Hurricane Irma arrived in the Orlando/Central Florida area at around 1 A.M. on September 9, 2017. Having already bulldozed it's way through the Keys, and South Florida Irma was on her way. While most of us in The Kitchen have already experienced their fair share of hurricanes, we knew not to take Irma lightly.
Luckily everyone in our immediate circle was okay, and as far as our community we all seemed set. Although we sustained some structural damage to our homes - our sneakers, and more importantly our lives, were safe. Over the next 6-9 days, the chefs at The Kitchen were without power, and internet with no idea just how much this storm would affect our business.
We all anticipated not having power for a few days, but the lack of cellular data was an under-sight for our business. With the lack of data we were unable to reach our customers on Instagram, our main tool for business, let alone our emails, and website.
When day four was upon us without internet, we knew we had to act in order to keep our customers updated, and maintain the transparency with which we operate. Without sounding dramatic - we drove as far as 40 minutes to a Panera Bread in order to access their wifi, and get back to business. Due to the lack of internet at the time, we were forced to refund several customers who believed we had flaked on the transaction - thankfully when communication was restored, they understood! Lessons like these from Hurricane Irma taught us to always be prepared for the worst.
Postage, and shipping delays pushed our business back several days - unable to ship due to the storm. While we were so engrossed in the tribulations we were experiencing with our brand, it was too easy to look around and witness the destruction from the storm, reminding us that our problems were trivial in comparison. Irma taught us a lot about what we could withstand as a team of chefs, but more importantly how important it was to prepare for further incidents. Often times these events may take place out of your control and it's best to anticipate every scenario you can. Stay safe during the rest of this hurricane season.