During a crushing year of blows in this pandemic, we remained open. We pivoted this way and that to work to keep our esteemed team employed and our brand relevant. Our sales team went remote, then came back into our office, then went remote again, and now they are back, most of them. We built an online ordering platform and a viable non-profit we called Meals for People. We were working hard to keep working, catching fly balls and throwing them back while keeping our chins up.
Debt came flooding in as work was so unpredictable. We were lucky to have lines of credit to access to make payroll for our team who we did not lay off. Freakishly, the pandemic holiday season was our biggest grossing holiday by more than double, but it came at a cost as the virus wedged it’s way into our kitchen. We shut down for a week, professionally power cleaned everything, and used our limited profits to pay our staff to stay home. It felt like we were shipwrecked without anything but our grit and determination to help us stay afloat in turbulent, dark choppy seas.
So we paused. We upped our food minimums from $125 to $500 to ensure we could get by with a smaller staff for very wide social distancing. Less orders meant less foot traffic and more safety. It also meant that we had a lot of explaining to do to our loyal customer base. Graciously, we were given much understanding, and production work got creative by having breakfast and lunch delivered at the same time in order to meet the minimum and support us. The kindness we have experienced in this pandemic has balanced out the perils and has empowered us to see light in all this darkness. It’s been a gift.
As our city becomes vaccinated, our phone is blissfully ringing with brides and production work and even office gatherings. We feel the hope of this vaccine. However, we remain cautious and we are choosing to keep our $500 food minimum at this time, not forever, but for now. Several of our key team members have moved away during this last year and will not return. Others are still easing back into work. With accrued debt, we can’t afford to make any costly mistakes as we rebuild ourselves in this new normal, so we are creating boundaries around the work we take on. Smaller orders need more staff, and at this time, we do not have that staff to pull from. So this is the main reason we are keeping our food minimum at $500 for now.
We appreciate your understanding as we navigate through the tail end of this pandemic. We are working to be a more strong and efficient version of our 2019 selves so that we can more effectively use our platform to support small farmers and to serve our community. If this year has taught us anything, it is that there are a lot of compassionate people who support us. We appreciate you, we see you, and we are eager to serve you now and as our doors open up wider.
Photo: Jen Emerling