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Catering in the Time of COVID-19: Your Next Steps

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted the catering industry particularly hard and the question on nearly on everyone’s mind is- what next?

We work with caterers throughout the US and this has been on everyone’s minds as companies continue to navigate their businesses in a time of uncertainty. With this in mind, below are some of our top tips from our talk on last week’s NACE’s FB Live Series:

Seek Resources Immediately- They Are Plentiful  

Brands, associations and industry leaders alike are stepping up to serve as incredible resources right now, fully acknowledging that we’re all in this together. Many companies are creating dedicated COVID 19 pages to offer ongoing news and updates to help their audience weather the storm. In addition, many of the catering industry related Facebook groups filled with really smart, highly resourced caterers that can help.

No longer do you need to feel like you’re making decisions on your own. Whether it’s layoffs or furloughs or unemployment or insurance, there is a caterer out there that has either thought of it, or come up with an answer to assist you.

Prioritizing Connecting One Another

This is a time where we’re staying in constant contact with the catering community so if you are speaking with a peer who could really use guidance about a particular challenge, don’t hesitate to make an introduction to someone who can help.

Likewise, if you’re someone in need of advice, don’t be shy. Ask friends and colleagues to point you in the right direction to get the information you need, in order to make properly informed decisions about possible solutions.

Consider your Ability to Shift Gears

Pivoting services is never going to be easy. Many caterers have begun to heavily promote takeout services, but there are other options. Quite a few of our clients have gotten military and relief work, in fact.

Connect with the Red Cross in your region, your local government municipalities, churches, even the federal government, in case they might be doing something in your area.  Reach out to hospitals- we had a client where a local hospital cafeteria was overrun because all of the activity there, and they did need assistance.

If you do decide to consider takeout, look to your fellow caterers around the US who have pivoted successfully.  As we become more entrenched in this crisis, we’re learning that there will be demand for food in ways that we could not have anticipated even a month ago.

Believe in the Power of Word-of-Mouth Advertising

When you’re doing great things for customers, they are going to share with their friends and on social media. You have a client base that can share your message, and you’re going to find that most of your business will come from your existing clients and their friends and family.

Remember too that your delivery crew has essentially become a part of the sales team. Give them the guidance they need to successfully execute the delivery and leave a lasting impression.

Saving as a Storefront

There is no harm in asking for help- some of our caterers have already reached out to their banks asking for mortgage deferral and receiving it. With a deferral, you’ll have to pay it later but with no penalties to your credit score, which is invaluable. Consider doing the same with your utility providers, as well as your insurance agent. As a brick and mortar, look at every expense you have and see what may be feasible.

If you’re renting space, reach out to your landlord to see what they can do. It will be unlikely they can rent the space to anybody else right now, so wouldn’t they rather keep you at a reduced rate with the ability to pay later, than have you leave and get nothing for the space?

And while this may be common sense, be courteous and as nice as you can be. We’re all going through a tough time and as you can imagine, you won’t be the first to make this request with any given company. Now more than ever, kindness goes a long way.


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4 Replies to “Catering in the Time of COVID-19: Your Next Steps”

  1. Lisa Headley says:

    Great article! Caterers will be smart to adapt to the changing environment and resort to take-out services. This will ensure business continuity till matters become normal. Moreover, this is a time to put on many hats, and show customers how versatile the company is.

  2. Nice article !!!!
    Thanks for sharing the tips with us.

  3. Lisa Headley says:

    Great share Clint! This is essential for the catering businesses. During the pandemic, catering services to businesses have increased exponentially.

  4. Lisa Headley says:

    Great article, Clint! This pandemic has severely affected the catering industry. With food delivery getting increasingly popular among the customers, catering companies should innovate and adapt to this new trend. They can sell boxed meals with added heating instructions to the deliveries or create new menus to offer something new every week.

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