It's one of those things you try not to think about. No refrigerator. No freezer. No oven. No mixer. No gelato machine. No hot water. No computer or cash register. No phone. And no lights.
The power has only been completely off once since we opened three years ago (knock on wood). And it was only for about an hour.
The other day however we had a brown-out -- the lights flickered and then went dim. Not completely out. The computers and phones still worked. But the oven and ice machine were beeping and the freezers were eerily quiet. The gelato machine wouldn't work. I didn't even try to turn on the mixer or the sheeter. Why bother since we couldn't bake anyway.
It could have been worse. Many people in West Alabama had no power at all after a strong storm the day before. I thought we had escaped unaffected. I was wrong.
More than 20 hours later, when the power came back on, we started throwing out the damaged food. Almost full cases of heavy cream and cream cheese, milk, buttermilk, ham, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese. Mushroom soup and chili we were planning to serve for lunch. And our gelato. About 80 containers of beautiful hand made gelato and sorbet, all melted. Then there were all the pastries and cookies that had been made-up, then frozen or refrigerated, waiting to be baked. Ugly and misshapen from the lack of cold air. For a small bakery, the loss was significant.
This is why we have insurance.
So if you plan to open a bakery, or any other food service establishment, have a contingency plan. Many large restaurants in our area (which is prone to storms) have back-up generators. While we cannot justify that expense, our insurance company offers coverage for losses due to a power outage. It doesn't cover the time and expense of re-making the lost items, but it is still a no-brainer.
Remember, it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.