How to Protect Your Restaurant Against Power Surges

Power surges due to local area load shedding or lightning strikes are a reality for most people. The rush of a power surge that takes place when the electricity rushes through the electrical circuit can cause devastating results for businesses and restaurants.

Restaurants rely on electricity constantly as it affects the amount of customers they get. If a restaurant is shut down due to a power surge that electrocuted all the kitchen equipment, it means that income is lost for that period. As a restaurant owner, you need to plan what you would do in such an event and how to prevent it.

The first thing you could do is to install a power surge protector. This power surge protector can minimise the impact of a power surge when lightning strikes. So the electrical catering equipment will not get that quick rush of electricity which can lead to electrical failure. The consequences of a sudden electrical rush can be devastating as the electricity can burn or destroy an electrical appliance’s circuit board.

You could consider using gas powered catering equipment such as a gas stove and oven. For restaurants there are 6 burner stove options available that allow you to cook more food at one time. A gas stove and oven is not connected to an electrical outlet but rather to a gas cylinder. Therefore during a power surge, this commercial catering equipment will be safe.

It is advisable to unplug your catering equipment while it’s not in use during a storm. In this manner you can minimise the devastating effects of a storm. You can still continue with the restaurant duties by using the minimal catering equipment required. Anything that your staff is not using, unplug it while the storm ensues.

Check that your insurance covers the replacement of your kitchen equipment when it is struck by lightning. Most insurance companies do cover this but with others it is an optional cover. In the event that your catering equipment is damaged due to lightning, they should be able to replace it. However, take the precautions anyway, because the time between the insurance pays out and the electrical surge could be days or weeks apart and your restaurant still has to keep on going.

The last thing you want is for all your electrical catering equipment to be damaged due to lightning. Rather take the precautions before it happens and save yourself the burden and cost of having to replace the catering equipment.

What Is Fleet Risk Management and Do You Need It?

Running a business is nothing if not expensive. From the costs associated with your supply chain to little recurring costs like supplies, heating and electricity, it seems like much of your work is keeping the books balanced.

As such, we’re all guilty of finding ways to cut back on expenditure to help our revenue growth, but whilst many of those cutbacks fall firmly on the side of smart, is it a good idea to cut back on fleet risk management if you’re operating a fleet of vehicles?

The answer is no, but what is fleet risk management, and why do you actually need it? Read on to find out.

What is Fleet Risk Management?

Put at its most basic, fleet risk management is the process of ensuring that you are doing as much as possible to make sure that everyone with a company car within your business is insured, safe and aware of any dangers out on the road.

It helps to keep drivers safe whilst out on the road, reduces your fleet costs and ensures that you’re compliant with the law. But why is it against the law to not engage with fleet risk management? It has a little something to do with…

Your Duty of Care

If you’re a business owner, you’ll likely be aware that you have a duty of care to your staff to ensure that your workplace is safe. In doing so, you must work to prevent health risks from occurring and train staff to deal with any danger which is likely to occur.

What you might not know though is that your duty of care doesn’t end at your welcome mat – it extends out to anywhere your staff will be working, and that includes any fleet vehicles you operate. In effect, this means that you are legally obligated to ensure that your staff are properly trained and aware of potential risks. Failure to do so can result in you being liable for any accidents that occur – something nobody wants.

There are three main areas of risk management that you need to attend to. They are:

Driver

· Driver vetting and selection

· Induction procedures

· Licence checks

· Accident reporting procedures

Vehicle

· Vehicle suitability

· Vehicle maintenance and inspections

· Vehicle security

Journey

· Journey planning

· Managing driver fatigue

· Speed management

· Journey type

It’s always recommended that you work with an outside fleet risk management company, as this will ensure that you are 100% compliant with the law and that your staff are getting the required support in order to do their jobs effectively.

The Email Mistake

Do you believe your computer’s email program which says “delivery complete” a few seconds after you hit the “send” button? If you do, you have made the classic email mistake. Your computer may think it has been “sent,” but that isn’t the real question. The real question is whether or not the email has been received.

