Several stores in the Tampa Bay area continue to have no food or run very low

Posted at 7:53 PM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 19:53:16-04

Day by day the grocery and restaurant situation in the Bay Area is getting better, but it's going to take two weeks for everything to get back to the way it was before Irma.

US Foods is a major food supplier and they say they're working around the clock just like the power companies to resupply everyone. They say a really big challenge is going to be getting the school kitchens stocked up again.

"We've got notice that a lot of those schools have lost power, so they lost all of their food so it's almost like starting the school year over to get product back in," says Tyrone Watson at US Foods.

We went to the Winn-Dixie in East Lake Wednesday where shelves are bare like most other grocery stores, including Publix. But employees say they are expecting a big shipment this Friday.

Until then Tamara Brown has to figure out how to feed her two kids.

"Close to three days without power so most of the food is gone," says Brown.

USF Marketing professor Robert Hooker specializes in supply chain economics. He says Irma disrupted a complex delivery system businesses rely on and most of us took for granted, until now.

"Many organizations, McDonald's for example, are going to source different products to manufacture that cheese burger to serve to the customer so there are a lot of businesses that are working in concert with one another," he says.

US Foods also put a big priority on supplying Red Cross workers and the power company crews with food out in the field...all to speed up recovery. They say now that they have all their drivers back and every day is going to get better.