As if 2020 hadn’t already landed enough heavy punches on the restaurant industry, South Africa’s eateries are once more up facing an old adversary: the ever-looming threat of electricity interruptions. We’ve gathered some popular myths around restaurants and power outages, as well as the reality of the situation, so you’re aware of the challenges restaurants really face during loadshedding.
MYTH: Restaurants cook with gas cookers, so the menu should be the same.
REALITY: While restaurants do often cook on gas, especially for pasta, steaks and seafood, some appliances are electricity-only. Coffee machines, deep fryers and grillers are some of these appliances. This means that some items won’t be served during loadshedding – such as French fries, cappuccinos, toasted sandwiches, grilled dishes like nachos, or anything from an oven. It’s always best to ask your server for an update.
MYTH: As soon as the power returns, everything on the menu should return to normal straight away.
REALITY: Restaurant equipment can take some time to reach optimum temperature once the power returns. Espresso machines, for example, need to heat up and reach optimum water pressure before the first coffee is made, which can take up to 45 minutes.
MYTH: All restaurants are closed during loadshedding.
REALITY: Restaurants want to be open for business as much as possible, and wherever possible they will find a way to welcome you through their doors. Chat to the manager to find out about their plans for power outages and how this may impact your visit.
MYTH: Telephones don’t need electricity to work.
REALITY: Many businesses today use internet-based telephone services, which may be affected by electricity outages. Many restaurants and cafés will revert to social media during loadshedding, so be sure to check there for an alternative phone number or method of communication.
MYTH: Air conditioning and ventilation are not essential.
REALITY: Extraction and ventilation in a hot kitchen definitely are essential, and if they aren’t operational it can be hazardous to the staff working in those areas. Without extraction, even a small kitchen can become overwhelmed with smoke and fumes, affecting the breathing and vision of the cooks and staff.
MYTH: Surely restaurants have backup generators by now?
REALITY: Even if the business has some backup power, the supply is usually very limited and will be used for essential equipment such as emergency lighting, security alarms, credit card machines and sales systems.