Waffle House Team Mobilizes with Suppliers to Serve Communities as Dorian Threatens Carolinas

From a conference room in Waffle House’s Atlanta headquarters, the path of Hurricane Dorian is monitored as decisions are made on where to direct the restaurant chain’s resources in talks that involve the chairman of the board of directors, food suppliers, food safety experts and communications executives as they hold conference calls with local store operators across the Southeast. The ubiquitous eatery has earned a reputation for vigorous disaster response decisions where the goal is to bring communities back to normalcy. The team’s experience has them prepared for similar plans put into effect for 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, which includes implementation of four menus based on what limited resources are available, such as areas where there is no power or no water available and using disposable plates and utensils so as to not have to wash dishes. “We have teams on the ground in Charleston, we have teams ready to go to Savannah,” Executive Vice President Joe Wright said. “It’s much easier to keep (stores) open than to reopen them.” (Greenville News/Pensacola News Journal)

SCDOR Emergency Preparedness Tip: Store Your Tax Records in a Safe Place

Whether or not you are located in an area that could be impacted by Hurricane Dorian, the Department of Revenue has several reminders to help keep your tax records safe during an emergency, including the use of paperless recordkeeping, filing online and keeping a visual record of your property. Keep your emergency plans updated by reviewing the DOR’s Emergencies homepage. (SCDOR)

Charleston Restaurant Owners Now Well-Practiced in Estimating Food Costs During Evacuations

With the Charleston area’s third evacuation ordered in four years, restaurant owners have become all too familiar with the dynamics of evacuation aftermath. Even after a storm clears, customer visits can drop off because evacuation costs take precedence over leisure dining. Regular customers might not immediately return because they feel they should eat from their leftover hurricane food stockpiles at home. It’s often difficult to track down servers who have fled the area to return to work shifts. And it’s always a guessing game as to how many deliveries of perishables to receive before the storm. While some restaurants buy insurance to cover these types of losses, one owner said the payout pales to having to lock the doors. “You cannot add three more days to the year,” said Edmund’s Oast owner Scott Shor of lost customer traffic. (Post and Courier)

Cost of Hurricane Threats from Past 4 Years May be in Hundreds of Millions for SC Tourism

The S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism estimates that $321 million is the amount of direct spending by tourists that was lost over the past four years due to flooding and storms, with Hurricane Florence responsible for a $117 million dropoff. The College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis puts the loss of tourist dollars due to Florence at over $111.3 million just for the Charleston region, or almost $16 million per day for the week. After a survey commissioned by SC Parks Department found that 73% of known travelers of all states east of the Mississippi River thought that Florence reduced access to the state’s beaches, the state is using $1 million to market South Carolina coastal vacations this fall, with some money sponsoring a travel marketing partnership where Hootie and Blowfish endorse the Visit Myrtle Beach campaign. (Post and Courier)

SCDOR Releases Information Letter on Interest Rates

The Department of Revenue released an Information Letter (IL19-22) on Aug. 31 concerning the rate of interest to be applied to underpayments and overpayments of taxes from July 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. (SCDOR)

Downtown Myrtle Beach Developments Could Get Millions in Credits for Historic Designations

The executive director of Myrtle Beach’s Downtown Redevelopment Corporation said it should be known in a few weeks if historic accreditation will be bestowed on a collection of more than 25 buildings, which could revitalize private investment for development and preserve history in the heart of the city. Earning a historic designation has many ways to pay off, according to a recent workshop: a 10-year city tax credit abatement, a 25% state historic tax credit, a 20% federal historic tax credits, and a 25% abandoned building credit available for structures that fall below 40% occupancy. A preservation consultant gave an example of a historic hotel with a $1 million purchase price that needed $4 million in repairs would result in $1.8 million in tax credits for the investor. The city’s historic district built from 1927-1969 was unanimously nominated for the National Register of Historic Places by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History last month. Under review are 18 buildings that contributed to the historical integrity of the district and eight structures that may have seen their original appearance altered. State and federal tax credit will apply to interior renovations; landscaping or work performed on non-historic parts of buildings are not covered. (Myrtle Beach Sun News)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“When people realize that we can get back up and running, then everybody can get back to work, and it really helps the entire community.”

Will Mizell, Waffle House VP of People, the “quarterback” of the restaurant chain’s storm team who allocates locations for operators, servers and contractors during disasters