Having a fireplace in your coffee shop is practically a gold mine! Few things are as relaxing as sitting in front of a fire with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate. You'll have customers coming to your shop over other coffee shops just because of the fireplace. The unfortunate thing is that a fireplace can be a hazard if you don't take the proper precautions. Here are a few things you must do to make sure the fireplace is safe before you use it.
1. Have the chimney professionally cleaned
Hire a commercial chimney cleaning service to come clean the chimney that vents the fireplace. As wood burns, it can sometimes release a substance called creosote. If the creosote builds up in the chimney, it can spontaneously light on fire, causing serious destruction. A commercial chimney cleaning company can check for and remove creosote. They will also make sure there are no other obstructions, like birds nests or broken-off pieces of insulation, obstructing the flow of air through the chimney.
2. Block off an area
You want customers to gather around the fire, but you don't want them so close that they can get burned. Find a way to block off an area around the fireplace. An easy option is to get a standing metal fence that you can set up in a half-circle around the fireplace. Customers will know not to go past it, even if they could technically step over it. You can move it closer or further from the fire depending on how high the fire is that day.
3. Place a fire extinguisher near the fire
Hopefully you already have some fire extinguishers in the building. Make sure at least one is located close to the fireplace. Hang a sign above it that says "fire extinguisher" or "customers welcome to use in case of emergency." Train your staff to use the fire extinguisher so they can act properly in case of an emergency.
4. Find a safe place to store wood
You do not want wood too close to the fireplace where it could combust or where customers could get the idea to add more to the fire themselves. Find a safe place, perhaps on the opposite side of the shop, where you can store your extra logs.
With a fireplace in your coffee shop, your success is ensured—as long as you play it safe.