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Kerbside appeal – Making sure you’re set up to cater for people outside your shop or restaurant

Tue 9th Jul 19

As the summer season takes off, many restaurants will see their businesses booming. With a seasonal increase in sales, takeaway shops may experience queues forming that run through the doors and spill onto the street outside. And restaurants may also want to seize the opportunity that the drier, warmer weather offers, by setting up some covers on the path just outside. 

So, what do you need to know about setting up outside your restaurant, and do you need to worry about extra cover for protecting those people outside, whether they’re queuing down the road before they buy or if they’re sitting in the sunshine enjoying your fare? Our team takes a look at protecting your kerbside appeal.

The question of queues 

Of course, when it comes to customer service, in an ideal world your queue would always only be a couple of people deep. We know, though, that at peak times, this is never possible and, in the case of fish and chips, for instance, the queue is all part of the Great British seaside experience.

Public and products liability are staples of a well-catered-for insurance policy in the hospitality industry, with public liability helping to ensure that, if a customer injures themselves while on your premises, you have adequate funds to cover any costs, and with products liability helping to ensure that, if your customer falls ill as a result of the food or drink you’ve supplied, you have the funds to cover that, too.

When your customer hasn’t yet reached your door, though, and is queuing on the pavement outside, do you still have that duty of care? Most commonly, as the person in question has not yet reached your premises, the duty of care would fall to the local public authority or to the owner of the land. You, as the business owner, would only be liable if your actions caused the injury or damage. 


Customers queuing outside The Upper Deck, Aldeburgh, Suffolk 

Setting extra seating outside your fish and chip shop           

Many hospitality businesses set up tables and chairs for their patrons on the pavement by their shop front and, with a more social, café culture emerging once more, it can be tempting to offer the same experience to your own customers.

If you’re thinking of adding covers outside your restaurant, though, you’ll first need to get permission – pavement licencing – from your local authority. This is an annual requirement and there is a cost involved in obtaining your licence, which will normally relate to the number of tables you’re setting up. As well as completing an application form, you’re likely to need to supply:

·      Plans and photographs showing the exact location, dimensions and surroundings.

·      Clear markings showing where you’d like to place the tables and chairs within that area.

·      A description of the tables, chairs and any other furniture to be used.

·      Proof of your public liability insurance, usually with a minimum cover requirement of £5,000,000.

You’ll likely also need to advertise a copy of your application at your premises for 28 days. 

When you receive your permit, it might include restrictions, such as the size of the furniture or where you can place it on the pavement. You’ll probably also have to meet other conditions, such as leaving a certain width of pavement free for pedestrians or marking around the border of your seating area with metal studs.

Keeping your hospitality business covered with Ryan’s

Whether you’re thinking about the queues outside of your premises or if you’re looking to set up tables and chairs on the pavement, public liability is a key cover for your business. For more information about insurance for your hospitality business with Ryan’s, call our Hospitality Division on 01473 343491 today.

You can find out more about getting set for the high season here.