August 23, 2023

New Guide Helps Restaurant Operators be Always Ready for a Fire

Industry-specific tool from National Restaurant Association essential for preparedness planning and recovery
Washington, D.C. –  Restaurant kitchens include open flames, hot surfaces, hot oil, cleaning chemicals, and a heavy electrical demand—all concentrated in one busy space. In the moment a fire breaks out, it’s hard to focus and plan. Always Ready: Fire is the latest in a series of restaurant-specific guides designed to help restaurant owners and operators evaluate their risks and create a fire response plan so in the moment, they can focus on keeping people safe.

Restaurant fires account for about 6% of all nonresidential building fires reported to fire departments each year, causing more than $100 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Having a fire preparedness plan in place can mitigate losses, prevent injuries, and help a restaurant reopen faster.

“As business leaders, restaurant operators have many responsibilities for which they need to plan,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “How best to protect their team members, their customers, and their restaurant from fires is important planning for every restaurant operator so they can more effectively respond to this type of disaster. The National Restaurant Association is proud to provide the industry with the resources and materials it needs to protect businesses and to know where and how to start recovery efforts if disaster strikes.”

The National Restaurant Association Always Ready: Fire pulls best practices from official sources and restaurant operators—including human resources and risk managers from independent restaurants and national brands—to share recommendations for what to do in advance of, during and after a fire occurs. The guide includes:
  • Vetting insurance coverage
  • Assembling a crisis management team
  • Assessing your restaurant’s risk for fire
  • Taking fire prevention measures
  • Creating an “In Case of Fire” action plan that includes practice drills
  • Creating a contact list to address after-fire recovery
  • Communicating with staff and customers
“This guide helps operators build a plan that engages their staff on how to prevent fires and how to keep customers and each other safe. We’ve brought together the knowledge and experience of fire safety authorities and industry experts who have successfully guided restaurants through fire losses with the aim of creating a resource that gets a damaged restaurant back open and serving the community as quickly as possible,” said Korsmo.

The Always Ready: Fire and Always Ready: Natural Disasters guides are available for free to all restaurant operators here.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.