Safety and Sanitation: How to Prepare your Restaurant for Winter

Women dining outRestaurant owners face many challenges during the winter. Depending on region, sales can slow down to just a fraction of summer and fall business. Cold weather typically brings higher energy costs, power outages, and less accessibility for customers. If your city gets plenty of snow, you may have to put salting and shoveling before pursuing marketing initiatives. Preparing for a bad winter in advance may allow you to avoid some serious hassles if a big storm hits:

  • Check your insurance policy to see what is covered in the event of a major winter storm. If there are important items that are not covered, speak to your insurance about options that may be available.
  • Determine who is responsible for keeping your heating equipment in proper working order. Is it you or your landlord? If it is you, put a plan in place by purchasing mobile heaters such as this 3.3 kW DeWALT electric heater. Have a unit or two of this heater ready to go in the kitchen, as well as in the dining room, to comfort the customers.
  • Have a plan in place so that a furnace or boiler malfunction does not completely shut down your business. One 1.65 kW DeWALT electric heater should do the job, though you may want to have an additional heater on hand as backup.
  • Keep important emergency contact information accessible in the restaurant and off-site, so you can easily get in touch with whomever you might need. Such information can include the name and numbers of your heating contractor, plumber, fire department, insurance agent, landlord, and building owner. If you are not at the restaurant, make sure a manager or staff member has access to the information.
  • Create an employee communication plan to alert staff about closures and re-openings. This can be as simple as a group text message.
  • Keep efficient snow removal equipment (shovels, snow blowers, salt, sand) onsite or set up an agreement with a local snow removal company to keep your property free from snow and ice.
  • If you would like to keep outdoor seating during the winter season, invest in a patio heater that can operate up to 12 hours on a 20-pound propane tank. Patio heaters can heat a 15’ area and keep guests comfortable on those mild winter days.
  • Seal your restaurant with caulking and install weather-strip doors to avoid drafts.