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Guest Post: 10 Must-Know Facts on Biodynamic Wines for Beginners

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What about the label do you look at when you are buying wine?  Do you concern yourself with the varietal?  The vintage?  Maybe you like a particular region.  Many wine drinkers are concerned with the footprint being left by their wine, and the chemicals used in the process.  These and other consumers are leaning toward organic wines.

When looking at organic wines you may come across biodynamic wines, too. This is a sector of the wine industry that has exploded over the past several years as people’s awareness of the environment has increased.

Here are ten facts to introduce you to biodynamic wines and agriculture.

  1. Biodynamic Agriculture uses sustainable practices – those farming practices which have the smallest effect on the land, animals, communities and health of the area where they are grown.
  1. All biodynamic wines are organic, but not all organic wines are biodynamic.  Organic agriculture is farming that does not use pesticides or any other chemicals in the growth or production of food and plants.  Biodynamic agriculture is organic but also includes other components beyond a lack of chemicals.  No biodynamic wines are vegan as the skulls, horns, bladders and other parts of animals are used in the preparation process.
  1. Austrian Rudolf Steiner is credited with the popularity of biodynamic farming.  In the 1920’s Steiner, a philosopher, began promoting the idea that the increased industrialization of farming would damage the earth and eventually lead to its destruction.  He believed in holistic approaches to all things, including farming, by melding the spiritual with the physical and treating farms as one sustainable organism.  The farm, including all of its land, people, animals and processes, are treated as vital components of this organism which is treated with a balance of spirituality, ethics, and sustainability to yield what Steiner believed were responsible, healthy products and retain soil health.  Biodynamics was born from Steiner’s particular philosophical development, anthroposophy.  Asked to talk to farmers about decreasing soil and food quality, Steiner gave a series of lectures in 1924 entitled, “Agriculture Course” – it is believed that these lectures sparked the movement.
  1. The largest number of biodynamic farms are found in Germany, where Steiner first lectured on the topic.  Biodynamic vineyards exist throughout all of the world’s major wine regions.
  1. A wine made with biodynamic grapes is different from a biodynamic wine.  Biodynamic wine, which will be certified by Demeter, not only grows the grapes biodynamically but also uses processes which follow the rules of biodynamics.  This means that biodynamic wines often look different – less clear or even cloudy and with a different color than what is usually seen.  No yeast or other materials are added to the wine to enhance color, flavor or clarity.  If the bottle says, “Made with biodynamically grown grapes” but does not contain the Demeter badge, the wine is not biodynamic.
  1. Biodynamic agriculture relies on natural forces of the world, like lunar phase and position in a particular constellation, to schedule planting and harvesting.  Depending on which part of a crop is used (seed, root, leaf and stem, or flower) it is planted and harvested at a different time.
  1. Biodynamics uses preparations, fertilizers and treatments made of natural products like manure, herbs and minerals, to treat the soil.  Over time these can change the health of the soil, inoculate the plant life growing in it and inhibit certain microorganisms from growing thus creating better soil for what is being produced.  The preparations begin with 500 and run through 508.  Each preparation is placed into a particular vessel, allowed to mature, and then used on the soil.  500 and 501 are field treatments while 502-508 are used to prepare compost.
  1. Biodynamics and its principals are accessible to non farmers through a variety of organizations’ free resources for interested people.  Whether it’s a free introductory course based in Oregon in the United States or paying for recordings from national conferences.  There are also scholarships available for those who wish to learn more from sources requiring payment but with limited funds.
  1. Demeter, a German organization, designates the veracity of all products claiming to be biodynamically grown and produced and provides labeling to certify these products.  While not just wines, you can search their database to find biodynamic wines by starting here.  The database can also be sorted by country, livestock, product and many more categories.
  1. Biodynamicists believe that even when you drink wine should be based on the biodynamic calendar and that biodynamic wine should not be drunk during a full moon but rather a crescent.

While not developed by a scientist nor tested enough to see the long term impact of biodynamic farming and processes on the wine, there is definitely a case to be made for lower impact, humane, ethical products including wine.  The next time you pick up a few bottles, why not try a biodynamic wine?

