Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When Hurricanes Blow

HURRICANES: We've only been nailed twice Hazel 1954 (closed for almost a year) and Hugo 1989 (closed for 3 weeks), we've had over 25 near-miss storms which have threatened us and turned north. On many near misses we had tree, roadsign, window or rooftop damage, and of course power outages and severe beach erosion even though we were on the good side quadrant. Here's a few quick thoughts....

OUTAGES: On many of the near misses we had power outages from a few hours to days. Entire inventories were lost on at least five occasions. Tens of thousands of dollars. If you have a generator, safely ready it for perishables.

WEEK BEFORE STORM: Order perishables lightly as possible.

Cancel unnecessary orders.

Move some unneeded cooler items to freezer now to get them solidly frozen.

Freeze some large containers of water in your freezer to lengthen food survival time.

Leave some frozen containers in freezer and put others in walk-in cooler to give you a few more hours of safe temp.

Once power is off, don't open freezer of cooler.

OUTSIDE BUILDING: Common sense reminds us to move or tie down anything which can fly thru your windows. They say taping windows doesn't help.

Check flat roof for flyables like empty tar buckets, etc.

Trim branches which rub against or near window, roof eave, neon, roadsign, etc.

INSIDE: Any valuable decor painting, stained glass, etc, near a large window might be moved further back into the restaurant.

CASH: Remove cash from safe and leave cash drawers open to view.

ELECTRIC: Probably best to shut off all AC units. In and out power surges can damage compressors.

DISCONNECT GAS: Ask gas company if you have main disconnect. Ask how to handle gas lines.

WHERE TO GO: If its heading your way and there's a evacuation. Know where you, family, staff and pets will go. Have cash on hand and medications filled.

STAFF: Ask your staff (get cell numbers) where they will be, here or out of town. In the event it misses you'll want to re-open soon as possible.

Tell them what you plan to do and exactly when you plan to reopen if passes safely. You might not have enough key personnel to open even it's a miss.

INS POLICY: Read your policy now. Deductible? Wind and hale? Awning coverage? Roadsign? Food spoilage? Business interruption? Will (BI) pay your staff if you're damaged? Ask agent for details today. When storms are out there it’s too late to buy coverage but you'll know what to expect for yourself and your staff.

COMPUTER & POS: Do you have offsite backup? Do you have a backup you can take with you? Ask your computer company whether you should unplug entire system. In and out power can cause problems.