Your Equipment and Supplies
If your restaurant is in an area prone to flooding, try to keep electrical items, such as computers and kitchen appliances, elevated above flood level, Amarante says. “It’s also a good idea to stock up on sandbags and consider updating landscaping around the outside of the restaurant,” he explains, to divert any floodwater away from the building.
Russo invested in powerful backup generators, which really reduced loss, “especially when it comes to keeping your fridge full of food running,” he says.
Datz Restaurant Group, which is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, and has three restaurants—Datz, Dough, and Roux in that city—has a gas generator for each location so they wouldn’t lose any stock. As it was, the restaurants didn’t sustain any serious damage and reopened within four days.
The Datz group also developed a smaller menu ahead of time that could be executed by a smaller staff, in case employees couldn’t make it in after the storm, or if the restaurants had limited equipment, due to damage or power outages. This, founder and co-owner Suzanne Perry says, would allow the restaurants to at least be functional, though turned out to not be needed.
In terms of equipment, Russo’s removed as much from the locations as possible, especially any that could be damaged by water exposure. And, the restaurants stored all computers in a safe, dry area and backed them up.
If you have enough time, Russo recommends moving heavier items off-site, but otherwise, lift them onto wood to stay above flooding, and cover them with heavy plastic sheeting to keep out water.
The Datz restaurants disconnected all equipment from outlets, shut off the gas, and took everything it could to the second floors.
Review your insurance policy to confirm the building and all equipment is included in the coverage, Amarante advises.
On top of its basic property damage and business insurance, Datz Restaurant Group carries wind coverage, flood coverage for properties in a flood zone, and income interruption insurance.
Also, create copies of all important documents, Amarante says, including contracts, insurance policies and other legal documents. Additionally, invest in disaster-proof containers that will protect these documents in case of a flood or fire.
And make sure you have a list with contact information for all your employees, as well as major utility companies, who you’ll likely need to contact after the disaster.