About the Author: Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim Edison has a deep love for wine and anything that has to do with it. Coming from a family of wine lovers, he developed this passion from an early age and has since had the chance to visit many of the notable wine regions throughout the world, and likes to share these experiences with his readers.

Guest Post: The Dirty Dozen (Plus Clean Fifteen) Infographic

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The use of pesticides has exploded the past few years. In their latest report the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that over a billion tons of pesticide was used in the United States alone and over 5 billion was used worldwide.

Pesticides have a negative effect on people and have been linked to health problems like hormonal disorders, birth defects and several types of cancers. Even when experts say pesticides found in produce are below threshold levels, a CDC research shows otherwise.

If you ask me that is a lot and given the choice, I’d prefer not to eat pesticide ridden food but there’s a problem – if you’re going to buy everything organic, it will almost double or even triple your grocery bill so we need an alternative.

Fortunately for consumers there is a workaround for that.

The Environmental Working Group has a nifty tool that shows you exactly which fruits and vegetables are the “dirtiest”, hence you have to buy organic and which ones are “clean” – you can opt for the conventionally grown variants. They call this the “Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen” which is published annually to help consumers shop smarter.

You’ll see an infographic equivalent of this list below that you can print out and bring with you whenever you go out to shop. It also shows you a list of 5 places where you can buy organic produce at a lower price compared to a retail store which is a great way to save. I have also included a quick guide to labels that will help you distinguish what is organic, conventional and genetically modified so make sure to scroll all the way down to see those goodies.


Just remember to always wash every fruit and vegetable you buy whether it is organic or not just to make sure it is free of contaminants that may cause salmonella or any other type of food poisoning. Happy shopping!

About the Author: Garrick is a regular guy who loves to juice. He started Juicing with G because his mom gave him a juicer and he wanted to document his journey along with the recipes he has tried to help others who may want to get into juicing and not make the same mistakes he did. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Guest Post: Grilling Pizza on the Barbecue

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Pizza Header

What better way to coast through the final stretch of winter than to begin planning your spring and summer dinner parties? As soon as your barbecue is freed from its winter storage spot, try our methods for grilling pizza on it, and you’ll be ready to impress your guests with pizza that tastes like it came out of a wood-fired oven. For a pizza dough recipe that can be used for any grilling method, check out this article by John Thomas.

Indirect Grilling Method

Indirectly grilling your pizza is the simplest method, as you don’t have to scramble to top the pizza mid-grill. Position your lit charcoal on the left side of the grill, and slide your topped pizza onto the right side. Close the lid and grill for 15-20 minutes. Monitor your dome temperature and adjust your grill-time accordingly. Halfway through, rotate the pizza 180 degrees to ensure it cooks through evenly.

Pizza Indirect

Direct Grilling Method

This method of grilling pizza involves placing the dough directly on the grill, with no toppings. Grill the first side of the dough for three to five minutes. Keep in mind that this will eventually become the top of the pizza, so keep the grill-time shorter if you like it slightly “rarer.” During this time, have your topping handy, as you’ll be topping the pizza while it’s on the grill. After you’ve flipped the pizza to begin grilling the second side, top it according to your preference, and then close the dome for the remaining length of time – around 10 minutes. Closing the dome will allow the heat to be applied to the toppings to ensure the cheese is melted before the crust begins to char too much.

Pizza Direct

Pizza Stone

If you’re a true pizza aficionado, it may be worthwhile to invest in a pizza stone. The stone can be used on the grill in the summer, and also in the oven during the colder months. The key to grilling pizza on the stone is the placement of the charcoal briquettes. Make sure they are distributed properly to ensure that the dough and toppings cook at a similar rate: most charcoal should be placed on the left side of the grill (with the pizza on a stone on the right side), a few briquettes should be scattered on the right side, and a remaining few should be placed in a charcoal basket on top of the grill (on the left side).

Preheat the pizza stone for 10-15 minutes before placing the topped pizza on it, to cook for an additional 10-20 minutes with the lid closed. Make sure to rotate the pizza 180 degrees halfway through.

