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3 Tips for Handling a Power Outage at Your FEC

Aug 28, 2020 8:45 AM

Technology systems, software, and services run your business.

You need power to keep your lights on and technology running, attractions working, food cooking, and business moving. Your computer systems, software, and other services ensure that you can best serve your customers quickly and efficiently.

So what happens when the power goes out, servers go down, or technology fails?

As business owners, we have an opportunity to avoid mayhem by being prepared ahead of time. When it comes to emergency preparedness, having alternate plans in place when things go awry will ensure your business doesn’t skip a beat.

3 Tips for Handling a Power Outage at Your FEC

Power outages are bound to happen. From heavy storms to natural disasters, down wires to simple human error, power failure can—and does—happen. Having an emergency plan in place for this scenario is key.

Things to consider during a power outage situation:

1. Train Employees to Tend to Your Guests First

Your guests are the reason your lights are on in the first place, right?! So, be sure to attend to them first in the event of a power outage.

What can you do to make sure your staff handles these kinds of situations appropriately and your guests have an easy experience at your facility when this type of emergency occurs?

  • Teach your staff to stay calm. Having a calm demeanor when dealing with an emergent situation will help your guests to feel comfortable, too.

  • Have an evacuation plan. In the event the power doesn't turn back on right away, your guests will need to promptly exit the facility. Practice this evacuation drill with your staff often so they know exactly what to do.

  • Designate specific team members to check attractions. When the power goes out, it's critical you have a team member whose sole responsibility is to check your attractions and other potential hiding spots such as the bathroom, bumper cars, and stairwells for guests—especially little ones. Inflatables begin deflating as soon as the power turns off, and you want to make sure no one is trapped inside.

  • Have a backup solution. Power out because it’s storming? If you install a backup generator, it will give you some additional bandwidth to keep some power going while the outage occurs.

    Even if you’re not able to run your entire facility, there's still opportunity. Have a designated area set up for these scenarios and have some simple game ideas to keep guests entertained (even a simple game of duck-duck-goose works!).

  • Have power outage "survival kits." Have bins full of items such as cell phone charging cords connected to external batteries, extra batteries, flashlights, and snacks, especially if the outage is due to inclement whether that would prevent you or your guests from immediately leaving the facility.

2. Have Alternative Solutions for Accessing Party Data and
Taking Payments

Power outages will also impact your technology devices and the systems or software solutions you use.

Your computers will likely be inaccessible, as will your WiFi. If you need to take payment, access birthday party information, have guests sign digital waivers, use your point-of-sale system, etc., or you have an arcade, a power outage can be a big disruption.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be! If you have an emergency plan in place for these scenarios, you’ll get through just fine.

  • Have an alternate plan for WiFi loss or an Internet outage.
    An easy solution for this is to have a device that can access a cellular network, like a Hotspot or even a cell phone.

    Most computers can “Hotspot” to a cellular Internet connection (as long as the computer has a WiFi capability.) If your computer doesn’t have WiFi capability, you might consider upgrading
    your device so you don’t find yourself in a bind during an emergency situation.
    • Need to take credit card payments before guests leave but have no WiFi?
      If you’re a Party Center Software customer and you experience a power outage, you can continue to take payments through the PC Pay Virtual Terminal.

      If you're not using Party Center Software, or you’d like to be prepared with an additional backup, you might consider having a binder with paper credit card authorization forms printed out.

      That way when the power comes back you’ll be able to run the credit card. Additionally, whenever you’re taking payment by credit card without the card isn’t present, there will be some degree of risk. Asking your customer to sign a credit card authorization form gives you permission to charge their card and will help safeguard you against charge backs. Just be sure to check their ID to be safe as well!

    • Need a credit card authorization form for backup? We've got you covered! Download our Emergency Preparedness Guide—there's one included in the resource for you to print out and use if ever needed.
  • Have the ability to use your devices via a wired connection. Something to consider when choosing hardware devices is what their potential impact might be during a power outage or WiFi interruption.

    Wired devices are a great choice if you happen to run into Internet issues. If you’re in an area where your WiFi connection is unstable or you experience outages frequently—or your system is overloaded—wired devices that connect directly into your Internet modem might work best for you. If you have a solid WiFi connection, wireless devices might be a fine choice for you. Just be sure to have a WiFi back-up in case.

3. Don't Forget About Your Private Party Reservations!

A power outage and other technical issues can put a kink into an otherwise seamless day if you don't have a a back-up plan.

Don’t forget about your birthday parties and events for the day! You’ll need an alternate plan if your power goes out, WiFi loses connection, or you experience other technological issues.

One of our Customer Success Managers here at PCS was also a former GM of an FEC! She suggests printing out all your events for the next day upon closing the night before. That way, information
is easy to find if you aren’t able to access a computer, and allows you to contact guests with updates to your situation as soon
as possible.

And, what if your computer dies when you’re in the middle of booking a party over the phone? Having a paper version of a Parties and Events form will ensure you don’t miss a single thing! Keep a few dozen copies in a binder with your other Emergency Preparedness plans and forms.

Guest Remember Your Response to Power Outages and Other Emergencies

Put your guests and their safety first during these situations and they will appreciate it!

Many times power outages are a result of circumstances out of your control, and the way you handle the scenario is what will
make people decide to return again or not—so be prepared!

* This article is an excerpt from our complimentary resource, IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: An Emergency Preparedness Guide to Help Your FEC Overcome the Unexpected. If you're interested in learning more about what potential emergencies can occur at your family entertainment center and what you can do to be prepared should these unfortunate situations occur, download your free copy of our Emergency Preparedness Guide now! *

Click here to download your complimentary guide on Emergency Preparedness now!

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