or uneven surfaces. Additionally, training staff on food safety and alcohol service can help prevent accidents and protect the restaurant from liability claims.

In the event of an incident, restaurant owners should have a plan to respond quickly and effectively. For example, documenting the incident, gathering witness statements, and contacting your insurance broker if you need to file a claim. A plan can help restaurant owners mitigate the damages and avoid costly legal battles.

How Zensurance Can Help You Protect Your Restaurant Business

As patio season approaches, restaurateurs should take the time to review their insurance coverage to ensure that they have the appropriate types and levels of coverage.

Working with an experienced Zensurance broker can help you do that and identify potential risks or gaps in your existing policy to create a comprehensive restaurant insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.

Fill out an online application to get a free quote, or get in touch with us. Let our friendly brokers find the low-cost policy you require, so you can focus on providing your customers with a safe and enjoyable dining experience while protecting your finances and business from potential risks and liabilities.

Recent Posts

Share This Story:

About the Author: Alexandria Anthony

Alexandria Anthony is the Team Lead, Property & Hospitality, at Zensurance.