Pizza On The Stone

Author Bio: is a lifestyle blog that aims to bring you expert content about anything and everything in an around your home.

Note:  The images shown in this guest blog post were used with the permission of, who is the owner of these images.

Guest Post: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Your Own Food

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Growing your own food in an eco-friendly manner is all about working with the environment and harnessing the power of nature in order to bring the best out of your organic garden. The practice of sustainable gardening has shown its numerous potentials and benefits over the years for both the environment and human health. However, growing organic fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t make mistakes. Avoiding synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides is great, but not if you overdo or skip some other important steps. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when growing their own food.

The importance of proper mulching

Mulching is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Essentially, it is the practice of covering the garden soil with organic or inorganic materials to affect both the soil and the growing plants. Its benefits include keeping weeds down, conserving water, improving the soil and creating a garden much more aesthetically pleasing. Unlike inorganic ones, organic mulches are completely natural as they are made from plant materials that decompose, thus staying in the soil.

It is important to know what to use as and how to apply it. According to Brisbane Tree Experts, you should not use live green materials in your mulch because this can extract nitrogen from the soil. Experts add that mulch must be applied to a depth of approximately 3 inches to optimize weed suppression and water retention. Never apply mulch directly around the plant’s base, and cover the root zones as much as possible.

Planting too closely, too deeply or too shallow

Planting seeds too closely to each other is one of the most common beginner mistakes. The young plants have to compete for water, sun and soil nutrients and a fair share of them do not survive in the process. Sometimes it is okay to plant seeds closer than usual, but only if you thin the patch and remove the (mostly edible) seedlings to leave enough space for other plants. Another good way is to leave some of those vegetable thinnings to serve as mulch.

However, it is advised to follow the instructions found on the seed packaging when it comes to the depth of planting. Generally speaking, larger seeds should be planted a bit deeper than the smaller ones, but planting them too deep will cause them to fail to sprout and they will not reach the surface. On the other hand, shallow planting will prevent stronger root growth and cause the young plant to fall out or the seed to simply dry out.

Fertilizing and compost – feeding both plants and the soil

Applying too much or too little fertilizer won’t produce healthy plants that grow the way they should. It is important to find the perfect amount of nitrogen to induce both vigorous growth and ripening in plants. Leafy green vegetables rely heavily on nitrogen, but you should not over-fertilize because this will prevent the plants from becoming ripe. The same goes for root vegetables – too much nitrogen and all you get is extreme growth and no ripe tubers. On the other hand, a couple of inches of compost will keep the soil fed by stimulating healthy microbe growth and neutralizing the negative effects of synthetic fertilizers at the same time.

Neglecting the benefits of insects and spiders

Not all insects are harmful for crops. Quite the opposite – they can be essential for the life of every garden. Bees and spiders are excellent examples of how insects may be extremely useful. Bees are pollinators, while spiders eat most of the harmful insects. Therefore, killing all forms of life, both harmful and harmless can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your plants. It is much better to use organic pest control solutions such as garlic insect repellent and watch your garden flourish.

About the Author: Mackenzie is an advocate of sustainable gardening. She believes that even the smallest urban corners can be transformed into small gardens where food can be produced.

Guest Post: What will the food industry look like in 40 years?

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With scientists already using animal stem cells to grow edible meat it might not be too long before the majority of the meat we eat will be grown in a lab –or possibly even our own kitchens. But when might that prediction become a reality, and what other technologies are set to impact the food industry in the near future?

The internet

For various reasons, the impact of the internet on many aspects of the food industry has been remarkably limited; especially when lined up against the likes of media and travel. So far, a disruptive pretender the can match the likes of AirBnb or Wikipedia has not materialized for food. There are plenty of signs, however, it will soon enough.

In the UK, two major businesses – Ocado and Just Eat – available for stock market investing had success with bringing together the internet and food. Both have done so by facilitating online ordering in from traditional players in their spheres. As such, neither has disrupted the status quo.

