How restaurants are recovering from Hurricane Ian

Welcome to First Bite, a Nation’s Restaurant News podcast, your daily source of news from NRN hosted by Holly Petre.

Today, we’re talking about how restaurants can prepare and react to Hurricane Ian.

After Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm and continued to cause damage on Thursday as it was downgraded to a Category 1 storm, many residents and businessowners are now left to assess the damage. One indicator of the catastrophic impact of the hurricane is that, at the peak of the storm, 40 Waffle Houses were closed across Florida

Over the years, 24-hour breakfast brand Waffle House has become a storm barometer of sorts across the Southeast: if Waffle Houses are closing you know the storm is bad.

Rescue teams are working to help Florida coastal residents with flooded homes and communities. Many were unable to evacuate because the hurricane path was fairly unpredictable, and hit Central Florida much harder than initially expected. In Orlando, although many theme parks had already reopened on Friday, many sustained damage as well. Both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando opened their parks and restaurants in stages starting on Friday. Disney World announced that around 80 resort restaurants are still closed, including AAA Five Diamond-rated Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. It is unclear whether low staffing, supply chain issues or both have impacted the lengthy list of temporary closures.

Hear more from Joanna Fantozzi.

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