Mobile Catering Insurance

Festival Food

As a mobile caterer, you are almost certainly passionate about producing delicious, creative dishes for customers in both conventional and unexpected locales. However, operating out of a mobile kitchen can expose your business to hazards that are unique to your culinary environment. Therefore, to better protect your business mobile catering insurance is essential.

 

The General Risks of Mobile Catering

The hazards that are present in a traditional culinary environment tend to be magnified when space for food preparation and cooking is shrunk down in a mobile catering environment. The potential risks can be divided into three distinct categories:

Employee Risks

  • Improper training in knife handling, manual handling and cooking can result in injuries.
  • Failing to provide safeguards against slips, trips and falls—such as non-slip mats or footwear—can result in injuries.

Material Risks

  • Infrequent maintenance of gas and electrical systems could result in electrical shortages, fires or explosions.
  • Inclement weather and constant travel could expose your truck, trailer or stall to damage.

Customer Risks

  • Ineffective storage, labelling or handling of storage containers could result in contamination or spoilage of ingredients.
  • Inadequate employee hygiene practices could cause illness or contamination.

While this is not an exhaustive list of all the potential risks that a mobile caterer may encounter, it does represent those that are most common.

What Are the Advantages of Mobile Catering?

While a mobile caterer could be called a ‘kitchen on wheels’, the food that is produced is of the same high calibre as any traditional restaurant. That talent, coupled with the ability to be mobile, provides you with three main benefits:

  • Flexibility in location and hours: The inherent mobile nature of a catering service provides you with the flexibility to operate during hours that can be highly profitable or that are most convenient for your schedule. Similarly, if a particular location is exhausted of its potential customers or has too few customers, you are able to travel to a potentially more profitable location.
  • Competitive menu prices: The initial start-up cost for a mobile catering service is far lower than that of a traditional restaurant. And by requiring a smaller, more select staff and limited upkeep (paper and plastic utensils and flatware), you are able to price your menu competitively without needing to charge more to recoup operation costs.
  • Freedom to modify the menu: Unlike most menus at traditional restaurants, the menu for a mobile caterer can change each day depending on what ingredients are available or what the cook chooses to prepare. 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.

 

Recommended Mobile Catering Policies

As a travelling kitchen, mobile caterers are a particular brand of restaurateurs and their insurance should reflect those needs. Mobile catering insurance is a blanket term and is comprised of three legally required core pieces of cover:

  • Product liability insurance provides your business with cover that protects you in the event that a customer becomes ill or is injured by one of your products.
  • Public liability insurance provides your business with cover that protects you in the event that customers or their property is damaged as a result of your business.
  • Employers’ liability insurance is compulsory and provides your business with cover in the event that one of your employees is injured during his or her shift.

While not required, it is suggested that you also purchase cover for your truck, trailer or pop-up food stall.

  • Catering trailer insurance provides cover for your trailer, including all of the fixtures and fittings.
  • Mobile catering van insurance provides cover for your truck, including all of the fixtures and fittings, and some degree of motor insurance which covers third-party fire and theft. You may want to consider purchasing a more comprehensive motor policy for your truck.
  • Catering liability insurance provides cover for any outside caterer’s equipment that does not require a vehicle, trailer or pop-up food stall.
  • Street food liability insurance provides cover for your pop-up food stall and typically includes the three recommended liability policies.

 

Mobile Catering Insurance Extensions

Each mobile catering service is unique — distinguished by what form its mobile kitchen takes, its menu and its route. With a varied spectrum of needs, mobile caterers are able to customise the recommended boilerplate policy to fit their specific needs. Consider purchasing these three common types of mobile catering insurance to customise your cover:

  • Event insurance provides your business with cover that protects you in the event that an individual (or customer) or his or her property is damaged as the result of your business at an event.
  • Equipment insurance provides your business with cover that protects your equipment (including generators) in the event of loss, theft or damage.
  • Business interruption insurance provides your business with cover that protects you in the event that your truck, trailer or pop-up food stall is stolen or damaged.

