For small businesses, extreme heat can mean unexpected costs
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Weather events have already hit a lot of the country hard this summer. Parts of the East Coast are dealing with heavy rain from Tropical Storm Elsa (including severe flooding in New York’s subway system), and many parts of the West are headed for more extreme heat this weekend. And that recent record-breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest? A group of scientists said it would have been virtually impossible without climate change.
Some businesses are just not ready for all this extreme weather.
Chris Donovan-Dirk owns the Bishop Burger Barn in California, a roadside restaurant with outdoor seating. The heat has been rough on her staff running food.
“From under a hot heat lamp, you know, out into the sun to serve people,” she said.
She’s had to keep the AC running full blast over the kitchen grill. Many small business owners were just bouncing back from the pandemic when the triple-digit heat rolled in.
“This makes them more vulnerable to loss compared to large businesses that have backup resources that other facilities or locations [have],” said Xiomara Peña with the non-profit Small Business Majority.
With unexpected weather can come unexpected costs, like AC upgrades, higher electrical bills, even irrigation systems to protect property in case of wildfires. And, Burger Barn owner Donovan-Dirk said, customers can get impatient in 100-plus degrees.
“Cranky people will not wait in line as long when it’s very hot,” she said.
She has misters to cool customers, and she adds that once patrons sit down with a milkshake and burger … they usually chill out.
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