The severe weather and subsequent power outage that was experienced across South Australia overnight saw the average foodservice business suffer a loss of $5,000, according to Restaurant & Catering Australia.
While the majority of businesses in the state have had power restored, many were forced to shut up shop overnight, with the power cut off at approximately 3.30pm on 28 September.
According to premier Jay Weatherill, the storm took down three transmission lines and nine towers in the Port Augusta region, forcing the electricity connection between South Australia and Victoria to be shut down, and wind turbines, which make up an estimated 40 percent of the state's power generation, were unable to operate as winds were too high.
Restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs without generators – and with a reliance on electric kitchen equipment – were forced to close their doors or offer a restricted menu. For those that chose to remain open, many bookings went unfulfilled as the SES advised residents to avoid leaving their homes. Diners that braved the weather were eating by candlelight.
According to Sally Neville, deputy CEO of the Restaurant and Catering Association, many businesses have also had to throw away produce that is no longer suitable for consumption, including dairy products, various desserts and seafood.
Neville told Hospitality the morale of foodservice operators was reasonable considering the events of the past 24 hours, but added that the storms have served as a reminder for businesses to assess their insurance coverage, with a number of businesses not protected against loss of trade.