 

Order Up: Mobile Catering Insurance

Mobile caterers offer inventive menu items to customers on the go. However, to successfully protect your business, you need to have specialised cover. If you own or manage a mobile catering service and are interested in learning about how you can better protect your business, contact Moving Food today.

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Mobile Catering Risks

Mobile Catering

Mobile catering services have a very specific set of health, safety, motor, and food preparation-related risks. Therefore, to be successful, mobile caterers and pop-up food stalls not only need to have distinctive menus, but they need to develop comprehensive risk management plans.

Mobile Catering Legislation

Regardless the type of mobile catering you are involved in, there are 10 legal requirements you must follow in order to be able to serve menu items to the public.

  1. Register with the local authority. You must register your business with the Environmental Health Department at your local authority, 28 days before you begin serving food.
  2. Acquire the correct licences. A Trading Licence is required if you plan to operate on public streets or roadsides, but not for events/shows or if you will be on private land. You must have a licence if the organisers of an event do not.
  3. Complete the relevant Legal Structure paperwork to register as a business.
  4. Conduct a Food Safety Risk Assessment based on the Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points.
  5. Ensure each employee completes food hygiene and food safety training.
  6. Protect your business with at least employers’ liability insurance, public liability insurance and product liability insurance.
  7. Have your vehicle or stall certified by a Gas Safe engineer
  8. Have your vehicle or stall certified by a National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation registered electrician.
  9. Develop a comprehensive Food Safety Management System and a Due Diligence System.
  10. Install hand-washing facilities separate from the pot-washing facilities in your vehicle or stall.

Mobile caterers are also subject to food regulations dictating recording, quality and labelling requirements. For a comprehensive list of all food regulations, visit The Food Standards Agency.

The Risks of Mobile Catering

The nomadic freedom that mobile caterers and street food stalls enjoy also inherently allows for exposure to risks that are unique to their experience. Potential risks can be divided into two distinct categories:

Transport Risks

  • Containers that store food can become damaged or dislodged during travel, which exposes that food to contamination, spoilage or total loss.
  • Improper maintenance of gas and electrical systems could lead to fires or explosions.
  • A location may not have adequate electrical or water connections, which could impact what menu items can be prepared.
  • Inclement weather at an event could damage your vehicle or stall, or it could detract from business.
  • During travel, your vehicle or stall could be exposed to damages caused by a motor accident.

Food Preparation and Handling Risks

  • Containers could be mislabelled, which could lead to contamination, spoilage or fines.
  • Food that is improperly stored or prepared could lead to spoilage or illness.
  • Lax staff hygiene could lead to illness.
  • Dirty, cramped kitchens can cause slips and trips.
  • Improper knife handling can cause serious injuries.

While this is not a comprehensive list of all the possible risks that mobile caterers and pop-up food stalls may face, it does illustrate some of the most costly.

Mobile Catering Risk Management Strategies

As the owner or manager of a mobile catering service, there are preparations you must implement before you can begin serving food. Again, these precautions can be divided into two distinct categories:

Transport Risk Management

  • Have all gas appliances and connections inspected at least annually by a registered Gas Safe engineer and train your employees on how to install new tanks and inspect the gas systems for hazards.
  • Install secure storage to limit container and supply movement. After your vehicle has been loaded, ensure that the containers will not move or spill.
  • During transport, until its use, all food must be kept below 8 degrees Celsius.
  • Before attending an event, confirm that there will be adequate electrical and water connections available for your vehicle or stall at the location.
  • Provide employees with training on how to drive and reverse the mobile catering vehicle.

