Bay Area businesses worry about impact of potential blackouts during heat wave

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Sunday, September 4, 2022
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Bay Area businesses worry about the impact of potential blackouts during the heat wave as residents look for ways to stay cool Labor Day weekend.

DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- In honor of the first ever National Cinema Day, movie theaters like Century Theater in Pleasant Hill, were selling tickets for just $3 on Saturday. That brought out the crowds, but some were also trying escape the heat.

"Going to the theaters is one way to get AC," said Cory Schoepf, who lives in Lafayette.

"Just trying to get out before it gets too hot, so we can be in with the AC," said Daeja Tillis, a Vallejo resident.

In Pleasanton, Meadowlark Dairy's soft serve ice cream was a huge hit with the hot weather. Shak Shaikh and his family made the trip from Fremont.

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"(My) kids get to run around a little bit. (We are sitting) under the shade. So it's a nice way to cool off," Shaikh said.

Sabiha Rashid and her husband celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary at Mirchi Café in Dublin, which was packed as the dinner rush began.

"We want to be with family and friends, and we have a nice breeze," Rashid said. Their group sat at the restaurant's shaded outdoor patio.

Holiday weekends like Labor Day weekend are critical for the restaurant industry says Mirchi Café owner and chef, Lisa Ahmad. But the heat wave and the threat of blackouts has her concerned.

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"If you lose that, it's a huge, huge chunk out of that bottom line," Ahmad said.

Mirchi Café's menu is described as American comfort classics with a Pakistani twist. Ahmad just celebrated 18 years in business this week.

Many restaurants are facing a labor shortage. Inflation is pushing up costs and eating away at profits -- all this at a time when restaurants are trying to rebound from the pandemic.

If a blackout happens, Ahmad says the food that will be spoiled could total thousands of dollars in losses in just a matter of days.

"That's an investment for the restaurateur, because you take in raw product, you process it, add your ingredients and you sell it. And if you lose that, you are literally losing like 30% your total cost of business for that month," Ahmad said.

So far, the restaurant has been packed. Customers are staying cool. Like so many, Ahmad just hopes the power stays on.

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