Restaurants that label products as gluten-free, a diet that excludes gluten - a protein by in wheat, rye, barley, malts and triticale - need to seek protection from insurance policies in case the food they serve to customers elicits a reaction.
A gluten allergy affects nearly 10 percent of Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Keeping these statistics in mind, restaurants are looking for ways to cater to these customers by offering a gluten-free menu. However, complications often occur in the kitchen, which can cause items that were intended to be gluten-free to actually contain traces of gluten.
Accidents happen in restaurants, and owners would be wise to make sure they cannot be held liable for any potential health problems that can stem from someone with celiac disease eating in their establishments. Potential liability insurance claims could perhaps ruin the reputation of a restaurant, as well as destroy it financially.
"As with most insurance claims, one small misstep can cost an owner the restaurant that took a lifetime to build," said Ted Devine, chief executive officer of a small business insurance company. "Insurance is not a luxury - even for the smallest of restaurants."
Work to avoid insurance claims
Preparation is the key to making sure customers ordering gluten-free items receive their food without any trace of the protein. An article for Kitchens With Confidence described a few ways restaurant owners can make sure their staff are ready to serve customers gluten-free products.
•Labeling and storage: Restaurant owners must create their own system for making sure that their staff are well aware of the difference between gluten free products and regular ingredients. Whether it be color coordinating or labeling storage bins for materials, restaurant owners need to make sure these ingredients are never cross-contaminated.
•Training staff: A well-trained staff can always benefit restaurant owners, and it is especially important when serving gluten-free products. Every staff member should know the ins and the outs of a gluten-free diet, as well as be prepared to answer questions about which items on a menu are gluten free. Staff members should also be trained to wash their hands thoroughly before preparing gluten-free food.