Interviewee: Tina Korting
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 Cleveland-based Tina Korting. Tina is a chef turned sales manager who works with food industry clients ranging from universities, casinos, hotels, manufacturers, bakeries, and restaurants. In this interview, she explains how her region (which includes customers in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) is beginning to recover from the pandemic quarantine period.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: Before the COVID lockdown, what were the biggest trends you were seeing in your perspective of the food industry?
Buffets were very big, especially in the casinos.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: Do you expect that to change or shift after the quarantine period and economic slowdown? How?
Yes, definitely. There are definitely no buffets or self- service. We are now most likely to see more table service. Casinos are planning to eliminate self-service and serve plates to individuals (so no more cheese boards, charcuterie boards). For example, bento box type formats will probably do well.
In my region, some territories are slowly reopening. Grocery stores and bakeries have stayed open throughout the quarantine period, as have places like chocolatiers with E-commerce. Other places like New York – not yet. There are no events and corporate dining is not yet reopened.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: How is the reopening/planned reopening affecting other businesses you work within your region?
Food safety will be at the forefront. We as food professionals are used to this and have been trained about safety from the beginning. Relaying this message to the customer on how their food is prepared, safely, would greatly ease client anxiety while eating out.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: What do food business owners need to be aware of now and for the next few years?
Be flexible and creative. Figure out how to serve meals differently and safely. Most customers are installing Plexiglass partitions, for example, between tables to create dining cubes and tables are generally more spaced apart. Servers are wearing gloves and masks everywhere.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: What resources do you offer that can help those businesses change/succeed?
Through the transparency of where and how our products are from. Know the source of your ingredients. We are committed to giving detailed information about our products. This is more important than ever now.
FOOD STARTUP HELP: Are there other important factors impacting you and your business that you would like to share with our readers?
AUI is here to help our communities by having premium, sustainable products that are created with the highest standards.