Let’s examine the rules from two forums: First, the appeal rules from the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”), which adjudicates appeals from size protests. Second, the bid protest rules of the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), which adjudicates most bid protests:

OHA: (a) Methods of filing and service. E-mail, mail, delivery and facsimile are all permitted unless a Judge orders otherwise…

Here’s what happens when you fail to confirm the forum’s receipt of your email. In Size Appeal of Supplies, Now, SBA No. Siz-5655, 2015 WL 2149481 (April 20, 2015), Supplies Now attempted to appeal a size determination that they believed was wrong (it had been dismissed as untimely because it was filed more than five business days after award notification). Supplies Now received the size determination on February 3, 2015. On February 18, 2015, Supplies Now filed its appeal by email, and obtained an acknowledgement from its email account that said “Delivery to recipients or groups is complete, but no delivery notification was sent by the destination server. [OHA’s email address is listed among those in the acknowledgement].” After about six weeks, and hearing nothing from OHA, Supplies Now called OHA and was advised that the appeal had not been received. Supplies now retransmitted its appeal petition on April 9, 2015.

In dismissing the appeal as untimely, OHA noted that, in accordance with 13 C.F.R. § 134.304(a), a size appeal must be filed at OHA within 15 days of receipt of the size determination, and Supplies Now had failed to do so, since nothing had been received within 15 days. “[H]aving chosen to submit its appeal by email, Appellant was responsible for ensuring that the email successfully reached OHA. Nor could Appellant reasonably rely solely upon the acknowledgement from its email system, particularly given that Appellant received no response, over a period of several weeks from OHA or other intended recipients of the appeal.”

Note that the GAO rules (set forth above) similarly stress that a document is not filed until it is received by the GAO, including emailed documents.

The lesson is simple-if you email something to OHA or the GAO, always confirm by telephone that it has been received. Do not trust a computer generated confirmation, or even a “return receipt” sent by an email program. Telephone the forum, get the name and phone number of the person at GAO or OHA, and be sure all pages were received. Federal officials are unlikely to falsely deny receipt after they have specifically acknowledged it.

Copyright 2017 Richard D. Lieberman

Grocery Store Consulting – The Risk Management of Wrist Management

One of the huge costs of running a grocery store is healthcare. Workmen’s (workperson’s) compensation is also a challenge due to all the grocery clerks who have wrist problems or Carpal Tunnel. Those repetitive motions of picking up items and moving them across the scanner take their toll on the frail human skeletal bones of the wrist. You can see why large grocery store chains with risk management departments take “wrist management” seriously. Let’s talk, but first let me tell you a little personal story.

The other day, I purchased 8 two-liter bottles, and I noted the cashier line I got into was one with an older lady who normally wears a Carpal Tunnel wrist support brace. I put one bottle up and said; “8 of those” and told her I was saving her from Carpal Tunnel, and she thanked me and said she had forgotten her wrist brace today and was happy not to have to do any heavy lifting. I was then pleased with myself for thinking ahead and on-the-fly and bypassing the heavy bottles to the young bagging gal who asked the same-old same-old; “Paper or Plastic?”

If this older checker is not careful, she’ll be on disability before she knows it, and I bet the risk management department knows that too, even if their in-house specialists and in-house contracted chiropractors are trying to keep her on as long as possible to avoid another Carpal Tunnel union case and addition to their already challenging disability numbers.

In considering all this, it occurred to me that the grocery store risk management department should consider a couple of new strategies:

1.) Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome suffering employees work one-day on the check stand and then the next day monitoring the self-check aisles.
2.) Divide half the checkout stands in the store facing the other way, thus forcing the employees to use their other hand, and rotate the employees every other day to a different facing checkout stand.
3.) Increase the number of self-checkout stands.
4.) Rotate checkers with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to other parts of the store, deli section, produce section, etc.
5.) Invest in R&D to come up with a viable exo-skeleton wearable solution through the grocery store industry association.
6.) Put out a research grant to university bio-mimicry engineering students to solve the problem.

Well, there you have my advice for today, this of course comes from my entrepreneurial brain as a problem solver. The money spent to find a solution or change-up the routines of employees should be welcomed by all; unions, shareholders, employees, and the good old risk management specialists of the largest grocery store chains. Please consider all this and think on it.