Power outages can strike at any moment due to storms or power surges. These unfortunate events can take a toll on neighborhoods and individuals with waste, extreme heat or cold weather conditions, and stopping everything in its tracks. But power outages are even worse for businesses, especially food-based ones like restaurants and grocery stores with thousands of items of food to consider.
There’s only so much you can do to prepare for a power outage at your store, like having a solid grocery store insurance plan (like our Grocers’ Advantage program) lined up, but stores have to take into consideration what happens after the lights come back on and food can be properly stored and sold. Here are some quick notes to help your store during and after a power outage happens.
When a Power Outage Occurs
According to the Food Marketing Institute, supermarkets carry an average of 40,000 items. Even if one-fifth of this is perishable, that means that about 8,000 items still need to be tossed. When the lights go out start by shutting off the gas or solid fuel cooking, which can lead to a dangerous build up of toxic fumes if not properly ventilated. Begin your game plan of which foods will need to be thrown out, especially items in the deli and raw meats. A power outage of two hours or less isn’t considered hazardous to foods that are kept under safe conditions, but any longer and the food dumping must begin.
Pull The Plug on Prepping
If your food cannot be kept at safe temperatures then it’s time to stop preparing food like meats and baked goods. Not enough water pressure or hot water mixed with inadequate lighting can result in more harm done than expected. Get everyone to a meeting spot and decide who will stay and who will go, depending on food-tossing procedures.
When The Lights Come Back On
After power is restored begin by checking internal temperatures of all hot and cold potentially hazardous food. You’ll have to sift through all food items to see which food will be kept and not. Try to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible and, if possible, group packages of cold food together and separate raw meats.
While your store will most definitely suffer some losses from a power outage, being in the know when it comes to handling food will be the difference maker in just how much loss, both physical and financial, will occur.
About Irving Weber Associates
At Irving Weber Associates, Inc., we understand what it takes to run a successful business, including investing in a comprehensive Grocers’ Advantage insurance program to ensure that you are financially protected against legal claims. Our program includes specialty coverages including Liquor and General Liability, Property, Workers’ Compensation, Umbrella coverage, Business Auto, and many more. For a detailed look at how we can safeguard your business with a custom-tailored package, please contact our experts today at (800) 243-1811.