Instead, disruption has come in the form of Lidl and Aldi, who have competed heavily on price instead of utilizing technology. Nevertheless, disruption has occurred, and change in food retailing looks likely. Several businesses are looking to take advantage of this change; bringing fresh, ethically sourced food to consumers by utilizing the power of the internet. Blue Apron, Saffron Fix and Farmdrop are among them. Sooner rather than later, someone will succeed.

Drone delivery

One of the reasons that success has not materialized yet may be to do with the relative inefficiency and inconvenience of food delivery. The sheer variety of products consumers tend to buy and still relative ease of doing so in a local shop has kept physical shopping competitive. Walking or driving to a supermarket for a weekly (or increasingly, daily) shop is for many a lesser evil than planning (and paying) days ahead for a less-regular shop.

As such, a degree of immediacy to the online shopping experience could go a long way. It is here where nascent drone technology could come to play a part.

That drones will be a large factor in online shopping seems clear. Amazon is testing the technology in Canada and has released proof of concept videos. DHL delivers medicine to a small island near Germany via a drone copter.

In grocery shopping, the technology could be the break many are waiting for. Even most new food delivery companies fail to offer an immediate service to customers. Blue Apron deliver on a weekly basis, Farmdrop take two days for delivery or collection. Saffron Fix (though not yet operational) will deliver on the same day, but only if an order is placed before noon.

Drone delivery will change that, allowing online shopping to become far more timely and convenient. Choose your dinner for the evening, and have the ingredients arrive within minutes. Short of printing the food yourself, more convenience is hard to imagine.

Home printing

So when might printable food become a reality?

Food printing saw its first major breakthrough in 2013, when a lab-grown burger was unveiled and given to food critics. Many proclaimed the moment as the beginning of the end for the traditional meat industry, and many more vowed never to eat the end product despite its ethical credentials.

Even for those of us less squeamish about alternatively sourced meat, the price tag – currently over £200,000 per burger – is a little off-putting.

Clearly, then, the point where meat is grown in our kitchens without an animal ever entering the process is a little way off. Other foods, though, are probably a little easier to produce. Confectionery and chocolate printing is already possible, and plenty of stakeholders – NASA among them – are researching further uses for the technology.

Of course, when technology is still this far off, predicting the companies best set to take advantage is tough. Major supermarkets have shown a real ability to stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies over several decades. That ability has shown signs of faltering for the first time this year, however, backing a disruptive new player might prove a shrewd choice.

About the Author: Jessica Foreman is a Durham University graduate specializing in business and lifestyle based writing. She has developed her skills on projects surrounding The British Broadcasting Company, and running a print and online based magazine whilst at university. She is currently looking towards starting her Masters in Mobile and Personal Communications as well as broadening her horizons through travelling, first stop being Thailand.

Guest Post: To Your Health – Wellness Benefits of Red Wine

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The most obvious benefits of enjoying a glass of red wine are self-evident and undeniable: complex flavor, ideal accompaniment for a delicious meal, a temporarily improved outlook on life, but what is less clear-cut is the health benefits of drinking red wine on a regular basis. Recent years have brought forth significant evidence that drinking red wine is good for far more than a good buzz, and you may be surprised at how much a glass of wine can improve your health as well as your night.

The Cardio Protective Effect

Years of research have determined that moderate and regular intake of alcohol helps maintain good cardiovascular function. This is known as the “cardio protective effect,” and a Harvard University research study concluded that this effect is one of the eight proven ways to reduce risk of coronary disease. This effect is especially pronounced in red wine due to the presence of antioxidants, compounds abundantly present in red grapes and the driving force behind the cardio protective effect.


Flavonoids are a naturally occurring byproduct of grapes with a range of health benefits. Flavonoids limit the body’s production of LDL cholesterol while increasing its production of HDL, effectively replacing “bad” cholesterol with “good” and improving the overall health of your body. Flavonoids also reduce blood clotting, allowing the blood to flow more freely and reducing the risk of cardiopulmonary disease.

The effects of red wine go beyond the heart as well. Recent research has linked another antioxidant, resveratrol, to inhibited development of cancerous growths in the body. The same compound is believed to assist in the production of nerve cells, which experts hope will prove helpful in the battle against nervous system diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Which Wines are Best for Health?

