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Serving Oklahoma’s Finest

Insurance for Restaurants

The team at CompSource Mutual offers unmatched expertise in providing top-notch workers’ compensation coverage to Oklahoma restaurants. We have worked with Oklahoma businesses for more than 85 years and know the risks of the restaurant industry in and out.

Let us help you protect the team that keeps Oklahomans fed.We’ll help you get coverage that makes sense for the work you do at a fair price. Get a Quote

Interested to learn more? Read on to get answers to common questions and concerns about workers’ comp in the restaurant industry.

Types of restaurant workers

There are many different types of workers in restaurants. Although you may only see a few types—the customer-facing workers, such as the wait staff or bartenders—there are numerous people involved in a restaurant’s operations working behind the scenes. These workers may include:

  • Bus staff
  • Counter workers/fast-food workers
  • Hosts/hostesses
  • Servers/bartenders
  • Caterers
  • Restaurant managers
  • Kitchen staff, such as line cooks and chefs

The vast majority (75%) of food service workers work in restaurants or other dining locations. Fewer than 20% of food service workers are employed in healthcare settings, retail environments, and educational service providers (such as local schools).

Working with food always carries some risk. All food industry workers may be exposed to spills, hot water, sharp knives or utensils, and other hazards. Most restaurant workers are also on their feet all day, leading to fatigue, repetitive motion injuries (particularly for kitchen workers, who might be washing dishes or chopping food all day), or strains. Significant kitchen hazards are slips or falls, as floors can be wet from dishes or spilled food.

Like any business, a restaurant should carry insurance to protect itself and its employees. There are numerous types of insurances for restaurants, including liability insurance and restaurant workers’ compensation insurance.

Known risks in Restaurants:
  • Burns
  • Slips, trips, and falls 
  • Lifting injuries
  • Equipment injuries

Restaurant worker classification and insurance for restaurants

Many workers in the food industry are employed part-time, temporarily, or seasonally. However, this does not mean that restaurants are exempt from carrying workers’ compensation insurance according to most states’ work compensation laws. In Oklahoma, a potentially relevant exemption to the restaurant industry is the small family business exemption, in which businesses with five or fewer employees, all of whom are related to the owner, may not need to carry workers’ compensation insurance for those employees. For example, a small, family-run deli or diner might fall under this category. However, most restaurants would likely not qualify for an exemption. Business owners should contact the appropriate local government entity to find out about exemptions and qualification statuses in their areas. In practice, this means that an employee of a restaurant who becomes injured or ill as a result of a work-related duty may file a restaurant workers’ comp claim. Receiving work injury compensation is important for any injured employee, as it can help them recover more quickly through access to appropriate medical attention. Workers’ comp coverage is also beneficial for the business because protecting employees also safeguards the business from potentially expensive liability lawsuits. Workers’ compensation insurance for restaurants is critical, and more importantly, usually mandatory.

Despite being classified as employees, many front-of-house workers, such as servers and bartenders, make part of their earnings in tips from patrons. These tips may come in the form of additions to credit card bills, which would be paid to servers later, or cash, given directly to the servers. Many front-of-house workers “pool” their cash tips, or combine them all into a single pot, then divide them evenly at the end of the night. In a tipping system like this, part of an employee’s wages are paid by patrons, not the business.

Understanding workers’ compensation insurance for restaurants

While workers are technically required to report their tips to their employers, many do not. This can have consequences for the restaurant payroll. Without tips, the total payroll may appear artificially low. This can affect the restaurant workers’ compensation insurance rates because insurance companies use the company’s payroll to calculate workers’ comp premiums.

To calculate workers’ comp premiums, insurance companies use a formula based on a certain rate for every $100 of payroll. If workers and the business owner are under-reporting their payroll, the insurance premiums may be temporarily low, but the business is at risk of paying a higher rate if this under-reporting is discovered later in a workers’ comp audit. It is also important to understand that premiums can be affected by industry risks and an employer’s previous loss history.

Some restaurants have experimented with a no-tipping system, in which the business pays the workers a higher wage and does not ask its patrons to give tips to the staff. This system may make calculating workers’ comp premiums easier since there are no tips to declare as part of the payroll. While this system works for some restaurants, others cannot absorb paying the higher wages and financially rely on patrons to tip. It’s still a question as to whether this model will become popular or successful in the American food industry. In either model, businesses would still be required by the state to carry workers’ comp insurance for restaurant workers.

Why CompSource Mutual

Restaurants both big and small can benefit from carrying workers’ compensation coverage. As Oklahoma’s longest-standing provider of workers’ compensation insurance for restaurants, we’re equipped to support you with industry expertise, outstanding customer service, and fair pricing. Connect with us today at 800-347-3863 or request a quote.

If you are hurt while working at a fast-food restaurant, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides benefits to employees who are injured in a covered workplace accident. If you are classified as a fast-food restaurant employee, even if you are part-time, you could be eligible to file a restaurant workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation provider.
Fast-food insurance is a general term for the different types of insurance that you might need for a fast-food business. Insurance types can include workers’ compensation insurance, general liability insurance, risk or property insurance, and business interruption insurance.
Different types of insurance for restaurants are available for purchase, including but not limited to public liability insurance, employers’ liability insurance, restaurant building insurance, contents insurance, stock insurance, legal expenses insurance, and workers’ insurance.

Workers’ compensation premiums are calculated at a specific rate per every $100 of your business’s payroll. A typical range for coverage ranges from about $10,000/year for a smaller establishment with fewer employees to more than $100,000/year for a much larger restaurant, like a chain. However, premiums can also be affected by other factors such as an employer’s previous loss history and risks inherent to the industry in which the organization does business.

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Meet Our Safety Team

Are you committed to making your workplace safer? We’re here to make it easy for you. CompSource Mutual policyholders can get advice from our safety consultants and access personalized resources – it’s all absolutely free.

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