This edition of Small Business, Big Pivots may make you hungry as we dive deep into the world of cuisine by taking a look at how food-related businesses have adapted in the wake of COVID-19.
Delivery has become the new norm. Axios and CivicScience found that in America in particular, the percentage of parents using delivery apps increased from 16% to 20% between February and March, while non-parents increased from 27% to 28%. And the longer we stay at home, the more we can expect these numbers to go up.
Grand Mountain Rides serves Colorado by offering shuttle and private rides throughout the state. With travel restrictions in place and fewer folks travelling even if they’re allowed to, the SMB has since added grocery delivery and online ordering to their list of services.
While not all businesses have the resources to offer delivery, many brick-and-mortar SMBs have switched to curbside pickup at their store locations. It’s also a good complement if you do offer delivery. That’s what To Your Health Bakery offers in Winston-Salem, NC.
The key to their success has been largely in responding directly to customer needs. “Even before restrictions began to hit, we felt a need to reach out to our clients to both offer comfort and expand our services,” baker and owner Anna Simeonides says. They interacted with customers on social media and solicited poll responses to learn more.
As a result, they started offering online ordering, delivery within a five-mile radius, and even take-home activities like cookie decorating kits. “We built an online shop overnight to host a weekly rotating menu of fresh, organic meals for curbside pickup and delivery,” says Anna.
“Our customers wholeheartedly have embraced both the online store and our curbside service and truly believe that this has sustained us. Our cookie kits have sold out continuously! We are so blessed to have the privilege to serve our community.”
In Cape Town, South Africa, Michael Martin owns and operates Reclaim Design, a brick-and-mortar shop selling sustainable furniture and home decor. Typically, most of their revenue comes from selling at in-person markets—those markets have stalled. As a result, they also pivoted online.
“In addition to making our site as user-friendly and Google-friendly as possible, we have implemented a curbside pickup policy to alleviate customer safety concerns, in readiness for when (if!) some sort of normal business operation returns,” he says. “We’re still in lockdown here so it’s impossible to tell what will happen, but we’re doing our best to lay the groundwork so we can hit the ground running.”
Drive-through isn’t just for fast food anymore. Businesses around the world are adopting drive-through models to minimize person-to-person contact and adhere to local regulations.
In Virginia Beach, for example, the Old Beach Farmers Market has adopted a model where customers can place their orders online with each individual vendor and then visit the market location for a drive-through pickup.
As grocery store shelves turn bare, restaurants are in a unique position to step up and fill in a gap. Maxie B's Bakery & Dessert Café is known for its cakes and desserts but has since stocked up on local farm milk, eggs, hummus, soap, and more. Customers can order everything online and take advantage of their drive-through pickup.
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