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Restaurant Fire: Causes, Consequences & Prevention

Restaurant Fire: Causes, Consequences & Prevention

A fire in a restaurant is any business owner’s worst nightmare, especially as restaurant fires can leave behind expensive and devastating outcomes. Ensuring that your restaurant is a safe environment for both customers and employees is essential to running not just an effective business, but a successful one.

But with so many flammable substances and hazardous components within restaurants, it can be difficult to know exactly how to prevent a fire and spot a potential cause. Handling the consequences requires just as much expertise, so being fully prepared is your best chance of the desired outcome.

Rainbow International has all the information you need to be able to handle restaurant fire like a pro, including:

  • What are the Common Causes of Restaurant Fires?
    – Cooking Equipment
    – Arson
    – Decorations and USPs
    – Faulty Wiring and Electrical
    – ‘Transparent’ Restaurants
  • What to do in the Occurrence of a Restaurant Fire?
  • The Consequences of a Restaurant Fire?
    – The Financial Cost
    – The Human Cost
    – The Impact of Poor Fire Safety Standards
  • What Should you do after the Fire Department Leaves?
  • What is the Current UK Legislation Regarding Restaurant Fire Safety?
  • How to Prevent a Restaurant Fire
    – Fire Risk Assessment
    – Maintain Machines
    – Ensure the Cleanliness of Cooking Equipment
    – Grease Containers should be Emptied at Least Once a Day
    – Cooking Appliances Should Vent Toward the Outside of the Building
    – Make Sure the Fire Extinguisher is in Date
    – Test Smoke Alarms Regularly
    – Check the Wiring in the Building
    – Stick to your Maximum Restaurant Occupancy
    – Daily Management of Restaurant Fire Safety
  • How Rainbow International can help

What are the Common Causes of Restaurant Fires?

Whilst any restaurant is at an increased risk of fire in comparison to other types of businesses, there are elevated risks depending on the elements within the restaurant. Find the common causes of restaurant fires below.

Cooking Equipment

Any type of cooking equipment must be maintained and cleaned to the specifications in order to avoid any grease buildup and malfunctions that can result in a fire.

More specifically, cooking equipment such as deep fat fryers and open flame grills are more susceptible to a fire as they easily build up grease that can catch alight at a moment’s notice.


Surprisingly, arson is an issue within the restaurant industry and can be a common cause of fires within establishments.

Decorations and USPs

A restaurant is home to many elements that can create a spark or flame that can lead to a devastating fire. Added to the mix of decorations and interior pieces that are designed to create a unique atmosphere and welcoming vibe, a fire can quickly catch and spread across the restaurant.

From candles on tables to pizza ovens with open flames, the things that make a restaurant so exciting can be the cause of a fire.

Faulty Wiring and Electricals

With a restaurant comes a kitchen full to the brim of appliances, big and small. Every single electrical outlet is also potentially exposed to cooking elements, grease and more wear and tear than the average.

This makes faulty wiring and electricals a constant concern, and appropriate testing must be carried out regularly to avoid a fire.

‘Transparent’ Restaurants

Not all restaurants are of a traditional design, and instead, they opt to have the chef and the kitchen out in the seating area.

This can open up a whole host of issues from a restaurant fire perspective. The area must be fully fire-proofed and the chef must be prepared for additional stress due to the customers being able to see their work at all times.

What to do in the Occurrence of a Restaurant Fire

  • Take immediate and decisive action.
  • Remain calm no matter the size of the fire
  • If it is a small fire, consider individual action
  • Any other-sized fire should lead to an immediate evacuation
  • Pan fires must be deprived of oxygen so cover the pan with a metal sheet and keep it still
  • Remove the source of heat if possible
  • Evacuation must follow pre-planned procedures, including staying low to avoid smoke
  • Leave all belongings behind and focus on individuals leaving the premises
  • Close doors as you leave (checking to see if they’re warm before opening in case of fire)
  • Once safe, call the fire brigade and do not re-enter the building
  • Document all damage and take notes for future prevention methods

What are the Consequences of a Restaurant Fire?

A restaurant doesn’t have to experience a fire to be fully aware of the consequences one can bring. But to what extent can a fire affect a restaurant?

The Financial Cost

Financially, a restaurant fire can cripple a business and lead them to close its doors for good. In fact, according to Cannon Fire, 80% of UK businesses which have a major fire incident fail to reopen completely or close within 18 months.

The fire can lead to the closure of the restaurant for upwards of a month in more extreme cases. All traces of the fire must be cleaned away and full fire and smoke restoration services must be implemented, leading to a huge setback in finances.

The Human Cost

Aside from the potential job losses due to the financial impact, the immediate danger of a restaurant fire can put customers and employees in severe danger.

The potential for death or severe injury is incredibly high in the event of a fire in a restaurant, leading to a potential criminal investigation if the fire department finds evidence of negligence.

The Impact of Poor Fire Safety Standards

Fire safety standards are designed to avoid a fire from occurring in any workspace, including restaurants.

