Reducing Risk in Delivery

 What the risks are and what you can do about them.

Featuring guest author Derek Sherman of EB Cohen Insurance & Risk Management.

For restaurants today, it’s not a matter of if I deliver, it’s how I deliver. Yet regardless of how an operator chooses to execute their delivery logistics, procedures must be implemented to reduce the risks associated with food delivery.


  • A delivery driver can cause bodily injury or property damage to a third-party.

  • A delivery driver can be injured; their vehicle can be damaged or stolen.

  • A guest can get sick from the delivered food.

  • Non-compliance with local regulations.

To mitigate these risks, operators must first identify how they will be delivering to their guests. Three standard options for last-mile logistics are: 

  1. In-House Delivery, where restaurants hire their own drivers and vehicles may be provided by the driver or restaurant.
  2. Out-Sourced Delivery, where restaurants contract with a third-party to complete last-mile logistics.
  3. Co-operative Delivery, where local restaurants form a delivery co-operative together to create a shared delivery service. 

If you have in-house or co-operative delivery:

  • Implement safety standards and regular training for delivery drivers. This can include providing safety gear, inspecting delivery vehicles, and establishing clear communication channels.

  • Designate a delivery captain to conduct pre-shifts safety checks to keep best practices top of mind.

For restaurants in NYC, review DOT Requirements for Commercial Bicyclists.

If you out-source delivery:

  • Interview the third-party on how they address quality control and guest service incidents.

  • Execute a contract with the third-party that includes hold harmless and indemnification clauses in your favor. This can protect your interests in the event of an incident caused by a third-party working on your behalf.

  • Obtain a certificate of insurance that provides proof of coverage and names your business entity as an additional insured on the third-party’s general liability policy.

Taking precautions and planning for safety can reduce the restaurant’s risk, protect delivery drivers, and improve the guest experience.