Power Outage

Tonight I had a power outage. A transformer blew. It took the electric Co. 3 hours to get power restored. Of course the power goes out at 4:45 (I am supposed to open at 5) and gets restored at 8. Needless to say, I couldn’t fill any orders until 8:00. I have a gas deck oven so I could’ve baked pizzas, but since I didn’t know when the power would be restored, I thought it best to stay closed, answer the phones and explain the situation to customers that call, and keep all my coolers closed to minimize any tempurature increase.
My questions to everyone are these: Does anyone use a backup generator for instances such as this? Do you stay open during the outage? What are some of your procedures for this type of instance?

Though I have never had to use it in the store I do have a generator that I culd use if the need arises. I would just run one of the ovens the prep table and the light over the table. All orders would have to be taken on the powerfail phone and written on paper tickets.

I had one night when all the bigboys in the city were without power but because I am in a different area I still had power and boy was it busy. I decided at the time what I would do if I had no power.

After I was the only place to stay open during two hurricanes in 2004(we only got 45-50mph winds, I am considering going to a natural gas generator. It’ll be expensive, but I saw a pizza/Italian restaurant just 500 yards from my store closed with no power for 10 days after one of these hurricanes.

In the meantime the occasional lightning strike or accident causes an hour or two power outage and its just a part of life. We have two other stores in town that I may transfer some of the orders to but mostly we get the customers address and phone number and tell them we will call when the power comes on. When we call, most have made other arrangements for dinner. For these we mail out a gift certificate for a free pizza. The others, we comp their complete order. This policy recognizes that we ruined a family dinner plans, even if we had no control of the situation. We’ve now taken a bad situation and turned it into a great experience. The good will gained far outweighs the cost of product we outlay.

Power generators capable of running a restaurant aren’t cheap. Of course, the biggest factor is what you’d hook to it. If you’re running electric ovens, you’re in trouble. Running the makeline and a few lights/phone would be okay, but not running the mixer, the walk-in, the a/c, etc.

The pizza gods were angry at me for some reason this weekend. Just when I thought we were making up ground from the power outage on Friday, my phone line decides to go south at 8:00 on Saturday. Something was causing me not to be able to hear my customers on the other end of the line. They could hear me just fine. I tried several different phones and all experienced the same issue. Being in a rural area, no phone guy was available (and won’t be until Monday).

We have power outages in my small towns all the time. I am going to outfit all my stores with enough power to at least run the walk-in, and one oven should the power go out for an extended timespan.

Occasionally we have floods, or snowstorms that knock out the power for a week at a time, I would hate to loose my perishable inventory, that would cost me a $1000 alone. Being the only place open, will pay for the generator.

A friend of mine recently experienced this his whole town was without power for 10 days. He had a small generator that ran the walk-in, and oven. He usually does about $10,000 a week. During that 10 day period he was averaging $4,000 a day.

I’ve seen natural gas generators sell dirt cheap at grocery store auctions. I would imagine the cost of having them set up would be expensive, but it would be nice to have it automatically switch on when power goes out. Plus they would be large enough to run your whole circuit panel, even your three phase mixer.

I know that the power does go out sometimes, at my store. It maybe because of the rain, electrical wire that has burned or for a silly reason. It may have a reason or not? Power does go out at my store, Most of the time it comes on after a few hours less or more. It helps to just know that it it just a joke. By some means the restaurant too needs to rest, the customers may call. They may want food or maybe they just want to bother or talk to you. Ask you each item on the menu? May never call again, or understand my pain. It maybe the first or last call of the day or the only call of the entire day, week or year. It may be the first call of a restaurant.

I know that i may need to realize that it’s just one day, or 5 minutes of the entire day. It may change me in many ways or a few. I know because i have been there. Doing the best i could, I may make only a dollar a day. Please call again. What matters is that i got up today? I showed up, i may have come late because of terrible rain or just any reason. You may be alone at the store or have 5 people around you. You made an effort, i may not want to even open today. I believe i have to. I have to pay for the pizza sauce, i may make some money today or not.
I have caller id, It stops working when it has no power. I may remember that i still need to make cups of ranch… I may have had the greatest day, maybe not.
The power may come when its the right time.
You make them food and hopefully they treat me right by giving me a pay?

We are lucky (touch wood) that we are on the “hospital grid”. This is the same power grid that goes to our local hospital which is protected from 99.9% of power failures.

We have had one outage since we have been in the shop (20 months) and that was May 2006 and the one before that was 2.5 years before.

I live across the road from my shop (a couple hundred metres) and we get 6 or more outages a year.

Hope by writing this I haven’t set us up for an outage this week. :wink:


Hello scoot, Funny to hear someone else felt my pain.This past Friday we started out slammed on the way of a record breaking Friday,then about 2;30 in the afternoon as we were cleaning up lunches disaster…BAM lights went out.Within 15-20 min. a customer comes in to tell me that some jacka$$ w/ a CDL who shouldn’t have one just turned the corner,hooked up to an electric pole and ripped it out of the ground!Now its about 3;30 and I have a crew of 9 and I’m trying to make a decision on weather to stay and wait or just call it a night.I went to the seen and asked a local cop who said this won’t be up and running for another 4-5 hours.So needless to say I just called it a night and went to the local bar and got drunk.On the plus side the next day Saturday was a record breaker for us regardless T/G.All I know is momma said there will be days like this.


Even though it stinks for each of us when something like this happens, it makes me feel better to know that I am not the only one that these things happen to.

I’m thinking there’s something “deep” in here.
Read it again.

OK, maybe not…