- Have a disaster plan. Ingermason had created a disaster-prep list, adapting it from an overview of emergency procedures from the Freddy's franchising company. While the overview suggests customers and employees head to the store's walk-in refrigerator to take cover in the event of disaster, the Joplin Freddy's freezers were outside of the restaurant, so the plan called for directing people to a windowless room as Snider did. Other steps like turning off dangerous equipment, which could catch fire or explode, were on Ingermason's disaster-prep list and were followed.
- Train employees on the plan. Ingermason reviews his store's disaster plan quarterly with the company's managers who are then required to train employees. "We do preparation in our manager meetings and you hope that when a disaster like this happens, that thought process kicks in," says Ingermason. "You hope that enough people will be calm and collected."
- House important documents safely, offsite. And if disaster does strike, you'll be glad if you have a backup system that houses important financial statements and other documents necessary to file an insurance claim. Ingermason says he keeps many of the documents he needed at his office in Salina, Kan., and backed up on servers that are housed elsewhere. But some things like the store's inventory records that were housed on site were lost.
- Get insurance coverage for business interruptions. Insurance costs can be considerable -- especially when you tack on separate coverage to protect your business against earthquakes, fire and floods. But for business owners like Ingermason -- who is expecting his rebuilding effort to cost roughly $750,000 -- having proper insurance coverage is vital.
Specifically, Ingermason has what's known as a business umbrella policy with business interruption insurance, which costs him more than $5,000 a year for the Joplin store. The policy covers liability issues like someone falling on his company's property -- along with the cost of rebuilding construction, furniture and fixtures, all of the store's equipment, retraining employees and reopening expenses. Ingermason's policy also covers certain daily operational expenses that are incurred even though the business is no longer open, he adds.
- Plan for employees. Not only is Ingermason's insurance policy helping him rebuild, it provides income replacement for him and his staffers. The policy he has provides replacement income for up to 12 months. "Some believe that's a big expense, but when the worst happens, it's nice to have a plan not only for your own success and longevity but for employees as well," says Ingermason.
In addition to receiving back pay, some of the store's employees are able to work at Ingermason's store in Pittsburg, Mo., which is about 40 minutes from the Joplin location. "We've got about five or six who are commuting right now. We're trying to compensate their fuel expenses, too," he says.
Advanced Restoration Corporation's Emergency Response Agreements for Long Island and New York City businesses.