How To Prepare Your Restaurant For A Natural Disaster

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Hurricane season has started and damages are projected to happen to areas across the United States. Just like hurricanes, other natural disasters like snowstorms, fires, tornados can happen to any restaurant or business at any time. While making emergency procedures can seem one of the least fun aspects of running a restaurant, they can be of the utmost importance. No one wants to imagine their business or their customers being severely injured or impaired. By preparing ahead of time, you can minimize stress and any potential damage that can happen. Learn how to prepare your restaurant below

1. Have a Checklist
Depending on the type of natural disaster, you could have a few days or only a few hours to ensure your restaurant is prepared. You will want to create a master checklist well ahead of time, and this will help you quickly prepare for an incoming disaster. Some great resources that can help you create a checklist or emergency preparedness plan are ready.gov, fema.gov, and preparemybusiness.org

2. Train Staff on Emergency Situations
Your staff can be your biggest allies when a storm hits. When you train them on an emergency preparedness plan, it can eliminate a lot of the chaos when people are frightened of a storm. You can just take a few hours when your restaurant isn’t open and have your staff walk through every aspect of the preparedness plan. Then you will want to have copies of this plan at every station. That way when the real thing happens, your staff will be ready and have a copy of what needs to be done.

3. Keep Customers Calm
If you decide to keep your restaurant open during a natural disaster managing your customers can be one of the hardest parts. Your customers should be your number one priority. Customers can easily get frightened because a threat is near and they are not in an environment that is 100% comfortable like being at home. Customers are around other customers that they most likely don’t know so any scenario could happen when people are in the middle of chaos. A good way to keep customers calm is by offering them different distractions.

4. Check Your Insurance
You will want to make sure you have the correct insurance information before any storm. Without the right coverage, a heavy storm could cost your business thousands of dollars. You should look closely at your policy and make sure it’s the exact coverage you and the worst case scenario of damage that could happen.

5. Keep Inventory and Business Records
Your financials and your inventory are two of the most important things for your business. You will want to make sure you have both electronic and paper records that will not be damaged by any hurricane or tornado. For the paper records, you may want to consider moving them to an offsite location. If you’re moving some furniture or appliances to other location as well, make sure to hire an moving company sunshine coast for assistance. There are many record solutions out there that guarantee document survival during a natural disaster. Photos of your restaurant are also important for recording keeping and insurance. When the storm is over, you will want to make sure you have sufficient access for any insurance purposes.

6. Have an Emergency Kit
According to the United Nations, since 1995 606,000 lives have been lost and 4.1 billion people have been injured, left homeless, or in need of emergency assistance as a result of weather-related disasters. Safety should be of utmost importance for your restaurant. You will want to have an emergency medical kit on hand for any potential injuries. With high-velocity winds, comes the potential for major building damage. When infrastructure fails, things fall and people get injured. You should also have a few of your staff trained up on first-aid so your kit is not free for all.

7. Connect with Neighbors
Your neighbors may be your competition, but they can be a big assist when a storm gets out of hand. Are you worried about something going wrong or being unprepared? Depending on how long your neighbors have been in business, they may be able to provide some insight on any previous year’s storms. Also, your neighbors can be great if both of your businesses decide to remain during a natural disaster. It’s true what they, there is strength in numbers, and when it comes to storms they can be very unpredictable.

8. Manage Supplies
Throughout history, we have had many catastrophic storms. The most recent hurricane was Hurricane Katrina that almost took out the city of New Orleans. It was a category 5 storm that affected over 15 million people. This is not saying that a category 5 storm will hit you, but you will want to have enough supplies depending on the magnitude of the storm and if you don’t decide to evacuate. If it’s just a small storm, and you are still open for customers, you will want to ensure you have enough supplies for them and your staff.

Afterwards
Recovering from a natural disaster can be almost as hard as surviving the storm. It almost always requires an extensive amount of time with your insurance company. Depending on the severity of the storm, it may take your restaurant sometime before its back up and run. It’s important that you don’t lose hope, and you’re always keeping your customers engaged while your business is closed. You can post too many different social media platforms or send out direct mail telling your customers when you plan to reopen.

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