If a restaurant begins slacking in upholding these standards, not only does the risk of fire increase, but the overall reputation of the restaurant becomes at risk.

What Should you do after the Fire Department Leaves?

You may feel distressed and disorientated after the fire brigade has finished putting the fire out and has left the premises.

At this point, you should hand over the stress to the specialists and call Rainbow International’s restoration team who can arrive on-site as soon as possible to begin dealing with the fire, water and smoke damage.

We’ve got the equipment to be able to quickly and safely handle the issue and begin the process of restoring your restaurant back to the business you know and love.

What is the Current UK Legislation Regarding Restaurant Fire Safety?

The current UK legislation for restaurant fire safety procedures requires a ‘Responsible Person(s)’ to be appointed. The RS will have control over the premises and be responsible for creating and enforcing the restaurant’s fire safety checklist too.

How To Prevent a Restaurant Fire

It’s clear that no restaurant owner wants to deal with a fire in any circumstance, so taking appropriate action to prevent a restaurant fire is essential to avoid this. Rainbow International’s specialists have compiled a list of go-to fire prevention tips for restaurants to follow…

Fire Risk Assessment

Having a well-informed individual assess the premises for fire risks and highlighting the potential concerns is the first step to preventing a fire. They should be checking for all possible hazards and identifying individuals who may be more at risk, such as chefs or waiters.

They should then take decisive action to remove these risks, or reduce them as much as possible, and record these changes. From here, emergency checklists and procedures should be created and staff fully informed and fire trained.

Maintain Machines

Machine maintenance is a key step in prevention as malfunctioning equipment and damaged electrical appliances can easily catch alight and cause a restaurant fire. Having closedown checklists in place will help to ensure all machines are looked after accordingly.

Ensure the Cleanliness of Cooking Equipment

Cleanliness is one of the most important parts of fire prevention, as reducing the amount of fuel for a fire to burn through will drastically reduce the chances of a fire starting.

Cleaning away grease from cooking equipment should be prioritised, and non-combustible grease filters should be used and well-maintained to boost this level of control.

Grease Containers Should be Emptied at Least Once a Day

Grease is a highly flammable substance and can fuel a fire for a long period of time, so clearing out grease containers once a day at a minimum is essential to reducing the risk of a restaurant fire.

Cooking Appliances Should Vent Toward the Outside of the Building

Vents should always be taking away steam and hot air out of the building and away from the workspace. But cooking appliance vents are also important for taking exhaust out of the kitchen to avoid accumulation and a heightened risk of fire.

Make Sure the Fire Extinguisher is in Date

Surprisingly, a fire extinguisher can actually go out of date. This is not something you want to find out when it comes to using the tool, so ensuring all your extinguishers are within date and functioning is essential to preventing a fire from becoming out of control.

Test Smoke Alarms Regularly

Smoke alarms are often the first way a restaurant becomes aware of a fire, and so they must be fully functional and ready to work in the event of a fire.

Check the Wiring in the Building

Faulty wiring in a restaurant’s premises can easily cause a spark that will ignite the various fuels around it and become a huge fire. By having processes in place to assess the health of the wiring across the building, you can prevent this from happening and improve the fire safety of the space.

Stick to your Maximum Restaurant Occupancy

Not only does having a restaurant over capacity make evacuation more difficult, but it also heightens the chance of a fire due to it being harder to monitor the actions of customers. A tighter space also means a quicker spread of fire, and a higher chance of human damage, so stick to your maximum restaurant occupancy to prevent this.

Daily Management of Restaurant Fire Safety

Overall, the daily management of restaurant fire safety should be prioritised and implemented through the general checklists of opens, closes and mid-shift handovers. Without this, key steps can be forgotten and a build-up of missed steps will increase the risk of fires.

How Rainbow International Can Help

Rainbow International has spent decades perfecting the processes needed to get business back up and running as soon as possible after they have faced a fire.

Our fire damage restoration service has everything you need to have your business handed back to you better than before. Clearing away the damaged items, saving the ones we can salvage and restore and beginning the structural assessment will give us a solid foundation to work from.

From this point, we will begin fully restoring the building, removing all evidence of a fire, decontaminating the area of smoke and soot and cleaning until the space is sparkling clean.

Kitchens must be a sanitary space and all machinery and appliances must be up to standard for food to be prepared and cooked around them. Rainbow International understands how important upholding these standards is, so will ensure that every step is taken to align the work done.

Our state-of-the-art equipment and extensive knowledge of the restaurant industry allow us to provide a service that is unmatched in the UK. We will work with you to allow your restaurant to operate as normal as soon as possible, and around your opening hours.

Get In Touch For Restaurant Fire Restoration Services

Our fire damage restoration specialists are on hand to support you in the unfortunate event of a fire in your restaurant and are happy to assist you from the moment the fire brigade has finished putting the fire out.

Get in touch with Rainbow International’s team today to find out how our fire damage management can help you today.

Published: 18 Oct 2022