Learn how you can overcome any potential risks to your business. They are always a possibility, but how you deal with them depends on your preparation. 

A contingency plan is a set of guidelines to follow in different negative situations that might occur for your business. Preparing a plan will ensure your small food business is ready for any threat. 

Having a contingency plan can give you the confidence of your ability to react without panicking. You’re far more likely to be able to bounce back from any problem if you already have steps to minimise any damage.

This guide discusses writing a contingency plan for a food business, including:

  • Brainstorming
  • Defining key priorities
  • Identifying resources
  • Planning for risks
  • Reviewing and updating


The first stage in putting together a contingency plan for your food business is thinking about all possible risks. 

Consider anything that could harm your business. There could be a wide range of things that can potentially pose a risk to your operations.

These can range from diseases spread through the food to flooding damaging the kitchens. At the brainstorming stage, you can mention everything that affects your business.

To help you brainstorm ideas, you could use mind maps. They let you put lots of ideas down on paper quickly. The more risks you can think of, the better. It will help make the next stage of the plan easier.

Defining key priorities

You can take all of those initial risk ideas and put them in order of their possible impact. Large-scale events like natural disasters may be more frequent depending on the location of your business.

So with that in mind, first pick the risks that are most likely to happen and could cause the most impact. For example, if you operate in a seaside town, perhaps you are more likely to experience flooding than in a landlocked city.

Choosing your key priorities wisely is an essential step in writing your plan because it helps you prepare for the right  threatening scenarios. You may face specific risks as a food business, like hygiene and infestation. Still, depending on the processes, they could be different.

For example, if you run an ice cream business, the risks may involve freezers failing and ruining your stock. Whereas, if you have a bakery, an oven fire is more likely to affect you.

Identifying resources

After choosing the risk to prioritise, the next stage of your contingency plan for food business can involve identifying resources to overcome them.

These are things that your business has available at the moment. For example, in the risk of a local power outage, perhaps you have a backup generator to keep fridges running. 

Even resources outside of the business are still available to use in situations. For example, you’d likely rely on the local police in a robbery. 

Planning for risks

The primary purpose of the contingency plan for food business, is to create step-by-step guides for your chosen risks. You can prepare your business for these affects and minimise losses with those.

Your steps can detail the moment the event happens, to everything you’ll do to overcome it. We can often be erratic or panic in an emergency, but knowing what to do ahead of time reduces the risks of any wrong decisions.

If the unfortunate event occurs, you can look at your plan and take all of the appropriate actions. Taking the time to think about each step makes it easier to imagine the situation unfolding and breaking it up into manageable tasks.

Reviewing and updating

After completing your contingency plan, it’s crucial to review it routinely. Doing so reminds you of what to do, but more importantly, it’ll show when you need to make amendments.

Updating the plan is important to keeping it functional. The resources available will likely change over time, so that might mean you would need to respond differently.

For example, in the case of a cyber security risk, you are likely to upgrade your software and protections as they improve. That might mean that you would react differently if the information were compromised.

The most likely risks for you to face may also change. Some things may become more likely to happen than others. Updating your contingency plan may mean looking back and reevaluating your priorities.

For example, over time, the location of your business can become more prone to extreme weather like flooding as a result of climate change. That could mean that flood issues become more likely to be an issue than robberies.

Plan financial prep with Countingup

You know what they say about rainy days. It’s essential to put money aside to use if you get into an emergency. Most of its assets are what it owns in a business, like property, stock or equipment.

When it’s needed, it’s essential to have cash set aside. But, not in a briefcase under your bed either. For example, you’ll need money that’s available to the business to pay for repairs after a disaster. 

The best way to be financially prepared to recover from anything is to manage your money well. Make that easy with Countingup, the business current account with built-in accounting software.

Countingup provides everything you need to know about your accounts, all available on the mobile app. It includes a cash flow insight feature, which regularly updates you on how much is coming in and out.

This information makes it easy to know when your food business is doing well, and you can put something aside. So if the worst should happen, you’re less likely to get burned.

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.