Fire! Business Continuity at Hugh’s River Cottage

We don’t know how much business continuity experience British lifestyle-chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has, or how much effort his organisation put into making continuity plans.  But we hope he had something in place, since poor Hugh’s cookery school and shop has been badly damaged by fire.

The BBC reported that it took fire officers several hours to bring the fire, which took hold in the 400 year old restored barn that was used for cookery courses and filming for television, under control.  Eighty firefighters and 8 engines attended the scene and, while nobody was hurt and the incident is not being treated as suspicious, one has to wonder what plans the team have in place to deal with this

Cookery lessons held in the barn cost £230 per person per day; it was used as a venue for celebrations and for private functions.    Multiply that up and we might quickly come to our own conclusion on how much it might cost the business per week to be out of action.

Of course, there are several tools business continuity planners might have to ensure that a fire doesn’t destroy a business.  They include ensuring fire prevention measures are adequate, ensuring evacuation procedures are well rehearsed, pre-arranging recovery locations for critical business, ensuring protocols for informing suppliers and customers are in place along with a plan to appropriately communicate with them, and ensuring that insurance cover is adequate.

It’s not clear to us which measures River Cottage have in place.  However, on the surface at least, everything appears to be under control.  A quick look at the website sees the team proclaiming they are having “a fire sale” – they say, “just because we’ve lost our barn doesn’t mean we’ve lost our sense of humour.”  They say courses and events will return to normal from 24 February and they promise “to bounce back better than ever.”    It’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to rebuilt the barn facilities that quickly, so it will be interesting to see how they do it.  But do it, we are sure, they will.

And their supporters?  Well, they’ve started a conversation on the forums about smallholding insurance!

fire sale at river cottage - business continuity lessons learned

If you’re interested in River Cottage cookery, you can book tickets here!  If you’re interested in commenting on this case, you can use the comments boxes below!

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2 comments on “Fire! Business Continuity at Hugh’s River Cottage

  1. Wow, 1 firefighter to 1o engines. Did you mean 80 firefighters and 8 fire engines ? Lol.

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