Adair Lewis analyses the large loss fire figures in such food establishments ahead of the holiday season

Restaurants and cafes risk review

fire losses involving restaurants and cafes. This is a sub group of the ‘Food and drink’ category in the RISCAuthority Large Loss Fires database, and is the section that collates the losses of food and drink providers, rather than manufacturers. The latter are covered by entries in industrial processing (which says a lot for what we eat) and various agricultural headings. A surprisingly high proportion of large


loss fires (9.5%) occur in catering outlets that are classified as restaurants and cafes. There were more than 500 in the nine years between 2009 and 2017; a statistically significant number of incidents. Takeaway and fast food outlets are classified differently, and were considered in a review in the June 2016 edition of FRM. The third sector in the classification, pubs and bars, were considered in September 2014. Restaurants and cafes include provision

for eating meals in a leisurely way with the provision of tables and chairs in pleasant surroundings and, with many people present, they may be identified as presenting a threat to life safety. This survey however is about property losses and, although the circumstances of the fires are not requested when the survey data is collected, many will originate in kitchen areas. Indeed, almost two thirds of the fires in

restaurants and cafes were identified as being of accidental origin, and may well have occurred during cooking operations. Overall, over half (56%) of the incidents in the sector were the result of accidents. The level of deliberate

ITH THE season of good cheer and too much food and drink approaching, it is perhaps time to have a look at

fires in restaurants and cafes was about half of that in the food and drink sector as a whole (11.6% compared with 23.2%), while the causes of about a fifth of the incidents were unable to be determined. The biggest problem faced by firefighters

attending these incidents was that of access. This is a feature that recurs frequently in these surveys, and as indicated in the past may be due to poor parking and narrow roads in town and city centres. On 16 occasions firefighters experienced access problems attending major fires in restaurants and cafes (for completeness, 17 of the total of 36 impedances due to access in the sector as a whole were at bars and wine bars, with just three at fast food outlets). It is interesting to note that the total of

36 occurrences has not increased over the past two years and this is possibly an effect of greater pedestrianisation of town centres. In three incidents, the availability of water was problematical but at least no acetylene cylinders were encountered (the one in the food and drink sector as a whole was at a bar where contractors were at work). It will be little consolation to insurers to learn that although large loss fires in restaurants and cafes make up 9.5% of the total number in the database, they account for only 5.7% of the total estimated losses. The 217 incidents in the survey period accounted for losses of nearly £91m, an average of over £400,000 for each event. Looking at the components of the insured

losses, it is no surprise to see that the two largest are the building and business interruption. It is thus vital for businesses to have a well


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60