Restaurant Hurricane Season Preparation

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Hurricane season is upon us but you haven’t thought about it much…have you? Don’t procrastinate. Preparation is key! If you plan ahead, your restaurant will be much better off if a hurricane approaches.

Since we here at Front Street are also in the insurance business, hurricane season is always on our minds. We are always here if you have questions or need suggestions on how to prepare your restaurant for hurricane season. We have put together a list of things you should do at the beginning of every hurricane season and things to do if a storm is approaching our area.

At the beginning of hurricane season;

  1. Check your insurance policies and make sure they are up to date and accurate.
  2. Take updated photos of your restaurant and take a complete inventory of the business. Included everything; every room/area, every piece of equipment, furniture, electronics, food and other inventory.
  3. Establish an emergency team. Pick employees to act as leaders and contact points in case a storm hits your area.
  4. If you have a generator, make sure it is in proper working order. We do not recommend buying gas at the beginning of every hurricane season because, like food, gas can go bad!
  5. Create an emergency plan and review it every year. Inform all co-workers of the emergency plan. Create a checklist on how to prepare before an emergency situation.
  6. Make sure you have up to date contact information for all of your employees. Create a phone tree and establish calling protocols.
  7. If you aren’t already, utilize a communications platform that only your employees can access. There are free options out there like Slack or even Facebook that can be configured to allow only employee users. This is an excellent way to notify the entire team about emergency information. 
  8. Compile a list of helpful numbers like a trusted roofer, tree service, electrician, restoration company, handyman etc. If a storm hits our area, you won’t be the only business that needs these trades. Be the first to call help when needed, and you’ll be that much higher on their list of priorities.

If a storm is approaching;

  1. Bring all outside furniture inside.
  2. Unplug all appliances and electronics.
  3. Turn off the water main.
  4. Elevate items that can be damaged by water off the floor.
  5. Cover wood surfaces or other items susceptible to water damage with a tarp.
  6. Remove critical business records and valuables.
  7. Save important business data on USB drives. Put it in a Ziploc bag, yes a Ziploc bag, and store it in two locations. Maybe at home and with a trusted employee. The chances of it being destroyed at two locations is less likely than if you only store it at one location.
  8. Empty ice bins and ice machines.
  9. Reduce food supplies. If you find yourself in need of evacuation or the power goes out, consider donating food to the local fire department, shelters and emergency facilities.
  10. Place small appliances, computers, etc. is plastic garbage bags. If the roof leaks, these items will be less likely to sustain damages if they are properly protected.
  11. If you have a generator, buy gas and store properly in a well ventilated area.
  12. Make sure gutters are unobstructed and are flowing away from the building.

Front Street offers restaurant insurance from the very best insurance companies around. We can offer a comprehensive insurance plan made specifically for your restaurant. Be sure to check out our latest article "Top 5 Specialized Restaurant Insurance Coverages You Might Not Have" to learn more. Call our insurance division and speak to Greg Banks at 352-327-3178 or email him at greg@frontstreet.net.  

Download a printer friendly version of this article and keep it with your important papers. Also remember to download your full Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit, and check out other Emergency Preparedness Resources from the US Small Business Administration

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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