Food trucks are a great way for breweries to get more patrons to their tasting room. Patrons that are able to eat at your tasting room will likely stay longer, bring more people with them and drink another beer or two. It is a win-win for the breweries and food trucks. But have you considered the additional liability you may be taking on and how to protect yourself?
When you allow a food truck onto your property or give them the express permission to patronize on the public street outside your brewery, you are taking on what is called Vicarious Liability. This means that based on your permission and implicit recommendation to your clientele to eat at these food trucks, you can also be liable for damages they cause. Food poisoning, an auto accident, a slip and fall from oil spilled from their vehicle are possible examples.
There is a simple fix to protect your brewery from this additional liability. Require that any food truck you allow onto your premises or that you invite and/or market to your patrons must give you a Certificate of Liability Insurance and name you an additional insured. Naming you as an additional insured means that the food trucks insurance policy will respond to any claims that are brought against your brewery due to the actions of the food truck vendor. Your own insurance will also cover you, but secondary to their insurance policy.
Be sure to make them provide proof of General Liability and Auto Liability with limits of at least $1,000,000 for each policy.
To manage these certificates, create a file of your food truck and any other vendors as well. Be sure that you ask that these certificates are updated annually based on the expiration date of their policies, which is on the certificate of insurance.
Making sure all vendors, especially food trucks, provide you certificates of insurance will help keep claims off your record and your insurance costs low over time.