In general, drier and heavier wines have more of the beneficial compounds that promote better health, with full-bodied cabernets and Syrah wines containing the highest levels of antioxidants. Both sweeter reds and white wines are known to have much lower concentrations of these compounds than dry red wines, and so drinkers looking to maximize these health benefits should choose these wines.

A daily glass from Cellar Master Wines can deliver surprising benefits for your health, but as with all things, moderation is key. Most people will experience optimal benefits from red wine by drinking just one or two four ounce glasses daily, as significantly more will bring about a range of other health concerns that more than offset any benefits. Regardless, the evidence that a bit of red wine is good for your health is overwhelming.

Guest Post: Why Is Filtration Crucial To The Food And Beverage Manufacturing Process?

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American food is safe because we have incredibly high food safety standards. And at the heart of those standards is the filtration that occurs during any type of processing – from dairy and oils to meat and sugar. During filtration, particulates and contaminants are safely removed. Read on to get a better understanding of the filtration process, its role in food processing and the sectors that see some of the biggest benefits.

The Role of Filtration

The filtration requirement in food processing might not be immediately obvious without context. Here are the key reasons food processors put such a strong emphasis on this stage:

-          It’s the law. Food safety regulations are very strict, and for good reason. Consumers must be kept safe. A seemingly minor slip up in food safety can shake consumer confidence. For that reason alone, even without regulations, quality filtration is in a food processor’s best interest.

-          Bacteria love unprocessed food. In fact, they thrive in it. If it weren’t for the filtering stage, bacteria would enjoy a free ride from raw materials all the way to your stomach – that is, if they didn’t spoil the food entirely before it even makes it to the shelf. Bacteria breeds naturally in many raw materials, drifting in and around food products. Even the air wafting over a storage tank is riddled with hungry bacteria. Filtration is done early in the food-processing stage to remove bacteria, and it is done again immediately before packaging so that no bacteria can slip in while en route to the shelf.

-          Even non-bacteria contaminants can be hazardous. For example, food substances from other stages of processing can cause contamination. Allergens can pose a threat. Even inorganic particles from dust can seriously degrade the quality of packaged food or beverages.

Sectors that Rely on Filtration

-          Meat Grinding. Nobody wants to know how sausage gets made, but they love the finished product. When any animal products are in the rendering stage, filtration is needed to remove bits of bone and gristle or any other undesirable particles. That way, you can sit back and enjoy.

-          Dairy. Milk, butter, cheese – it all must be thoroughly filtered for bacteria and contaminants. For that matter, so do baking products, such as baking powder and lard.

-          Grains. Bacteria love grains and corn products as much as you do, which is why they must be thoroughly filtered before being put on the shelf.

-          Edible Oils. Not only is filtration a safety issue in edible oils, but it also affects shelf appeal. Visible sediment or a cloudy oil product isn’t appetizing and won’t sell.

-          Sweets. Yes, even the ingredients in your candy corn must be filtered. Sugar and starches are susceptible to bacteria contamination like anything else. Similarly, chocolate is a bacteria target while in the raw.

As you can see, a lot of work goes into separating the good from the bad, and filtration is what makes it possible on an industrial level.

Author Bio:

Jeff Maree is the Product Specialist at Eaton Filtration Online a leading online supplier of industrial filtration products for a wide range of liquid handling and filtration needs. Jeff works with food manufacturing professionals to ensure sure they are getting the correct product to keep their machines and workers safe.

Guest Post: Liven Up Dessert with your Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine

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Give up the boring chocolate and vanilla, and take a walk on the wild side! Commercial self-serve ice cream doesn’t have to be boring at all. Done right, it can beat traditional ice cream hands down and be just as wild as some of the foodie flavors of hand-churned ice creams out there today.

Soft serve makes an excellent addition to the menu all year round. Even when Mother Nature is blowing her top with frozen cold, cold desserts are still in demand. So if you have a soft serve machine that has only seen chocolate and vanilla in its life, it’s time to try something different.

