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Food for Thought, Wise Words from Jenn!


By: Jennifer Barrett, Director of Commercial Lines Operations at Hometown Insurance


I do get asked a lot of business insurance questions, especially by restaurant owners wanting to understand their coverage needs. There is a lot to know and this will take more than one article to cover.

The best advice I can give is:

• Take care of business and what is important first. How do you know what is important? Glad you asked, read on…

• Plan ahead

• Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets, you can never have too many spreadsheets (or second mothers)

Everyone has their own opinion of how they think restaurant business insurance should be laid out. Let me ask you:

Me: “What kind of coverage do you need?”

Business Owner: “Why are you asking me that question, don’t you know?”

Me: “To insure your business properly, I need to know about you: what kind of personal property, what will you serve, what is your commitment?”

Business Owner: “What personal property stuff are you talking about?”

Me: “Well, for personal property, let’s take a saltshaker and turn it upside down, the “stuff” that falls out is your personal property to be covered. Then sometimes there are larger items that can’t quite make it out of the shaker and might be bolted down.”

We can divert risk by reclassifying those as building (permanently affixed equipment), classified differently from typical structure coverage.

Me: “What kind of food and drink are you serving? What are the prices?”

Specialty drinks or casual beverage such as alcohol means there will be liquor liability. And not just that you will serve drinks but the rating matters. Fine dining with a $100 bottle of wine tells one story while serving a bucket of wings with $2 drafts tells another. Your clientele can determine if we think you are going to be exposed to a claim with a bar-room brawl (Picture the Police Academy club scene).

Me: “What is your Background? What made you decide to open a restaurant and what is your culinary background?”

Business Owner:  “Why does that matter?”

Well, did you attend higher education to learn your craft or did you learn on the job? So many owners get their start busing or being a sous chef. That is a great way to start but sometimes leaves out the finer points a formal education can provide.

What is your commitment to your customer and craft? Are you the person that attends ongoing classes, or travels to elevate your skills and expand your palate? These efforts can make a difference in your success and keep your customers loyal and coming back.

The more we know about you, the more we can help you.

Insurance companies have an appetite for what they are willing to write. Commercial appetite for class of business changes daily. We have access to many different markets. A good agent or broker stays well- informed and involved and can tell you what companies will best suit your exposures and mitigate your risk. Call us.

We want to protect your asset as much as you want your customers and asset to grow!


We care about your business! Call your trusted Hometown Insurance Broker for a review today at 1-800-568-SAVE (7283) or contact us by email at for helpful information.

We work for you!

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