Interviewee: Natasha Capper, Executive Pastry Chef, Piedmont Driving Club
Food Startup Help has reached out to several business owners, chefs, and experts in the food industry to see how they’re adjusting to the changes that coronavirus has imposed on this industry. We have conducted an interview in a Q&A format.
For today Food Startup Help is featuring Atlanta Pastry Chef Natasha Capper. In this interview, she explains how her region is beginning to recover from the pandemic quarantine period.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: What challenges did you face reopening your facility?
Reopening had some challenges with getting enough PPE and sanitizer. We opened in phases with the first one being food-to-go and were lucky that we ordered the single-use containers needed before suppliers were wiped out. Although we are fully open with numerous limitations the restaurants have been slow to pick up. Suppliers that delivered to us the next day Tuesday through Saturday have almost all cut down their delivery schedules so we are having to plan our ingredient orders ahead better.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: What food trends had you been seeing in your business pre the COVID-19 virus?
Pre-COVID trends of note were primarily more interested in plant-based diets, more elaborate events for a larger number of people, and a desire for quality dining in a more casual atmosphere.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: What do you predict to see more of in the immediate future? The same as before, or is it evolving?
I predict we will see much smaller and more intimate events not just because they are currently mandated by the governor, but people are hesitant to spend much time in large groups and there is definitely anticipation of a recession.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: What lessons can you share with others in other parts of the world/country that are still in quarantine?
Food business owners are going to have to maintain the sanitation and cleaning protocols in place now and keep standards high. Not all customers will demand it but many will and that will influence their decisions of where to eat.
I also think if it is feasible to do take-out that could be a valuable resource for additional income since it may take a while for dine-in business levels to build to a sustainable level. Until there is a vaccine or we have herd immunity eating out will pose a risk especially to the medically vulnerable.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: What other changes are you seeing that might be a consideration for other businesses?
Private clubs like where I work are a luxury. If a member feels that they are not getting what they should for the dues they are paying they can and will leave. The challenges are unique in that we need to provide the amenities expected while doing it as safely as possible and with as little inconvenience to the membership as possible. A lot of complementary items such as quick bread in the locker rooms, candied ginger at host stands, and snack mix on the bars are now gone and probably will not come back. Here is hoping our clientele continues to see value in what we can offer now.