With foodservice establishments across the country looking at closure in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses within the industry are finding creative ways to stay productive.
Spirit of York
Located in the heart of Toronto’s Distillery District, Spirit of York is usually busy producing bottles of crystal-clear vodka and gin, and serving up tumblers of their product to tourists from around the world who have come to explore the twisting streets of Old Toronto. In the wake of the pandemic, however, with business slowing and a sudden shortage of hand sanitizer in the city, Spirit of York pivoted their production to start churning out bottles of sanitizer (free for those over 65 years old, or those who can’t afford the $3 price tag). They are donating the proceeds to local food banks, and are encouraging customers to take home a bottle of their premium spirits while they’re at it.
Bosco and Roxy’s
This maker of colourful cookies for canines, based in London, Ontario, has found a way to meet the need for baked goods for humans. Noticing that supermarkets were having trouble meeting the demand for bread, muffins, cookies, and other baked staples, the business quickly changed gears to stock up the shelves. They called their side-hustle Drive-Up Bakery, and customers and markets can either arrange to pick up their goods, or have them delivered.
Earl’s Kitchen and Bar
The Vancouver-based chain has come up with a way of staying connected to customers and reducing the number of people in supermarkets by pivoting to grocery bundles. The bundles vary in price and content, with produce, dairy products, meat and eggs, and dry goods available for delivery. The company, which runs establishments across Canada and the US, has implemented the pivot across its nearly 70 locations, and is seeing excellent demand. They are just one of many restaurants undertaking similar endeavours.
Kendall Hill Farm
A sudden drop-off in sales left this small farm in a dire situation. They had plenty of product, but didn’t have a way to get it to their customers — mostly restaurants who ordered the fresh produce and poultry directly. “There was the old food system that existed [a few weeks ago],” says farmer Dave Kranenburg in a video released by Kendall Hill. “And there’s a new food system that’s being figured out right now. I don’t think we’re going to be going back.” The farm launched a “virtual farmers market,” with produce available for delivery from Kendall Hill and other local farms. The demand has meant the farm has ramped up production for the season, and is now looking at how to expand the “food hub” model to other areas.