Restaurants take financial hit during prolonged and repeated boil water alerts

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 7:23 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Some restaurant operators in the Capital City feel they can’t catch a break when it comes to infrastructure problems. After more than two weeks under a boil water notice, things were back to normal at Babalu until Wednesday night.

“We’re taking essentially the lives of other people in our hands. So we have to make sure that what we’re doing is safe,” said Heather Graves.

Boil water alerts are creating trying times for Babalu’s general manager. She started the job in May, never having dealt with constant water issues.

“There’s not enough hours in the day,” said Graves. “You don’t have enough time to devote running down ice and water and soda to leave to your guests and leave to properly train your employees.”

Five days after the notice was lifted, a water main break Wednesday on Old Canton Road prompted another alert.

“Just this morning I have spent $140.00 alone on ice and I will have to purchase that again before the end of the day, and then sodas I’ve spent about $126.00 just this morning,” added Graves.

The restaurant has seen a 20 percent increase in operational costs since the June 24th notice.

“I’ve dealt with it once or twice before not this frequently as it has been recently,” said Babalu Chef Chris Wright.

During his second month at the restaurant, time is taken away from preparing his specialty dish, the “Fresh Catch,” to keep up with safety demands.

“This morning I had to go to Sysco and pick up 20 cases of water because we had to order it on short notice,” said Wright. “We use water for all our vegetables, on our salad station, shocking the lettuce, cleaning everything. So it’s not just what’s going out to the customer. There’s a whole lot more water needed just throughout the entire restaurant.”

Restaurants are bidding their time and adding up the costs until this most recent boil water notice is lifted.

“We just can’t give up,” added Chef Wright. “We’ve got to keep serving for the customers. So that’s why we’re here every day.”

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