How to run your restaurant when the power goes out


How to run your restaurant when the power goes out

Running a restaurant is a fun business to be in if you’re a lover of people and great food. And it’s definitely a business that the public loves and supports. For that reason, everyone would love their favourite restaurants to be up and running throughout the year. And, while most of them do stay open throughout the year, there’s only so much they can do when load shedding and power outages happen.

But, even then, there are things that restaurants can do to keep themselves running when the power does go out.


Backup generator

Having a backup generator is probably one of the most obvious and best solutions to keep things running as smoothly as possible when the power cuts, but it’s not always the most affordable or accessible option for everyone.

Restaurant business owners should take a look around and see what the backup power options are that will work for their location, power and restaurant needs. Babcock power generation solutions, for example, include generator sets or mobile power generators as some of their power generating product offerings which could work perfectly for your restaurant.

Restaurants should seriously consider saving up for a backup generator because it can save them money in the long run. This way you won’t have to worry about losing customers, compromising your inventory or being helpless in the way of card transactions.


Additional lighting

Without a generator, however, there are other things you can do to keep the restaurant running. First thing’s first, without power there’s no more light. And if you’re open for dinners, then you’re going to have to make a plan. For example, flashlights for the kitchen staff so that they can keep an eye on what’s cooking and keep cleaning the incoming dishes.

Then for the dining area, candles for the tables is a non-obtrusive light source that will even add some ambience to the experience. And then having other battery-operated lighting solutions around to keep walkways and surrounding areas of the restaurant lit. And don’t forget to bring some light to the toilets as well.



If you want to be able to keep cooking while the power is out, then you need to invest in a gas hob and oven. If you swear by all things electrical cooking during normal circumstances, then consider having just a mini gas stove on site for these power outage situations.

It’s a temporary solution so that you won’t have to waste the meat that’s currently cooking and you can still stick to the current menu without having to change it too much to accommodate limited cooking appliances and capabilities. If you need to let customers know that their order may be delayed as a result, then be sure to let them know.  


Old school processes

Tablets and software programmes that are used to record and send customer orders through to the kitchen aren’t going to be working during a power outage. Make sure there are pens and notepads available for the old school “Can I take your order” process that can be written down and personally sent to the kitchen. Or you can consider a point of sales (POS) system like Revel that can operate while offline to keep your processes running smoothly. Not many people are walking around with cash these days, so having a backup payment system for bank cards will be a good and appreciated idea.


Check your food

When the power goes out, your primary concern is your food and inventory. You need to keep your food as fresh as possible. For your walk-in fridge/freezer, do your best to keep it closed as much as possible to keep the coolness in. If the power comes back on after two to four hours of it being off, you need to check your stock and make sure you use (and don’t refreeze) any items that are sitting at 10°C as they will still be good for consumption.

It’s important to check your food and not serve anything that could be deemed harmful to the health of your customers. Rather close your doors if it’s absolutely necessary than attempt to serve food that should be okay when it really isn’t. Something like this will ruin your restaurant's reputation quicker than it will take for your backup generator to kick in.


Being energy conscious

A lot of the time the cause of power outages is a general shortage of power to meet energy demands. So, take some initiative as a restaurant and be a little more energy conscious.

When it comes time to replace old equipment or invest in a new kitchen “toy”, go for an energy efficient option that automatically saves and uses less energy. Then, all you need to do is maintain and clean your equipment regularly so that they have no reason to work harder than necessary and consume more energy to perform their tasks.