I am working with a friend to establish a new food business. And one of the things we are looking at as part of setting it up is how we reduce the risk to ourselves should something go wrong. Neither of us wants to lose our houses over this. Of course you should be trying to do the right thing but sometimes stuff just happens and you want to be ready for it.Protect yourself from your food business - five practical steps you can take. Click To Tweet
There are lots of steps we are taking to make sure we are ok but I wanted to share with you the five big things we are considering/doing:
- Our business structure. At the moment we are just going to set up a partnership. But in terms of liability this does leave us more open to claims and of course we are liable if things go belly up. To limit our liability we could set up a company. But setting up a company can be expensive depending on where you live and the laws in place So for now while we try this out we are going to stick with a partnership but if everything goes well, I think we will go down the company route soon. I’ll do a more detailed post on the different structures in a couple of weeks, but because laws vary, I strongly recommend you get advice from someone who lives where you are. But the post I am going to do will at least give you a starting point for that conversation and possibly save you paying for someone to explain the basics.
- Insurance. We are definitely investing in this. If someone gets food poisoning then you want to be covered. Similarly if a fire starts and you lose all your equipment and can’t keep producing you may want to be insured. And depending on your set up you probably also want to be covered in case someone slips on a floor or does some other damage at your site. I’ll post in more detail on this as well but again the best tip I can give you is go talk to an insurance broker about what you need. In some cases you may be legally required to have insurance, particularly if you employ staff or have vehicles.
- Following the law. I know the laws around food safety can be quite complex and seem quite onerous but they are set up with public safety in mind. I personally want to make sure that the food we prepare is not going to make anyone ill. I want the experience of eating our food to be a pleasant one, not one tarred with memories of stomach issues or worse. I figure Government is perhaps more cautious than is necessary in many cases but that the gold standard in food safety is what we want for our product. Plus Insurance is all well and good but if you aren’t acting in accordance with the law then the insurance company may be able to reject or reduce your claim.
- Getting trained. As with following the laws, training is another step in reducing the likelihood of a dodgy product. Both my friend and I have done food safety courses in previous lives but will be brushing up to make sure we are on top of the latest advice.
- Starting simple. One big decision we have made is to start with simple products that are less likely to have food safety issues. While this may not be an option for everyone – hard to avoid with things like sushi, it is definitely something to think about if you can. Things like raw egg mayonnaise can be tricky to get right even if you do have a reputable supplier let alone for a new business. So unless you are selling raw egg mayonnaise as your product, perhaps you can go with a mayonnaise with pasteurised eggs until you get your systems and producers sorted. It may also be easier to comply with food safety laws if you start off simple. Don’t make life harder than it needs to be. The food business is hard enough as it is.
Do you have any tips for protecting yourself from your business? Hop on over to the facebook page and share your tips or leave a comment below.
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