Web Exclusive: What Happens After A Disaster?

When disaster strikes, be it a fire, flood, storm, etc., the first reaction is usually one of panic and disbelief. For hotels, however, catering is essential to getting back to business as usual and ensuring the safety of your guests and associates.

For those who don’t know the correct procedure, this can be quite a daunting task. Where do I start? What will the insurance cover? How to find the best catering partner? Catering services are indeed covered by most hotel insurers, but for a hotel team, it’s about making the most of the coverage, with the maximum amount of restored items.

Prism Specialties can help guide hotels through the process, with a range of electronic, textile, art and document catering services. Prism Specialties restores hundreds of items across the United States, including kitchen appliances, computers, paintings, sculptures, photographs, software products and more.

We asked Brandon Kinney, Director of Operations, Prism Specialties, ERS / TEX Greater Houston, for advice for hotels in choosing the right catering partners, and advice on how to conserve these precious and essential items:

Why do hotels need food services?
Most businesses will suffer a loss due to an accident, natural disaster, or unforeseen events such as a fire or a broken water line. When these losses occur, valuable content is damaged. While the cost of replacement can be prohibitive or exorbitant, it is often the cost of business interruption that is of most concern. Think about all the important elements of a hotel that really make it a hotel. There are TVs, alarm clocks, microwaves, refrigerators, bedding, curtains, artwork, and lamps in every room. The hotel often has a restaurant, business devices, computers, documents, and sculptures in the lobby. Think about what it will take to become a functioning business after the peril.

When should a hotelier consider a catering service?
Before having an event. Doing your research and identifying partners before an incident occurs is always the best approach. After a natural disaster, it can be difficult to find companies that can handle your disaster. Having a pre-loss agreement with the companies ensures that you will be top of their list at an event. This process is also relevant for losses due to accident, fire or loss of water.

Is this usually covered by insurance and how can hotels take advantage of their coverage?
Most restoration work is covered in the event of a disaster, such as fire or flood. Any coverage depends on the language of your specific policy and varies depending on the type of event. Typical coverage includes structural mitigation (drying and / or removal of damp materials such as drywall and carpets), content assessment, replacement or restoration, cleaning, reconstruction of damaged materials. Hotels should work with their agent to ensure that their policy covers all aspects important to the operation of their establishment.

How should hotels go about finding the right catering partners?
When selecting a service provider, look for a company with years of experience in the restaurant business and that is well reviewed online. For specialist content restorers like us, make sure your restoration has the capacity to operate on-site if needed. They should also be available 24/7/365; this is the norm in the industry. The main goal of your restaurant business should be to get you back into business as soon as possible.

What types of food services are offered to hotels?
Water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, content cleaning, structural reconstruction, air duct cleaning, carpet cleaning, mold removal and storm restoration. Specialty restoration covers a wide range of applications depending on the specific damage.

How does Prism Specialties help hotels? What makes you unique?
Prism Specialties is a network of experts specializing in restoration. Unlike others on the market, we have experts in all specialized categories: art, electronics, appliances, documents and textiles. Therefore, one call can meet all of these needs. We love to say that when you need an expert we are your best first call.

What mistakes do you think hoteliers make in the catering process or in choosing a catering service?
A mistake of hoteliers is to partner with companies that are not available to them 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Power surges caused by storms and flooding caused by broken pipes can occur any time of the day or on a weekend. If anything is damaged, it is important that it be removed or secured in place as soon as possible. Delays in getting a damaged item to a restoration expert can reduce the chances of restoration.

What challenges are hotel catering services currently facing? How do you plan to overcome them?
All businesses face the same situation when it comes to restoration and construction. The combination of the increasing number of natural disasters and the labor shortage in the country creates a huge capacity challenge for all types of entrepreneurs. Again, having pre-loss agreements in place with mitigation contractors and catering companies that specialize in your unique content is the best way to put yourself on the front lines when things happen.

Is there anything else readers should know?
As an insured person, you have the choice between service providers. If you wait for an event to happen, you might not have any options available. This process should be part of your risk management plan.

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