Summer is synonymous with beautiful sunny days. However, it's also the time of torrential downpours, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, which means the warmer months are the perfect time for a power outage. If you own a restaurant, it's important to know what to do if and when your source of electricity goes down.
The initial outage
First and foremost, you have to assess the situation. Is it storming? Are other businesses out of power as well? Did you blow a fuse? Find out the root of the problem before you deem whether you should stay open or not. If you're open during the time of the incident, your primary responsibility is the guests' safety.
During normal circumstances, reassure your guests that everything is fine and see if you can get them anything to help them dine in the dark. Any time the safety of the building is in question, all guests and staff should be evacuated. It's better to play it safe and shutdown when you're in doubt.
Here are some items that come in handy during a restaurant power outage:
- Phone numbers to the utility company
- Flashlights, candles and batteries
- Extra paper for writing down orders.
Distribute these items to your staff if you plan to stay open for the duration of the outage. Oftentimes, these situations only require a quick fix, meaning the lights will only be off for about an hour. Don't forget how important it is to handle food during a power outage.
What about refrigeration?
According to the Atmospheric and Environmental Research, total economic losses due to power outages cost businesses more than $70 billion annually in the U.S., quoted by Restaurant Business Online. This underscores the importance of preserving as many goods as you can in the dark.
Don't forget how important it is to handle food during a power outage.
The Minnesota Department of Health explained that during a power outage lasting more than two hours, you can safely stash butter, hard or processed cheeses, fresh uncut fruits and veggies, open jars of sauces, flour, nuts, rolls, bread and cakes because they can stay fresh at room temperature.
Conversely, throw out casseroles, soups, meat, fish, eggs, lunch meats, cream-based foods, cookie dough containing eggs, whipped butter, cut fruits and cooked veggies, as they require refrigeration.
Remember to keep your cool during this inconvenient time. Your guests can sense panic and getting everyone riled up will only exacerbate this already challenging experience.
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