The foodservice industry is the fourth-largest private-sector employer in Canada. The most recent data shows us that there are more than 65,000 restaurants across the country and more than 4,600 establishments classified as bars, taverns, and drinking places. Just like anywhere else in the world, the foodservice industry in Canada is truly a competitive landscape with very little room for error - even under normal circumstances. When the world shifts, as it did with the global pandemic, restaurant owners have been challenged to evolve with the times, and with that, are exposed to new risks. Earlier this year, restaurants, bars, distilleries, and similar establishments in certain parts of Canada have loosened regulations regarding liquor laws and the distribution of alcohol. Subsequently, businesses have capitalized on the opportunity to incorporate takeout and delivery of alcoholic products. If you’ve jumped on this new business opportunity for your establishment and are wondering what types of insurance coverage you will need moving forward, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re discussing alcohol delivery insurance and alcohol takeout insurance for your business. Let’s get started!
Alcohol Delivery and Takeout: How Long Will It Last?As a response to the COVID-19 state of emergency enacted earlier this year, many establishments were ordered to shut down. This included most gathering places such as restaurants, malls, bars, and cinemas. In order to support the hospitality industry through these trying times, provincial governments made temporary amendments to the liquor laws per province. One of such amendments involved allowing liquor takeout and delivery with the purchase of food - as seen in Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan. Establishments within these provinces quickly took advantage of the opportunity to stay connected with their customers, provide a service that saw a growth in demand, and continue to generate revenue. Presently, restaurant alcohol takeout and deliveries have gradually become the current norm. Although the temporary amendments to the liquor laws were simply made as part of the state of emergency, it’s likely that upcoming legislative changes will make alcohol deliveries and takeout permanently allowed in some parts of Canada.
Does My Liquor Liability Insurance Cover the Risks of Alcohol Delivery and Takeout?Restaurants, bars, and similar establishments that serve alcohol are slowly reopening their doors and resuming dine-in services. For such businesses, their liquor liability insurance will still serve them well, protecting them from legal and financial liabilities as detailed in the Dram Shop Laws. Liquor liability insurance will protect an establishment from instances such as:
- The establishment is sued because an intoxicated guest leaves the premises and causes a car accident, and/or
- The establishment is sued because an intoxicated guest attacked another guest
What Coverage Will I Need for Alcohol Takeout and Delivery?
Accidental InjuriesOne of the main responsibilities of any business is to maintain a safe environment for customers, suppliers, and other third-party individuals. Therefore, if a third-party individual gets injured within the premises or the physical location of your restaurant, bar, tavern, or liquor store, you can be legally or financially responsible. In the case of takeout, customers come into your establishment to pick up their order (or even to dine in). This type of coverage protects your business from accidental injuries that could happen within the premises. Coverage for accidental injury will help with legal and medical costs in cases such as:
- Not having handrails or proper lighting, causing a customer to fall and sustain injuries
- Failing to put up signage for newly mopped floors, causing a customer to slip and sustain injuries
- A fixture or panel from the ceiling falls and causes injury to a third-party individual
- The furniture or fixtures within the premises is defective and causes third-party injury
Commercial VehiclesIf your establishment has a vehicle or fleet of vehicles for delivering alcohol and/or other products, you can be held liable if your commercial vehicle gets involved in an accident resulting in property damage, bodily injury, or even death. On top of that, the cost of repairing or replacing your commercial vehicle can be steep. Coverage for commercial vehicles will assist with legal, medical, property repair, and vehicle repair/replacement costs in cases such as:
- Your commercial vehicle is involved in a collision resulting in injuries to the driver/s
- Your driver loses control of the vehicle and ends up damaging a portion of someone’s property
- The vehicle is vandalized, stolen, or damaged by a natural disaster
Product LiabilityEssentially, product liability coverage will protect your business in the event that any of your sold products cause illness, injury, or even property damage. For alcoholic beverages, whether they’re sold as takeout or delivered to the customer’s home, the focus here is mainly on the risk of these products causing illness or injury. The risks are even higher if the alcoholic beverage is prepared by the restaurant or bar. Coverage for product liability will assist with legal and medical costs in cases such as:
- The prepared alcoholic beverage was not made with good sanitation practices and causes illness
- There is a foreign object, such as a small wire, in the prepared alcoholic beverage that causes injuries to the customer after being swallowed
- The supplier gave you a tainted alcoholic product which causes your customers to be ill
- The delivered wine bottle (or other fragile components) arrived cracked and causes a customer to sustain a deep cut