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Top Liability Issues Restaurant and Bar Owners Face

Top Liability Issues Restaurant and Bar Owners Face

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If you want to protect your business from legal affairs, start by learning about the most common liability issues restaurant and bar owners face.

It is important to learn how you can prevent them from impacting you. Dealing with a legal issue is one of the most stressful things a restaurant or bar owner can experience. These establishments are susceptible to problems with the law due to their social nature and fast-past environment.

Continue reading to learn some of the most common liability issues restaurant and bar owners face and how to avoid them.

Driving Under the Influence 

The most common type of liability issue restaurant and bar owners face comes from over-serving alcohol to a patron who then gets behind the wheel. Dram shop laws allow the victims of DUI accidents to pursue compensation from every party responsible. In most states, including Utah, this liability can extend to alcohol-serving establishments.

Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is something all restaurant and bar owners regularly encounter. In order to protect your business, make sure you are carding every customer before serving them alcohol. If your establishment knowingly or unknowingly serves liquor to a minor, you could be at risk.

Injuries From Fights

It is not uncommon for a fight to break out in a bar. Alcohol can impair judgment and cause tempers to flare, leading to violent outcomes. Your establishment could be named in a lawsuit for not breaking up the fight, serving the beverages, or for a variety of other reasons that lead to injury or property damage.


Accidents frequently occur in restaurants and bars, so it is essential to be protected. Common accidents owners may encounter include, but are not limited to:

  • lip-and-falls
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Food contamination
  • Choking
  • An injury to a bystander due to a fight

No Exit Zone

Clearly marked exits should not be overlooked in an eating establishment. If an emergency occurs and patrons are unable to exit, the claims for bodily injury could be significant. Ensure that all exits are clearly labeled, unblocked, and easily accessible at all times.

Health Code Issues

Health and safety concerns usually arise from carelessness in food and drink preparation and handling. A lack of sanitation and proper cooking procedures can lead to various forms of food-borne illness. Avoiding this type of liability requires adherence to food safety codes established by your state health department. Here are a few tips to keep your business up to code:

  • Follow food safety temperatures
  • Properly store all food
  • Maintain proper personal hygiene, including handwashing
  • Keep a clean and sanitized work space
  • Avoid cross-contamination

Protect Your Business with Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton

There are many liability issues restaurant and bar owners potentially face every day. You cannot stop all lawsuits from happening, but the attorneys at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can help you protect yourself and your business if liabilities arise.

We have offices in Orem, Provo, Saratoga Springs, and West Jordan, Utah. Contact us for your free case evaluation today.