It’s too early for restaurant chains to assess the full impact of Hurricane Florence’s devastation along the Carolina coastline. But many operators are stepping up in the aftermath of the wind and rain to assist the affected communities.
Here are the ways some restaurateurs are reaching out to areas affected by Hurricane Florence.
1. Emergency opening
It’s well known that Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday, so employees of the conservative-leaning chain can go to church and spend time with their families. One franchisee shook up the usual policy in the storm’s aftermath, asking employees if they’d be willing to work on a Sunday to feed those who were forced to evacuate. According to media reports, a North Carolina Chick-fil-A opened on Sunday to prepare 500 sandwiches and more than 1,000 chicken nuggets to donate to those displaced by the hurricane.
2. Massive mobilization
Team members from World Central Kitchen, headed by chef Jose Andres, is out in force for Hurricane Florence as they’ve been following recent storms around the globe. Andres’ group has prepared some 80,000 meals since Florence hit, according to the James Beard Foundation, which is urging interested chefs to follow Andres on Twitter for updates on volunteer opportunities.
3. Mobile diner
Denny’s rolled out a 53-foot mobile kitchen that’s serving pancake breakfasts to areas hit by Hurricane Florence. The chain’s Mobile Relief Diner was tested in communities devastated by California wildfires before heading to the Carolinas to serve residents, first responders and volunteers there. “The Mobile Relief Diner allows us to do what we do best by going out into local communities to offer a hot and comforting meal during a time when they could really use it most," Denny’s Chief Marketing Officer John Dillon said in a statement.
4. Still serving, despite being closed
The Golden Corral in Morehead City, N.C., suffered damage in Hurricane Florence and is temporarily closed. But the restaurant brought in food from neighboring stores to host free cookouts in the parking lot this week. Employees also distributed 12 pallets of bottled water and 200 cases of bread to those in need. During one cookout, the restaurant fed 500 people in 90 minutes, according to a spokesman.