Toronto catering companies are reinventing themselves to survive in the age of COVID-19
Toronto catering companies are making delivery meals to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ongoing health crisis has caused uncertain times for the hospitality industry, with many companies having to lay off staff and some restaurants being forced to shut permanently.
But in these sink-or-swim times, some are rising to the challenge.
The Food Dudes and Pantry just launched an online offering called From Scratch To Go, where people can order individual or family-size meals for their home.
Derek Wasser, a partner and executive chef, says the idea was born out of necessity when the pandemic forced them to close up shop. But they didn't just want to start a food delivery service.
"It wouldn't be worth it to go back to work if we couldn't support the community," said Wasser, explaining that their main focus is to provide safe, healthy, and nutritious meals to heathcare workers in Toronto.
The new venture, called "From Scratch To Go, started a "Pay It Forward" program where you can donate meals to health professionals across Toronto.
Wasser says that through their networks they've managed to raise about $15,000 and since launching they've delivered over 400 meals to healthcare workers in Toronto.
"Next week we're adjusting the program to also deliver direct to healthcare workers homes," said Wasser, explaining that this way their families get dinner too.
"The second focus is – while the lights are on and we're open – to provide food to our community who need it most," he said, adding that it's also allowed them to bring some of our chefs and staff back to work.
The "From Scratch To Go" meals can be ordered via their website for next day delivery anytime before 6 p.m.
The menu includes proteins, salads, sides and bowls. You can also get dessert and alcoholic beverages. The bowls are the only individual meals, everything else is family-style large portions.
Meals are delivered between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. They're also delivered cold so that people can reheat it themselves when they want to eat.
Wasser said their committed to safety and well-being of everyone, so is taking extra precautions during the coronavirus crisis.
"We don't want to risk them or our customers,"he said.
According to their newsletter and Wasser, their food is prepared and packaged in a sanitized space and employees wear masks. Also since there's only 10 people working in a 10,000 square-foot kitchen social distancing is no problem.
Wasser also added that they're only delivering using their own network of trucks and drivers.
"It's the safest way to continue business at this time," he said.
So far the new line of business has been great.
"We're happy with the impact we're making with this," said Wasser. "People are really enjoying food and we are considering continuing this line into the future."
The Food Dudes aren't the only ones who are shifting their business model. Another catering company, elle cuisine, has also started stay home catering.
"Just because we can’t get together, doesn’t mean we can’t be inspired by experiences with food," wrote head chef and elle cuisine founder Lauren Mozer.
The company has both fresh and frozen prepared foods, as well as pantry, groceries and booze options for no-contact delivery in 48-hours.
Mozer is also hosting virtual cooking classes and dinner parties, where a box of food is delivered and all you need to do is follow the instructions.
elle cuisine has also made supporting the community a priority and is delivering food to homeless shelters and hospitals.
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