Let's see. Ice storms rock Upstate New York and New England for weeks one winter, a big part of the power grid goes down in the northeastern U.S. and parts of the Midwest in August, a trio of hurricanes plows through Florida...you already know why having an emergency preparedness tool in hand is a really good idea. But who's got the time, let alone the expertise, to create one?
Robert Kwortnik, assistant professor at the Cornell Hotel School, has come up with a tool for you. It's meant for hotel operators, but specifically addresses most of the issues any restaurant operator would also have to face in a time of crisis.
"The lesson of recent natural and manmade disasters is that almost any hotel (read "restaurant") needs to plan for the reality that it will have to operate without utilities, including electricity and running water," Kwortnik says. "While it may not be possible to prevent power from failing, a hotel operator can mitigate the effects of the loss of power and other utilities by planning ahead."
His management tool gives hospitality owners and managers a roadmap to prepare for the loss of electrical power in an emergency or natural disaster. In particular, the emergency preparedness checklist is a jewel. Hey, you already know which systems in your restaurant are on emergency or standby power and which are not, don't you?
To access this tool, go to http://hotelschool.cornell.edu/chr/research/tools.html
While you're at the Cornell site, click over to http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/chr/research/abstract/makingITmatter.pdf There'll you'll find a tool designed help executives create and sustain a strategic advantage in information technology. It's probably most applicable to large-scale restaurant operations, but who wouldn't want to know how to do this?
But maybe you'd just like to make more money off your beverage program. In that case, head to http://www.coldbrewinfo.com and download the 125-recipe ecookbook available there. It's loaded with ideas about how you incorporate cold-brewed coffee and tea into your operation. Caveat: The ecookbook comes courtesy of the Toddy cold brewing system, so they have a vested interest here. However, the recipes are easily adapted to work with any of the coffee concentrate products you could buy through your beverage or broadline distributor. The Toddy system however, is no slouch. It's what the Seattle's Best coffeehouse chain (owned by Starbucks) and Gloria Jean's use to concoct their signature iced, blended and latte drinks.
Certainly the most widely applicable download out of this lot is "Sourcing Seafood," a comprehensive guide to buying ocean-friendly (i.e., sustainable) fish and shellfish. The guide comes from Seafood Choices Alliance, a group whose agenda is summed up by guide co-author Howard Johnson. "With demand for seafood increasing year after year, it becomes even more important to select species that are abundant and suppliers that are environmentally responsible," he says. "The goal of Sourcing Seafood-the first directory of its kind-is to make it easy for food professionals to locate suppliers of ocean-friendly seafood."
Whether you share this perspective or not, this information-packed guide should prove to be of high value to just about any full service operator who menus seafood.
It's rare that anyone gives away this much valuable information (144 pages in all) for free, To download a copy go to http://www.seafoodchoices.com. Hard copies are available, while they last, upon request at the web site, or by calling 866-SEA-MORE.