Small hospitality firms not geared up to cope with disasters

14 September 2004
Small hospitality firms not geared up to cope with disasters

A guide to help restaurateurs and hoteliers cope in the event of a natural disaster or terrorism attack has been launched by the business network Business Link for London.

The Business as Usual "toolkit" has been published in collaboration with tourist board VisitLondon and the London Development Agency amid concerns that the tourism and hospitality sector is still not well enough prepared when it comes to crisis planning.

While terror attacks may be uppermost in people's minds, particularly in London, fire, IT failures or even natural disasters such as floods, as experienced of by businesses in Cornwall over the summer, can all cause havoc.

Small businesses, where cashflow may already by tight, are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of unforeseen events, warned Business Link for London.

A sudden loss of customers, loss of income or damage to reputation can all be devastating, it added.

The toolkit covers five areas, such as money, staff and customers, and aims to give owners advice on how to assess risks in advance and keep operating when the worst happens.

Judith Rutherford, Business Link for London chief executive, said: "The toolkit has been designed to provide a solution to a very real need identified through research with small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

"Assessing risks and working out how to respond to a potential disaster, both short and long term, is vital to survival," she added.

You can request a copy of the guide via the Business Link for London website.

by Nic Paton

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