First of all, get the idea right out of your head that soft serve machines can make only soft serve.  You’ve got a whole range of frozen desserts available to you through your soft serve machine. There’s no need to worry about getting a different machine for frozen yogurt, soft serve ice cream, gelato, or custard. It’s just a matter of changing the mix and the overrun.

There are some gourmet restaurants out there who are using standard soft serve flavors and mixing them with their own imagination to come up with exciting new additions to the culinary world.  For instance:

You can also take a cue from some of the crazier ice creams in the world and make some of your own soft serve flavors like:

Moving your desserts to the next level is all about taking your imagination and palate in new directions. There are a million variations on soft serve ice cream, many of which we haven’t heard about.  Why not try a basil mint amaretto soft serve?  It’s possible!

With that type of versatility and the flavors which are available (we can’t forget nori soft serve!), it makes the perfect accoutrement to any chef’s dishes. Add toppings and swirls to the mix and that adds another layer of dimension for your diners to enjoy. So why not give your soft serve a new twist? You could hit on the next great flavor sensation.

About the Author: Emily with SpacemanUSA provides informative, entertaining articles based on soft serve machines and the industry that uses them. For additional information on frozen yogurt and frozen drink machines for your business please visit their site.

Guest Post: 5 Ways LMS Software Can Impact Food Safety Training

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Food Safety


An (LMS) Learning Management System is software companies use to manage their training, employee development and certifications. In the case with food service, non-compliance fines may have detrimental consequences to a business. Food safety is very important for the health of those eating the food. Proper food preparation has to be taught, along with food handling requirements.

The Five Impacts

Management/Employee Development

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software that a company can invest in to keep track of the development of their employees and managers. By local, state, and federal health codes, management and employees in a food service establishment must has certification in order for the business to remain in operation. An LMS program gives access to videos, quizzes, and other training tools to keep track of developments and what extra training may be needed.

Training videos, interactive screens and quizzes, and more are provided for better monitoring and updated materials to stay on top of changing regulations.

Increased Work Productivity

Food safety training was originally done through lectures in classrooms. LMS programs eliminate the extra planning and scheduling conflicts to free up time for the overall productivity of the business. The program allows the trainee to work on their time.

Reduced Non-Compliance Penalties

A food service business that does not follow the proper food handing rules and regulations, will face serious fines and penalties that could lead to business closure. Proper training will prevent the possibility of receiving fines. Health departments do regular inspection. The LMS program will provide the necessary skills needed to keep a food service operation in compliance with all health codes.

Rewarded Training Investments

Managers and employees have more time to work on development, which in turn will free up time, and give the staff the opportunity to learn on a quicker platform. The financial and time investments will be rewarded in the end with a properly trained staff ready to excel through their LMS training.

A Safer, Cleaner and Healthier Business

The benefits of properly trained employees in food service will not only improve employee development, compliance, and productivity. LMS training for food safety will emphasis the importance of serving healthy food to customers. If improper training leads to a food item that was not properly stored, prepared, cooked and served to customers, it can result in creating food-borne illnesses. Customers that become ill from a food product, tend to pass on their unfortunate experience to others through word of mouth. This will ruin any food service business that does not provide a healthy environment for its customers.

About the Author:

This article is a guest contribution, courtesy of SkyPrep, a leader in Online Training.  SkyPrep’s currently has over 30,000 registered users.  SkyPrep is an online training software that helps businesses and educators alike to train or teach their employees and students.

Image Source:


Guest Post: The Top 5 Legal Liability Issues that Every Restaurant Owner Should Know

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Restaurant owners usually have a lot on their mind – everything from server schedules to the electricity bill to the price of green beans.  And that’s just the beginning.

So it makes sense that legal liability issues are often not the first thing on a restaurant owner’s mind. But, in reality, they should always be at the top of the list.

The fact is that, as a restaurant owner, you’re are extremely vulnerable to lawsuits.  And if you’re not prepared, a lawsuit could cripple your business.

To avoid involving your restaurant in a long, expensive lawsuit that may be damaging to your reputation and long-term viability, you should be aware of potential issues that could result in legal disputes.

1.      Food Safety

Most other business owners have to deal with legal liability involving their premises, but few have the health and safety concerns that restaurant owners do. Serving food puts your liability in a whole different league.

