Millions of Floridians have begun working on their recovery from Hurricane Irma, which roared through the state last month, pummeling homes and flooding streets. One of the largest Atlantic storms ever, Irma knocked out power to 6.7 million accounts in Florida, or about two-thirds of the state.
One of the takeaways of disasters like Irma, Harvey, and Maria is that these kinds of weather-related power interruptions are almost impossible to avoid. And rising average temperatures may over the long-term lead to more frequent, deadly, and costly blackouts. In other words, get ready for more of this.
Restaurants are fast paced and hectic on a normal day, but add a power outage into the mix and it can cause a lot of problems. They can wipe out your sales and food inventory, shut down your equipment and leave you and your customers plunged into darkness. A restaurant power outage can result in tens of thousands of lost revenue dollars.
Plan for an emergency before one happens. So how can you manage your restaurant before, during, and after a power outage?
• Back it up. Recent disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Irma proved the necessity of having a backup generator. It needs to be big enough to operate the electrical equipment in your facility, and its installation and use must be coordinated with your power company for safety.
• Investigate potential sources for a refrigerated truck to be used during a power outage.
• In the event of a power outage, you and your staff should know exactly what to do, based on training and planning that you have done in advance.
• If you have prior knowledge of an event that could cause a power outage, you can prepare for the event, including getting additional lighting and getting any equipment, you may need together in advance, including ordering extra ice in case the fridges and freezers break down during service.
• Think about creating an “emergency menu” of foods that can be served with minimal preparation and without additional cooking.
• Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
• When a power outage occurs, throw away any foods that are in the process of being cooked but have not yet reached their final cooking temperature. (Note: A power outage of 2 hours or less is not considered hazardous to food that was being held under safe conditions when the outage began.
• What to do with potentially hazardous food:
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