Restaurants of Opportunity July 26, 2010

Pensacola, FL ā€“ BP and laid off local restaurant employees have come together to feed the thousands of workers cleaning up the beaches in the Florida Panhandle. 40 employees from Cocodries and another 20 employees from the East River Smokehouse now staff a new on-site kitchen at Bayou Chico, Branch 1 Operations staging area. Branch 1 coordinates the local spill response operations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

This local solution came about through the work of BPā€™s local community outreach personnel and Bayou Chico Operations. Early in the spill response, national chains provided meals to the 1,500 beach clean up workers at the site. Many local restaurants and catering companies also requested the opportunity to provide meals. BP determined Bayou Chico Operations needed an on-site food service facility to ensure all workers received meals, and food was prepared safely. 12 workers suffered from food poisoning before the on-site kitchen was in place.

BP Logistics and Houston Procurement first contacted a national company to run the on-site kitchen but could not get that company to agree to contract with local restaurants. Local Bayou Chico Operations then made sure a local company in Branch 1 could also bid for the kitchen project. Nationwide Tents and Events from Navarre in Santa Rosa County not only bid on the job but came in one-third lower than the national competition. Nationwide Tents partnered with Cocodries ā€“ a Navarre Beach restaurant known for seafood and sandwiches ā€“ and East River Smokehouse, a well known Barbeque spot. Both establishments reported their businesses dropped off 60% this summer. Cocodries had temporarily closed leaving 40 workers without a paycheck.

Once BP accepted the local bid, the local group constructed the tent facilities, built the kitchen and opened for business at the staging site. The amazing set up took just four days.

The arrangement shows the continued community support by BP and the extraordinary value local companies can provide. BP will continue to look for local solutions to supply opportunities in all counties where BP operates.

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