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Preventing Restaurant Utility Service Interruption

February 16, 2018

Restaurants rely on city utilities and similar services to operate on a daily basis. They need easy access to clean water for cooking and washing dishes, while access to electricity helps keep the lights on and equipment running. As a restaurant owner/manager, you may also count on access to a reliable gas line to power your ovens, stove tops and other appliances.

These utilities and services are easy to take for granted and it only becomes apparent how much you rely on them when an unexpected service interruption occurs.

While long-term utility interruptions are pretty rare, its important for restaurant owners to remember just how much of a financial impact even a short utility interruption can have on their businesses. Losing out on a day's worth of profits can have a serious effect on your bottom line.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent utility interruptions and keep your restaurant running through power outages or other disasters.

What you will learn: 

Invest in a Back-Up Generator.

One of the wisest investments restaurants can make is that of a back-up generator, which can provide electrical power to your restaurant in the event of a local power outage.

Perhaps a major storm has caused a widespread outage, or a car accident has knocked out a power line on the street where your business is located. Either way, not having electricity at your restaurant can not only require you to temporarily shut down, but may also lead to the loss of perishable food items that can be costly to replace. Even worse, your clients will regret spending their time at your venue. 

With a back-up gas generator in-place, you can keep some electricity running. This could be enough to keep your establishment up and running or, at the very least, protect your perishable items until power is restored.

Set Up Alternative Communications.

If your restaurant relies on landline phones to make and receive calls, it's also a good risk management measure to have a back-up communications system in place.

These days, adding a business cell phone line is more affordable than ever—so if power goes out at your restaurant, business calls won't be dropped. This can be especially important if you run a restaurant that offers delivery or carry-out.

You might also consider a mobile phone app that allows customers to place orders via their smartphones. These orders can come directly to your workers' mobile devices, so you can stay in touch with clients even in the middle of a landline outage. 

Schedule an Electrical Inspection.

After an outage is resolved and power is restored, one additional problem that can occur at your is a power surge. When appliances and electronics suddenly power back on all at the same time, this can overload your restaurant's electrical system and result in further complications and delays.

Fortunately, power surges are pretty easy to prevent:

  • Shut off major appliances after a power outage to prevent them from automatically turning back on when power is restored
  • Schedule annual electrical inspections at your place of business to ensure that your electrical system is up to code

Do You Need Utility Service Interruption Coverage?

Taking all the precautions in the world may still not protect your restaurant completely from downtime and other financial losses associated with utility interruption.

For this reason, restaurant owners invest in utility service interruption coverage. Specifically, this policy can reimburse you for any loss of income and other expenses related to a major outage.

This Berkeley Lab study states that power outages are increasing in duration due to an increase in catastrophic weather events. Such a trend makes utility service interruption coverage more prevalent as a necessary risk management measure.

What to Do When You're Unsure.

Hopefully, you'll never find yourself in a situation where your restaurant needs to halt operations for any amount of time due to a power outage, water main break, or other utility service interruptions.

If you do, however, you will hopefully have the necessary coverage in place to protect your restaurant's bottom line. If you're unsure about which coverages you really need, speak with a local restaurant insurance adviser today!

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