Food Preparation and Handling Risk Management

  • Every time fresh food is placed in a clean, air-tight storage container, it needs to be labelled with the current date and the container’s contents.
  • Keep an accurate record of your suppliers, how fresh their ingredients are and when the ingredients were used.
  • After preparing a hot dish, the food must be kept above 63 degrees Celsius.
  • Provide your staff with training on the proper hygiene and hand-washing practices.
  • Develop a Due Diligence System that includes instructions and procedures on a Food Hygiene
    Management System, health and safety, and fire.

Neither list fully illustrates every precaution you must take to mitigate the potential risks. However, both provide a beneficial risk management overview.

Specific Mobile Catering Insurance

If you are already trading you will almost certainly already have some sort of insurance cover but there may well be gaps in this cover if it wasn’t specifically designed for your area of business. To ensure that you are properly protected, contact us today for a free review of your cover.

 

 

Slice, Dice and Chop With Care – Cutting safety tips

Kitchen safety tips

Food preparation areas can be a hazardous working environment, especially in a busy mobile catering environment like a street food stall or food trailer. You and your colleagues are at risk of cuts while preparing food, serving and washing dishes. However, there are many safety precautions that you can take to reduce your risk of getting cut at work.

 

Knife Safety Tips

  • Handle, use and store knives and other sharp utensils safely.
  • Cut in the direction away from your body.
  • Keep your fingers and thumbs out of the way of the cutting line.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as steel mesh gloves.
  • Use a knife only for its intended purpose and use the correct knife for each cutting or chopping job.
  • Never try to rush a cutting, slicing or chopping task – you may get careless and have an accident.
  • Keep knives sharpened and in good condition. Let your supervisor know if you have concerns about the condition of any knife in the kitchen.
  • Store knives and cleavers in a designated area when they are not in use, and never store them with the blades exposed.
  • Let a falling knife fall to the floor – never try to catch it.
  • Carry knives with the cutting edge angled slightly away from your body with tip pointed down to your side.
  • Place a knife down on a clean surface for a co-worker to use rather than handing it to the individual.
  • Avoid placing knives near the edge of a countertop.
  • Never place a dirty knife in the sink after usage. You or a co-worker may reach into the sink and get cut unknowingly. Instead, place them in the dishwasher or in a container labelled “knives only.”
  • Do not interrupt or talk to co-workers who are using knives or other sharp utensils. They may get distracted and hurt themselves accidentally.

 

Make sure you follow all proper safety procedures when working with knives and other sharp objects, for your safety and the safety of others.

If you would like any more information on reducing the risks to your mobile catering business please give us a call. 

 

 

Avoiding Fryer Burns

mobile catering deep fat fryer

Deep fat fryers are a leading cause of burns for food service workers. Workers do not only risk burns when cooking with or cleaning fryers and vents; contact with hot splashing oil is also a serious hazard.

To prevent burns, your first line of defence is to exercise extreme caution around the fryer and oil. Ask a supervisor or a trained employee to show you how to operate the fryer before attempting it on your own.

Once you are trained, always wear the appropriate clothing. A long-sleeved cotton shirt, long trousers and an apron all shield your body from hot oil splashes.

 When Cooking

  • Use the correct grease level and cooking temperature.
  • Never put water or ice into the fryer as it may cause a flare-up.
  • Do not overfill the fryer with frozen foods as it may cause the oil to splash and bubble over.
  • Make sure the floor beneath your feet is completely dry to avoid slipping and bumping into the fryer.

During Clean-Up

  • Wear gloves and use a scraper when cleaning the fryer and hood.
  • Avoid reaching over or climbing on top of fryers to clean them.
  • Since these appliances are dangerous to operate, make sure you know how to operate a class F fire extinguisher, which is used to put out oil and grease fires.
  • In the event of a fire, you and your fellow employees must act fast to prevent further damage and protect yourselves against injuries.

 

Spotting CO Poisoning

Workers using portable fryer units may be exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if the exhaust system malfunctions. If you work with fryers regularly and experience headaches, confusion, nausea and dizziness, you may have CO poisoning. Contact your supervisor immediately and seek medical help.

