From Power Outages to Natural Disasters: How to Have Your F&B Department Prepared for Anything
One of the most important ways to be prepared is when it comes to your F&B. You can't sell food if it is spoiled due to a power outage. You can't operate restaurants and catering departments if timely food and drink deliveries aren't made to your hotel. And, you need the right equipment to be able to quickly prepare food. Everything pretty much has to work like clockwork when it comes to F&B.
"You want to be able to have product integrity, and that means product that is fresh at all times. You also need some necessary equipment for cooking food, no matter what the situation is," said Ken Taylor, vice president strategic development, MarkeTeam Inc.
Here are some suggestions to keep your F&B operation going as smoothly as possible:
MAKE F&B PART OF YOUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
"Our hotel has an emergency response team of about 20 people that includes people from F&B, like our chef,", said James Samson, director of food and beverage, at the 1,200-room Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile Chicago. "We have a responsibility checklist, based on all types of emergencies, and we know what we have to do if something happens."
EQUIPMENT IS KEY
You need self-sustaining equipment to cook food, if you can't use regular stoves, Taylor said. Have portable heating devices on hand in your hotel, such as Sterno cans. Mini grills can also be used in case of emergencies and delayed power outages. Large chafing dishes and buffet trays can hold a fair amount of food and can be used to heat this food relatively quickly as well, Taylor added. Keep extras of all of these items in your hotel.
BE IN TOUCH WITH VENDORS AND STOCK UP
If a storm or other weather condition is approaching, reach out to vendors in advance to order extra "staples," said Monika Henry, general manager of the 402-room Crowne Plaza Hotel White Plains, in New York. These staples include items such as water, bread, pasta, and canned sauces. In case deliveries can't be made, you need to know you have these handy. And, even with a generator. refrigeration will be limited - so you need to have food items that can last for a while and don't require refrigeration.
Samson's hotel always has enough water for at least three days to accommodate about half of the number of people staying at the property. He also said to include non-perishable items such as granola bars, nuts, and canned goods - foods that are particularly high in protein.
"In addition to guests, you also have to be prepared to feed your employees - if you have to shelter in place and your employees are staying at your property," Samson noted.
TEST YOUR BACK-UPS
There is an assumption that generators will just start working as soon as power goes on. Think again.
"We test our generator every single week to make sure it runs," Henry said. "You always want to be on top of something like this."