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Photo: Gary Tognoni via iStock of Wilmington, N.C. after 2018 Hurricane Florence.
While Hurricane Dorian has largely passed, after devastating the Bahamas and spurring flooding in North Carolina, the torrential rains and furious winds of the 2019 hurricane season remain in full force. In the north central Atlantic, for instance, Tropical Storm Gabrielle continues to brew, while three other systems in and near the Gulf of Mexico threaten to develop into still more destructive weather forces, according to the Washington Post.
In fact, dead-center of this hurricane season was yesterday and there's really no telling which states and nations will have suffered the season's fury by the time it ends in October. It is a given, however, that through it all, restaurant operators always face repercussions of such storms, since, in the world of food costs, Mother Nature is often the one X-factor that no one can control.
While commodity experts have projections on what they think will happen with crops each year, nothing can put a wrench in those plans quite like drought, floods, hurricanes, deep freezes or any other natural disaster.
In short, when it comes to restaurant risk management, weather-related contingency plans should be top of mind all year, but especially at this time of year.
Citrus crops, avocados and anything else that grows in moderate temperate climates — specifically such areas in Florida — are all at risk. Still, operators can often pass through these unavoidable situations with minimal disruption if they take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their supplies.
Toward that end and especially for operators at this time of year, we've put together some ways to prepare for unplanned weather events in ways that minimize their overall impact. But these actions are advance preparations and must be taken in the proverbial "calm before the storm" in order to reap their full advantage.
Nobody can truly predict what Mother Nature has up her sleeve. But by having a plan before the next natural disaster occurs you can better protect your ingredients, menu items and customer expectations.
Andy Rosenbloom is a foodservice professional who heads up the marketing team at the Buyers Edge Platform and its associated GPO brands, including Dining Alliance, Consolidated Concepts, Buyers Edge, FoodBAM and others. Andy’s insights come from a cross-section of the operators, distributors, manufacturers, service providers and trend-watchers.www