 

 

 

Tips for reducing the spread of foodborne germs

Mobile Catering cleanliness

Foodborne illnesses can be life-threatening and can be transmitted quite easily. However, by following these safety tips, you can ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illness at your facility.

Safety Steps

Safe steps in food handling, cooking and storage are essential to preventing foodborne illness. You typically cannot see, smell or taste harmful bacteria that have the potential to cause illness. Keep food safe in every step of preparation.

  • Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cook foods to the proper temperatures.
  • Refrigerate and store leftovers promptly.

 

Food Handling Guidelines

  • Refrigerate or freeze all perishable food items. The refrigerator should be set at 4° C or less and the freezer set at -18° C or less. Check the temperatures with a thermometer designated for these appliances.
  • Always thaw food in the refrigerator or under cold water, never sitting out at room temperature.
  • Wash chopping boards and cooking utensils immediately with soap and hot water after contact with raw meats to prevent bacterial contamination.
  • Do not leave perishable foods sitting out for more than two hours.
    • If room temperature is above 32° C, do not leave foods out for more than one hour.
  • If food is cooked, but will not be served for more than two hours, keep it in the oven at 60 °C and cover with foil.
  • Discard tinned foods that are dented, seeping or bulging.
  • Do not use food if packaging is torn or open.
  • Poultry and meat is only good in the refrigerator for one to two days.
  • Keep seafood in the refrigerator or freezer until right before use.
  • Throw out foods with any sign of mould growth.
  • Never store food near cleaning products or chemicals.
  • Store condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise in the refrigerator after opening.

 

 

Insurance Terms Explained

Insurance terms can be confusing and we all wonder why normal language can’t be used to explain everything. One of our goals is to make it easier for you to understand these terms and so here is our glossary of insurance terms for people who choose not to speak in legal jargon!

You/Your/Insured
You will find yourself referred to as  ‘the Insured’ quite a lot. It’s still ‘you’ but it in its exact reference it means the person (or people) named in the insurance Schedule.

We/Us/Our/Underwriters
The company or underwriters (the people who work out how much your insurance is) who are actually insuring you. Not to be confused with Moving Food, we arrange the insurance and find the best product for you.

Business
Your business, but in very precise terms! Usually detailed as something like ‘ownership or occupation of vehicle for the purpose of retailing food and drinks’. This will usually be worked out from a question you answer in the quote process so shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Damage
Accidental physical damage

Employee(s)
Technically referring to anyone you employ under a contract of service or apprenticeship, working for You in connection with the Business or as more described in Liability definitions

Fixed Equipment
Any equipment permanently fixed (fixtures and fittings) to the Trailer or Static Unit, this doesn’t include items like Generators and Gas Bottles.

Bodily Injury
This terms actually refers to Death, Injury, illness or disease.

Limit of Liability
means the applicable Limit of Our Liability to You as defined in the Schedule and/or the Limits of Liability section of this Certificate.

Locked/Secure Compound
Any location which is behind locked gates with no other unsecured access.

Money
Actually, it’s not just money! This term means cash, bank notes, cheques, giro cheques, bankers’ drafts, Money orders, bills of exchange, unused
postage stamps, holiday with pay stamps, credit company sales vouchers and VAT purchase invoices and luncheon vouchers!

Non Fixed Contents
Stuff which is not permanently fixed to the Trailer or Static Unit. Utensils and removable equipment fit this bill.

Pollution or Contamination means

1. Pollution or Contamination of buildings or other structures or of air or water or land and

2. Injury, Loss or Damage directly or indirectly caused by such Pollution or Contamination.

Static Unit or Trailer
A unit which is not a mechanically propelled and permanently sited and converted for the purpose of retailing food or drink

Principal
Any public authority, company firm or person to whom You have contractually agreed to supply services

Product
What you’re selling! (includes any containers) 

Territorial Limits
The UK 

We hope that helps a little but if you need any advice on insurance terms just give us a call and we’ll explain all