Whether you are cooking for 2 or cooking for a crowd, in your home or in a client's home, we've got you covered. Yes, that's right - even if it's in your home! Any time you invite people into your home, if there is a business transaction in relation to your dinner party (whether you receive money or you barter it for goods/services in exchange for cooking), then you must have liability insurance. It doesn't matter if you're a trained Chef, a Cook, or Home Cook, without it, you are personally liable should anything happen.
If you provide dinner party services in another location such as your client's homes, then you also need liability insurance. This will protect you should you damage their property while providing the service (e.g. drop a saucepan and break a floor tile) or have a claim of food poisoning - even if it later turns out to be caused by something else that was consumed, you will likely incur legal fees, which the insurance company will usually cover.
Operating any foodservice business without liability insurance is risky, and could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run. Would you pay someone to cook food for you who didn't care enough to protect your health and wellbeing? Without the protection of liability insurance, a pop up restaurant would be responsible for any costs of a medical or legal claim. If they don't have the money to pay, then, depending on the company structure, could leave the business owners responsible for these costs.
Your local government will require that food for sale be prepared in a kitchen that has been inspected and meets health standards. Cooking in your home kitchen will not be acceptable unless it has been officially inspected and passes their criteria, is independent from your family kitchen and solely used for your business (i.e. not personal, home cooking). This can be costly, especially if you have to have to create a new kitchen space. An alternative is to use a commercial kitchen that rents by the hour or by the day.
Your home insurance company will need to be notified any time you operate a business from home, otherwise any claims may not be honoured, leaving you to pay for the costs relating to the claim out of your own pocket. So, for example, if you damage your home while working or have business-related meetings at home and someone slips and falls, for example, then these may not be covered if your insurance company was unaware that business was being conducted.
If you are renting, you should also check your tenancy agreement and notify your landlord, as there may be terms in your tenancy agreement that prohibit business operations; ignoring this could result in you being evicted or sued by your landlord.
Commercial General Liability Insurance is a must for anyone preparing food commercially. It protects you and your finances should there be a claim from someone consuming your food; it also protects should a claim arise from clients coming to your home for business-related meetings or to pick up food. Without it, you will be personally liable for your legal fees and all the costs of a successful claim. Having it protects your hard-earned income and gives you peace of mind. This is where Chef Insurance comes in, and our Success Managers are always ready to assist and answer your questions.
Your accountant can advise you on how to set up your business to take advantage of tax rules relating to business expenses. You should also discuss the best way to set up your business (e.g. a sole proprietorship, a corporation etc.) to declare income, whether you need to charge sales tax etc. Remember, it is a crime to earn income, including tips, without declaring it to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and there can be serious consequences for doing so. Being convicted of tax evasion can also lead to fingerprinting, court imposed fines, jail time, and a criminal record. When taxpayers are convicted of tax evasion, they must still repay the full amount of taxes owing, plus interest and any civil penalties assessed by the CRA.
There are many practices that are OK for a home-cook preparing food for their own family that are not OK when preparing food for sale. If you have not already done so, you should enrol in a course to get up-to-date food safety training. After all, anyone working with food can have a serious effect on the health and wellbeing of those consuming the food - it could be a matter of life and death. Being armed with the necessary knowledge of how to handle food correctly, is essential to any foodservice business.
The Chef Alliance is a leading foodservice association in Canada offering Chefs and Entrepreneurs a place to grow their business. They can benefit from liability insurance to protect their clients and finances, peer support strengthen their business, discounts to lower their business costs, market their services and increase profits. This leaves them time to concentrate on what they do best - cook great food!