What Is a Restaurant Incident Report?

Let us first find out the meaning of an incident report. Safeopedia defines an incident report as a formal documentation detailing all the facts relating to an incident that happened at the workplace. The incident can be in the form of an accident or injury, or any type of threat of incident relating to the workers’ safety and well-being in the workplace, the overall restaurant’s safety, including the affected parties in the incident such as the customers or clients. In the case of a restaurant incident report, parties involved could be the management, chefs, kitchen staff, servers or waiters, and the customers. In the restaurant scenario, incidents could be in the form of accidents such as slipping on a wet floor, food poisoning, threats within workers or occurring misdemeanors, a kitchen staff has forgotten to turn off the fire at a gas range and could have cause fire risk, even customer complaining about their food or the servers attitude.

It could also include equipment malfunctioning, or lack of safety equipment in place, or even a psychological traumatic incident for the workers and customers when they’re inside the restaurant. All the circumstances that took place leading up to the incidents should be detailed in the restaurant incident report. A restaurant incident report is based on the prevailing policies and guidelines that details procedures to be done in an event that led to the injury, or threatened the health and safety of everyone inside the restaurant, including the employees and its customers. The investigation of the incident is usually done by the restaurant manager since they are tasked to oversee the restaurant’s whole operation. Accurate and timely reporting is important when making a restaurant incident report so that it could immediately assess the situation, provide necessary resolution before the issue goes out of hand, or what you call as a damage control, and provide measures in place that would prevent the same incident from happening again. The incident report documentation helps in identifying future risk and failures, setting up corrective measures in place.

How to Manage Restaurant Incidents?

Although you may have the best guidelines and policies in place in your restaurant as an owner or as a manager, you still need to prepare for unforeseeable incidents. Aside from having a good action plan, you also need to know how to respond when these events occur. Here are some of the ways on how you can manage the restaurant when an incident arises:

Respond Promptly and Act Accordingly: When a certain situation arises that causes disruption to the restaurant operation, you should know how to properly act and respond. For example, the kitchen gas range burst into flames, what do you do next? Get all the kitchen staff out of the harms’ way and put out the fire using the fire extinguisher. Call the fire department to make sure that the fire is all out and to include them in the fire investigation report. In this case, you and your staff should also be trained in fire safety and hazard. Also, an accident could happen like someone slipped and bumped their head, or a knife accident where a kitchen staff cut themselves. Apply immediate first aid and call for an ambulance if needed for further medical assistance. Another scenario is when a customer is causing a raucous in the dining area and disturbing other customers. What do you do in this circumstance? You try to pacify the customer as best as you can, try to calm the customer. And if you need further assistance, you can always call the police to help you out.Documentation and Incident Reporting: This is where you make your restaurant incident report. Aside from doing the necessary documentation, you also need to notify persons in authority. If one of your kitchen staff or employees gets injured, notify the owner of the restaurant about the accident that happened that caused the injury. Notify health professionals or the medics so that they could take counteractive measures. Notify the family or relatives of the injured person. With the documentation process, collect as well necessary evidence or proof of the incident. Secure the CCTV footage of the incident. Note the equipment or materials that were used when the incident happened. Record all of these in your incident report, as well as make sure to securely keep the evidence just in case if further investigation needed to take place. If it’s a health related situation, secure as well a copy of the doctor’s note and a medical certificate for application of the necessary compensation and benefit to the employee.Investigate the Incident: Probe into the incident further. Begin the questioning with the what, when, where, why, who and how questions. Start asking around, interviewing those who have witnessed the incident. Aside from looking at the CCTV footage, asked the kitchen staff as well what led to such an incident. If it’s a customer complaint, ask the customer what the complaint was all about. Ask the customer if the complaint was about the food, how the food tasted, or how it was served. Or it could be a question about hygiene as well. Or it could be that one of the servers was rude to the customer. Remember that customer relationship and satisfaction ranks top one priority in a restaurant business. Aim for a positive experience between the restaurant and the customer. If it is something that involves between a customer and a staff, make sure to handle the situation amicably and fairly by listening to both sides. When doing your investigation, always refer back to the policy and guidelines in place. Ask yourself if in that incident that occurred, were the procedures followed and were there proper protocols in place.Carry Out Necessary Corrective Measures: We look into the rulebook of the workplace. Check the policy and guidelines to see if they were properly implemented. Do a background check again on the restaurant employees, check to see if their skills in the restaurant are in place and are properly put to use. In the case of fire incidents, check to see if there are fire extinguishers in places where they’re supposed to be and that they’re easily accessible. Check to see if the restaurant employees were oriented on how to handle a situation where there is an accidental fire. Apply corrective actions, as necessary, by conducting an employee fire orientation with your local fire department. In any other work related injuries, after securing necessary evidence and doing the investigation, check to see if a policy was violated by the worker who was injured. If a kitchen staff member was cut by a knife, check to see if that kitchen staff was supposed to handle a knife in the first place as part of their duties, or if the staff was wearing the appropriate protective gloves when using the knife. Or even if there were appropriate kitchen gloves available for the staff to use. The corrective action in this case is if the staff’s incident was covered by the workers’ compensation and benefit plan, or by the insurance. Also update inventory and procurement as necessary if there are lacking safety equipment in the kitchen. In the case of a customer complaint, provide an updated training with the restaurant employees on how to handle customers. Consistent training for everyone involved in the restaurant workplace is a necessary corrective measure. Do another round of workplace safety inspection as necessary.

