Restaurant Insurance in Chicago: Protecting Your Clients Ventures

Chicago hosts a diverse array of restaurants, each contributing to the city’s rich tapestry of flavors. With renowned eateries nestled in iconic neighborhoods like The Loop and beyond, the restaurant scene in Chicago is not just a part of its culture but a defining force in the city’s identity. However, with great opportunities come unique challenges, and for restaurant owners, understanding the intricacies of restaurant insurance is important. In this article, we delve into the world of restaurant insurance in Chicago, exploring the specific risks and opportunities this dynamic city presents, and how Distinguished can help you better protect your clients.

Whom We Write in the Restaurant Industry

Our appetite includes:

  • Fine Dining: These are traditional “white linen” restaurants as well as less formal chef-driven establishments with high-level service.
  • Family/Casual with Full Table Service: Provides full table service and is less upscale than a fine-dining restaurant.
  • Fast Casual: Also known as “limited service” or “quick service,” patrons typically order at the counter and sit in the restaurant or take the food home.
  • Wine Bars: Upscale establishments focused on serving wine. Food, including small plates or entrees, must be available during all hours of operation.
  • Off-Premises Caterers: Caterers that do not operate their own venue but provide food/beverage services at venues owned by others.
  • Ghost Kitchens: Also known as “cloud” or “virtual kitchens,” these are cooking facilities chefs and restaurateurs lease. There is no on-premises seating, with customers using a third-party delivery service to order food.

In addition, Distinguished will consider new ventures if management has prior experience. We will also consider bars, hibachi-style cooking exposures, and incidental entertainment exposures.

What’s Included in Distinguished’s Restaurant Package

Specifically designed by insurance professionals with decades of experience in the restaurant industry, our package policy provides General Liability with limits of $1 million/$2 million, Commercial Property, and Liquor Liability coverages. On the Property side, while most restaurant owners lease their buildings, it’s important to ensure that your clients understand how critical it is to cover their building contents properly, including taking into account the cost of any improvements and betterments when determining values.

We also can provide Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), Cyber Liability, and Umbrella Liability insurance with limits up to $140 million.

Distinguished offers two Cyber programs: one for smaller accounts and the other for larger accounts with higher limits and added-value services such as a 24/7 claims hotline and risk management. Cyber insurance is critical in today’s environment for restaurants with the increased use of mobile apps and QR codes for payments. According to TouchBistro, in 2022, 84% of Chicago restaurateurs reported adding mobile payments like Apple Pay, while 77% said they added tap to pay. QR code payments remained popular, too, with 52% of operators having added this form of payment. The use of these online transactions only increases the risk of a data breach, which can be significantly costly for a restaurant without Cyber coverage.

Package Enhancements Available

We can enhance our package policy with the following key coverages:

  • Wine Valuation endorsement: If there is a covered loss, we can pay the menu price of the wine, which is especially important for fine-dining restaurants.
  • Equipment Breakdown coverage: Protects an establishment’s equipment against hazards such as power surges.
  • Sewer or Drain Backup coverage: Protects against damage from sewers, drain backup, and seepage from underground pipes.
  • Food Spoilage coverage: Protects against financial losses if a refrigeration system fails due to a covered loss, damaging supplies and ingredients. It will help pay for the cost of replacing the damaged goods.
  • Crime insurance: Protects against employee dishonesty and losses from the theft, disappearance, or destruction of money.
  • Foodborne Illness/Contamination coverage: Our policy includes business income coverage if a restaurant has to close due to a foodborne illness outbreak.

Partner with Distinguished Programs

We’re always looking to make doing business with us easy and seamless:

  • Our online submissions facilitate quick quote turnarounds, with responses delivered within 24 hours.
  • Through our user-friendly portal, you can submit, quote, and bind at your convenience, with everything you need just a few clicks away.
  • Our Restaurant experts will help you with any questions you may have — just contact us for more information.

For more information, check out some of our restaurant insurance resources below.

About Distinguished Programs

Distinguished Programs is a leading national insurance Program Manager providing specialized insurance programs to brokers and agents with specific expertise in Fine Art and Collectibles, Environmental and Construction Professional, Executive Lines, Inland Marine, Real Estate & Builder’s Risk, Community Associations, Hotels, and Restaurants. Property and Liability products are distributed through a national network of agents and brokers. Serving the same core markets and partnering with the most stable and reputable carriers, Distinguished’s high-limit Umbrella programs remain the clear choice in its area of specialty for superior coverage, competitive pricing, and attentive service. Through thoughtful innovation, stemming back to 1995, Distinguished Programs fosters growth and opportunities for its brokers, carriers, and employees.

View a full list of our programs and submit business with Distinguished.

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