When it comes to being held legally liable, it all comes down to negligence and foreseeability – in plain English, could you reasonably have prevented it and predicted it?  So, if a customer gets food poisoning because someone in your kitchen didn’t store the ingredients well, you’re responsible because proper care was not taken and the incident could have easily been prevented.

If, however, a customer has an allergic reaction to peanuts in their brownie but failed to ask their server about the ingredients or tell them about their allergy, it’s not your fault and nothing you or your staff could have done would have prevented it.

 2.      Pick Up Spills & Debris Immediately

As a restaurant owner, you have a heightened responsibility to your patrons to maintain a safe environment. This extends from the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the dining area, to the parking lot.

Spills inside the dining area are very common, so patrons assume that you know about them the second that they happen, which is often not the case at a busy restaurant.  So, as soon as you or a member of your staff notices a spill, clean it up immediately. It’s critical that your staff understands how important this is – train them to be as attentive to potential dangers as they are to your customers.

Have them pick up things like napkins, dropped crayons or pencils, or other items that customers may have left behind. It not only keeps the restaurant clean and orderly, it also cuts down on liability issues. If someone slips on barbeque sauce or a pencil and hurts themselves or others, then the restaurant could potentially be sued.

3.      Maintain Adequate Lighting

Restaurants often dim the lights to create an inviting and ambient environment for their guests. While it may look nice, it also comes with the hazard that guests will not be able to see what is on the ground in front of them.

If your restaurant has darkened spaces, install spot lighting for stairs, and instruct your employees to tell patrons to watch their step. Instead of completely removing lights, consider adding low-level lighting.

Adequate lighting isn’t a concern that stops at the door. The parking lot must also be well lit. Replace lights that burn out as soon as possible, and be sure that every corner has some kind of lighting. You want your guests to be able to see their way to their vehicles and feel safe in your parking lot.

 4.      Fix Broken Or Worn Seating, Tables & Walkways

Worn out seats can be a hazard because they have the potential to break or harm someone if pieces are sticking out or missing. Tables suffer from similar concerns. Run your hand along every surface of the tables and chairs periodically. If you can feel anything rough or sticking out, then your customer can too.

Be sure to check your carpeting and tiling. Everything should be flush; one piece sticking up is a tripping hazard. This inspection should continue outside as well. Check the sidewalks and parking lot. Consider fixing uneven surfaces or closing them off to guests.

The law charges owners of restaurants and other public facilities with knowledge of the condition of their property, whether the owner actually knows about them or not. The bottom line is that if you’re not regularly inspecting the place for safety issues, that could be considered negligent behavior, which would leave you liable for a customer’s injury.

5.      Keep Outdoor Conditions Well-Maintained

Trees and other greenery should be trimmed periodically. Trim off any dead portions of the tree because they have the potential to fall on customers or customers’ vehicles. Be sure that bushes, shrubs, and vines are well off the sidewalk. Creeping vines and overgrown shrubs are a tripping hazard.

If your restaurant is located in a climate that has snow and ice, be sure that all sidewalks, stairs and paths leading to your restaurant are well-shoveled and salted. One thing that is overlooked often is ice and snow build up on the roof. This build up can slide off the roof and on to a customer or their vehicle, which can do some serious damage. Climb up on ladder to knock down ice and snow before customers arrive, if necessary. Be sure that any ice and snow that you remove is pushed away from the walkway.

You know by now that owning a restaurant isn’t for the faint of heart.  In addition to what feels like millions of constantly moving pieces, you’re also have a heavy legal responsibility to your customers and staff.

Although this legal concern can often be put on the proverbial backburner, you should consider it to be your first priority.  After all, rave review from customers or a 5-star rating from the local magazine won’t help you much if you find yourself in a big pot of legal hot water.

Jay DeratanyAbout the Author:  Jay Deratany is an experienced Chicago injury lawyer and the founder of The Deratany Firm.  He enjoys sharing his passion and expertise by     contributing to several online publications, in which he help inform readers on everyday safety issues and how to avoid injury-related legal issues.  To learn more, visit