Food Storage Tactics: How to Preserve Food without Electricity

Are you running a restaurant? Be ready for everything. We mean anything!

Managing a restaurant means holding a lot of responsibilities. Be it staff hiring, supervising, advertising, or food managing. A restaurateur or anyone working in a restaurant should know how to manage food, especially during power outages.

What would you do if, suddenly, your restaurant’s power goes off? You have a big grocery run thronged into the fridge that risks going bad. Your mind will start grappling with the thoughts! Out of which one thought would be

How to preserve food without electricity?

Being a restaurateur, you should be aware of the tips on keeping food safe even if the restaurant loses power. It would be best if you had a thorough understanding of the following-

  • Which food should be stored and which you should throw out due to a power cut?
  • Which food is safe to eat after thawing, and what can be refrozen?
  • And much more.

Well, here we will read about three ways to keep food safe if your restaurant loses power:

Keep the doors closed:

Refrigerators can stay cold for up to four hours. Whereas the freezer can keep its temperature for 48 hours (if filled completely) or 24 hours when half-full. To maintain the cold temperature, don’t open the refrigerator or freezer doors unless certain. Keeping the door opening frequency to the least helps preserve food without electricity.

Also, if your freezer is half-full, fill up the empty milk or juice jugs with water to keep them in the freezer. This keeps the freezer as full as possible, and the frozen blocks of ice maintain the temperature.

Group Together:

According to the U.S Food & Drug Administration, you should group all the frozen food and keep it in the lower part of the freezer. This helps in keeping food cold without electricity for as long as possible.

Keeping food cool outside:(Use Coolers)

If the power outage contemplates going beyond 24 hours, then it is advisable to use coolers. Load refrigerated foods such as eggs, milk, poultry, and leftovers in the cooler with ice. Ensure that you are maintaining the temperature at 40oF for a prolonged duration.


  • Make a note at what time the power outage started and the duration of the same. This helps you determine whether food is safe to eat after it goes back on.
  • Discard perishable food like fish, eggs, meat if refrigerated for more than 4 hours from the power outage.
  • Keep a zipper bag filled with ice cubes in the freezer. Keep the freezer’s door closed if the power goes off and continue to do so for a longer duration, even when the power is restored. Once the freezer gets back to its average freezing temperature, check if the ice cubes have melted into the bag. If this is the case, you will know the food is thawed and likely unsafe.
  • Throw out the food that did not reach its safe cooking temperature, especially meat.
  • Use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperatures of the perishable foods left in the fridge.
  • Once the power is back, check the frozen items if they have ice crystals inside the packaging. Such food can be refrozen.
  • When you reopen after a power outage, set the refrigerators at 40oF or lower and freezers at 0oF or lower.


Despite the setback, a restaurant should be able to serve the customer. In that case, talk to your chef and prepare a backup menu discussing the possibility of power outrage at different times.

Sort out the dishes that could be prepared fresh, without appliances. We have listed out the foods that usually can be stored safely at room temperature for a few days.

  • Fruit (uncut) and their juices
  • Dried Fruits and Canned fruits
  • Butter and margarine
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Ketchup, mustard, and olives
  • Salad dressing, barbecue sauce, hoisin sauces
  • Hard cheese (such as Cheddar, Swiss, Romano, Colby, Parmesan, and Provolone)
  • Processed Cheese
  • Bread, tortillas, cakes, and rolls
  • Herbs and spices

You can consume these foods if kept in the refrigerator, and the power was out for 24 hours to 48 hours. Plan forth and train your entire staff. You salvage your kitchen stock and manage the strange situations too.

Be Prepared For Power Outages

  • Be sure that your refrigerator is correctly set on low temperatures (40oF or below) to ensure that the food stays fresh for a longer duration if there is a power cut.
  • Having a small generator that keeps your refrigerator unit online can also be very helpful.
  • The pantry is stocked with non-perishable food items.
  • Keep your cell phones charged or keep an alternative phone if you need to reach an emergency service.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, the ways mentioned above help you keep your food safe whenever you face a power outage. But remember, when in the food business, you should follow a principle rule-‘Hope for the best but plan for the worst.’

Don’t wait for the power to go off. Prepare for off-grid circumstances now, while the power is still on. Take the Food Handlers Permit Course and ensure to hire only those with a valid permit. The online course from Easy Food Handlers, teaches about different food storage practices. For more tips and alternatives, get in touch.

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