Restaurant Development & Design

September-October 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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2 4 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 Consultant's Take Disaster Preparedness in Operations It's important to take a proactive approach to ensure your restaurant is positioned to withstand the initial body blow of a disaster and remain in operation during the subsequent response and recovery phase. Disaster can take many forms, both natural and manmade, but to be prepared for the worst, there are a few questions to ask of yourself and your organization: • What would you do if a major event interrupted your daily operations? • Are you and your restaurant prepared to survive and serve your patrons for an extended period in the wake of a disaster? • Are you prepared to shelter in place? • Do you have a business Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) in place? Having a COOP in place will pro- vide a plan of action to keep your busi- ness operating during a time of crisis, which can be critical to the continued operation and success. There are three critical components that are required to run a successful foodservice operation: utilities, food and labor. Any one or all three of these components could be lost during a disaster and need to be planned for. Restaurant kitchens are heavily dependent upon utilities: power, water and gas. Your COOP should reflect that one or all three could be interrupted during a time of disaster. Most kitchens receive deliveries several times a week, some daily. During a time of disaster, you should expect product deliveries to be immedi- ately cut off for one to seven days and then restored slowly and maybe even on a limited basis. You need to plan your inventory to make it through this initial blackout period. In addition, if you lose power, your ability to hold product in cold storage is limited. You should have a plan to use fresh product first, refrigerated product second and frozen product third. Any sizable kitchen takes a team of skilled foodservice professionals to produce the volume of food product to meet its daily requirements. You can have utilities and food product, but without labor to produce the prod- uct, you are at a standstill. Labor is the heart of a foodservice operation. Utilities and food product are static resources. Labor involves people. Any time you involve people, the equation gets much more complex. During a time of disaster, what's the most important thing on our mind? Our families. Your typical employee, no matter how dedicated and loyal, will drop everything and not be able to focus and do their job until they know that their family is accounted for and safe. Planning and conversa- tion will help. As a part of your COOP, communication resources must be in place prior to an event to allow your staff to effectively communicate with each other and, more important, their families. The sooner they can ensure that their families are safe and ac- counted for, the sooner they can focus on their jobs. Take Action We live in a reactive society, and disaster preparedness is a proactive effort. Now is the time for you and your foodservice operation to take action. Develop a COOP for your foodservice operation. If you have a plan, find it, pull it down from the shelf and practice it with your team. Sports teams suc- ceed because they practice. You, your team, and your operation will succeed and survive an emergency or disaster because you have a plan and have prac- ticed its execution. The time for action is now. For much more on disaster preparedness, including solutions and resources, please see: The North Carolina Baptist Men's disaster relief mobile kitchen "Marra One" can feed thousands in the wake of a hurricane. Photos courtesy of Ralph Goldbeck

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