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How COVID-19 Has Changed The Catering Industry

catering industryCOVID-19 is one of the most significant threats that the catering industry has ever faced. It is one of the few events that could ban the mass gatherings that the industry has thrived on for decades. With these events ended for the foreseeable future, the catering industry has to adapt in order to survive. There are a handful of steps that it can take to be more nimble and make do with the current situation until it eventually abates.

The threat

The catering industry has been fundamentally threatened by the pandemic caused by COVID-19. This industry is in the crosshairs of the virus and the mitigation steps taken to control its spread. Catering relies on events where there are large groups of people in the same space. The pandemic makes such groupings impossible from a business and public health standpoint. In fact, some of the main revenue generators for caterers, such as academic conferences, were the originators of the pandemic in the United States. They were some of the ares with the highest early transmission rates. Caterers also have not been high up on the list to receive a government bailout. As a result, their main revenue generators are gone while bills continue to come in and employees still expect to be paid. Thousands of catering employees have been laid off since the crisis began.

A slow resumption

One factor to remember when catering during this crisis is that the world will return to normal slowly but surely. The catering companies that survive are the ones that understand how the world will return and plan accordingly. Most importantly, they are the companies that are prepared for smaller events. Catering companies need to increase their focus on relatively small groups. This focus will be helpful over the coming months. Thousands of companies are starting to go back to work and ease into a normal office routine.

More smaller events

Companies have to focus more on smaller events over the next year or so. They need to trim down their staffs and their way of making money. Companies need to invest in better and smaller storage. They must become adept at preparing and launching an event quickly. Catering companies will have to do more events since they are dealing with much smaller groups.

Care for health and safety

Caterers also have to greatly expand their efforts to aid health and safety. There should be a large number of masks available for all of the employees at a company. Individuals will only be able to hold catering events if they are able to prove to attendees that they are safe and protect the public. Companies have to have procedures in place where individuals who come into catering facilities are screened and tested if possible. They will have to be diligent cleaning procedures on every surface that is touched by a catering company and every item that is used.

Catering companies will often have to transition to single-use utensils and plates. While these plates are more damaging for the environment, there are often no guarantees that individuals will be able to adequately clean and sanitise every single dish whenever it is used by a person. Finally, catering companies have to install social distancing guidelines to make sure that there are not large groups where they are planning on providing events.

Catering companies have to work with individuals to ensure that they are meeting local guidelines. In addition to imposing these changes to their normal business routines, catering companies have to publicize what they are doing to help out the community and to keep their customers safe. The best way to do this is through traditional media as well as social media and press releases. There are templates available for these types of procedures that are being put in place by the largest catering companies.

What to do

Catering companies need to have a strategy for navigating the new economy. They need to be flexible and well-informed about all health suggestions and options. Some catering companies have expanded their normal business to accommodate takeout and delivery options for the general public. Catering companies need to do market studies in order to decide if this approach would work for them. They should also keep in contact with their usual customers.

A catering company needs to have a complex plan in place for returning to work. They need to mold this plan with local government guidelines and the phased reopening projects of their state. At least one person in the company needs to be checking all news related to different guidelines and rules for reopening and doing business. An individual also needs to be responsible for checking in on customers and for potentially soliciting new customers. They need to be aware of events that are happening in the best practices for those events.

Next, companies need to look at their supply chains and look at ways to ensure continued success. One important step for companies to take is to Look at every possible subsection of their business. These business changes deal with new approaches that are not particularly profitable. Companies need to do a cost-benefit analysis and look at the revenue streams and customer reviews from there emergency sources of revenue. For instance, a catering company that is serving food to individuals needs to see if those approaches were particularly effective and successful. They can choose to phase out certain approaches that were not successful if need be.


Caterers need to plan for a world with small events and cleaner operations. Companies also need to understand the ways in which they can find business opportunities in the current climate.

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