The Nitty Gritty When Creating a Restaurant Incident Report

All the details of the incidents that happened inside a restaurant should be detailed in a restaurant incident report. As we have mentioned, the incident report will serve as the important piece of documentation to the investigation process and will also serve as the basis for creating corrective actions or measures to avoid the same from happening all over again. The incident report also serves as a preventive measure. There are different formats and templates you can use to structure an incident report. Nevertheless, these are the common steps you could do to effectively create a restaurant incident report.

Step 1: Identify the Details of the Incident

First, write down what incident had occurred. Identify the persons involved. If it was a kitchen injury incident, who was the person injured. If it was a dining room incident, who was the staff or the server involved and the customers involved. Write down the names of all the parties. Note down the date and the time when the incident happened, also indicate if it happened during the restaurant’s rush hour, or during the time when the restaurant was not busy. Next, write down if there were materials or pieces of equipment that were involved in the incident. It could be that a chair was in the way and was not properly placed when a customer had an accident and tripped over. It could be the knife that was used when the kitchen staff was cut, or any other relevant materials related to the incident.

Step 2: Describe How the Incident Happened

Give a factual description of how the incident took place. By doing this, you need to conduct the necessary investigation into the incident. Be objective as much as possible when describing the event. Ask the people who have witnessed what happened. Use the CCTV footage of the incident that took place. Give a complete picture by noting down the events from everyone’s point of view, from the persons involved and even from the third-party witnesses. Create a flow of events, starting from what happened before the incident occurred, when the incident actually happened, and what happened next thereafter. Include the reactions from the people involved, how they responded to either abet or resolve the issue, what calls were made and what immediate actions or remedies were taken. Again, the description should be from the start to the end of the incident.

Step 3: Validate and Analyze the Incident

After you have collected the evidence and made the necessary interviews with all the parties involved, take time to validate and analyze the incident. Pull out the workplace’s handbook and check to see if there were any policies that were violated in the process. Write down the corresponding rule or policy in the incident report. Use the timeline or the flow of events you have created and see if the parties involved had adhered to or not with the protocols and policies in place. Use the evidence you have procured as your supporting material. Based on all the evidence and information gathered, make an objective determination if there was any violation or not.

Step 4: Indicate the Corrective Measures to be taken

After you have done your analysis of the situation, write down the corrective action or measures necessary. If you have determined that the restaurant employee has committed a violation that led up to the incident, determine what kind of violation had taken place and what is the corresponding penalty. If it was a light offense, a warning notice could probably suffice, depending on what is stated in the rulebook. If no violation had been committed and the incident was more accidental in nature, indicate what are the compensation and benefits the employee is entitled to. If the incident was due to a customer’s fault, plan and write down measures in the restaurant that could prevent the same incident from happening. Employee or staff training or orientation can be part of the corrective measures to help prevent the same incidents from happening again. Don’t forget to sign-off on the incident report.


What are some of the different kinds of incident reports?

Some of the different kinds of incident reports are employee injury, near miss incident, safety or hazard incident, environmental incident, property damage incident, aviation, and or security incident.

What is the main purpose of writing a restaurant incident report?

The importance of writing a restaurant incident report is to provide detailed documentation of the incident that took place inside the restaurant. The documentation would provide the analysis needed in order to make corrective actions as necessary to compensate parties involved, or to take steps to prevent the incident from happening again.

What are some of the evidence or proof needed when writing the restaurant incident report?

Evidence needed in a restaurant incident report could be any material or equipment that was used when the incident occurred. It could be the gas range that was not properly turned off that caused the kitchen fire. It could be the tables or chairs that were not properly arranged that cause a customer to slip and fall. It could be the ingredients used when the incident was about food poisoning. The evidence could also be in the form of the CCTV footage that captured the whole event. Or evidence could be the interviews that were taken from all the parties involved and from the witnesses.

As the restaurant owner, or the authorized restaurant manager, your biggest responsibility is making sure that the whole restaurant operation runs smoothly. These involve the kitchen operation and the dining room operation. You need to oversee the top to bottom flow of the whole restaurant. You should also have policies and guidelines in place to assist you in the process. But like with any kind of operation, unforeseen incidents do happen. It’s best to be prepared by anticipating these incidents and preparing action plans in place.

When do they happen, your best tool in this case will be the restaurant incident report. We have several incident report templates to choose from on our website, and we also have specific ones such as the restaurant incident report. Download one of our templates now and see how smooth and convenient it is going to be for you when creating that restaurant incident report!