Newport Restaurant Group works tirelessly thinking through every detail of customers’ experiences. Patrons likely do not realize all the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into the end result, because of how seamless their experiences end up being. For those of us behind the scenes, we know there is a lot that goes into owning a hospitality group beloved by the state of Rhode Island. Newport Restaurant Group has things figured out. Part of that is knowing they need a partner that can work tirelessly for them in a similar way, making sure every detail of their employees’ safety is covered. That is why, long ago, they partnered with us, Rhode Island’s workers’ compensation experts to reach new levels of employee safety in areas of glass polishing, knife safety and more.
Newport Restaurant Group & Beacon Mutual - the Perfect Pairing
Our relationship with Newport Restaurant Group reflects the very best ways we collaborate with Rhode Island businesses. They have embraced employee safety and rely on Beacon’s expertise to enable them to continue reaching new levels. Together, Beacon Mutual and Newport Restaurant Group have put time and effort into various initiatives that have had significant results. Those initiatives are interesting indeed, and we’ll get into them shortly. But understanding the bigger picture is key: success comes from collaboration, mutual respect, and the bond that happens when you put together two companies full of good people who want to do good things.
The safety culture at Newport Restaurant Group is above and beyond. This is likely helped along by the fact that they are employee-owned, and those who work there are truly invested in the success of the organization. A cornerstone of safety is their self-inspection program. Initially recommended by our experts at Beacon Mutual, the premise was that setting aside time to address safety matters and inspect locations was crucial. Newport empowered their staff to take ownership of safety within their establishments, and report on anything that could be optimized. They explored innovative ideas, such as having a manager from one restaurant do a walk-through of another location, recognizing that fresh eyes can more easily spot a possible safety concern in ways someone too familiar with the space may not. They worked with us, and together as a group, to establish a protocol of self-inspections that resulted in a safer workplace and continues to lower insurance claims.
We find it helpful to look at individual situations as examples of how we work together.
The following initiatives demonstrate how identifying a problem, talking it through, and testing various solutions (even around an issue that may be considered small) can have big impact in hospitality safety!
Identifying an Issue: A significant number of injuries were happening related to glass polishing.
Digging Deeper: We investigated the problem together and realized a couple of important observations. First, glassware was being polished fresh from the dishwasher and therefore warm, which was causing lacerations. It was also determined that end-of-the night polishing often led to more injuries.
Problem Solving: A few solutions were tested and carried through, continuing to be optimized for the individual establishments. One of these fixes involved purchasing more glassware so just-washed glasses could cool before needing to be polished. Schedules were also adjusted so employees would polish the glassware from the previous night as part of their pre-shift side-work (and, in turn, did not have to deal with glass polishing at the end of the night). The results? Laceration claims continue to drop, while employee safety rises.
Identifying an Issue: Knife safety may be primarily thought of as a kitchen need, however the front-of-house team cuts things like fruit and bread and did not necessarily have the proper knife skills.
Digging Deeper: We investigated the situations that caused problems and noticed a few things. For example, bartenders cutting lemons and limes would be well-served by truly learning knife skills.
Problem Solving: We love this example for what it says about the bigger picture at Newport Restaurant Group: team members working together to maximize safety and help a colleague. Kitchen staff were able to train the front-of-the house team, showing them the proper way to hold a knife and sharing tips. Front-of-house staff became more comfortable with their knife skills, and that knowledge and confidence translates to a decrease in incidents.
Identifying an Issue: Newport Restaurant Group has some seasonal operations which come with a unique set of challenges, such as training a large workforce in a short period of time or the influx of event setups.
Digging Deeper: We recognized that seasonal employees have varying degrees of existing safety knowledge when they start with Newport Restaurant Group. Season changes in New England come with different needs too, something that the landscaping employees, for example, know well!
Problem Solving: We created a thoughtful and thorough seasonal training program, which allows new staff to catch up to the safety culture. Teaching injury prevention upfront and making safety a big part of employee training levels the playing field and ensures everyone remains vigilant. Newport Restaurant Group is fortunate to have a lot of tenured employees, and the way they model safety precautions proves hugely effective for new team members.
Safety Committee Meetings
Identifying an Issue: It was important to figure out an outlet for uncovering and solving safety issues as a team.
Digging Deeper: We wanted safety to be a topic that was continuously tended to, versus an afterthought. When an injury happens, we want to make sure that it is fully addressed, and any necessary changes are instituted.
Problem Solving: A safety committee was formed, and regular meetings were established. This time allows the team to review claims, adjust processes, firm up best practices, and really cover anything safety related. The committee aims to identify trends and point out opportunities for change. The meetings have grown over time, becoming an incubator for new ideas and further solidifying the strong safety culture of the organization.
The hospitality industry is uniquely fast paced, but the overall notion that safety needs to be a priority is something that benefits all businesses. For Newport Restaurant Group, they see this as an ever-evolving phenomenon, understanding that maximizing safety in the workplace is something where everyone plays a role. The best recipe for a successful restaurant isn’t always found in the kitchen. A collaborative team working together, valuing processes, and providing input helps provide an extraordinary experience for guests and staff alike. At Beacon, we shepherd those values and are immensely proud of the work we’ve accomplished. We’re excited to see how we can keep innovating together!
Visit beaconmutual.com/partner-with-beacon-mutual to learn how we can help you create a culture of safety at your company.