Even in the early part of COVID-19 Infection, we saw who stepped up to change the way they do work. Health Care Facilities have to stay open and the people that work there have to adapt to work during COVID-19. It’s stressful and frustrating. Teachers had to immediately adapt to providing classes online. No training. No help to adapt. Just ‘make it happen’. They stepped up, and many of us struggled to help our kids with school, at home, while teachers scrambled to adapt to a new way of teaching.
Teachers working at home who are also parents, adapted like many of us working at home. It was frustrating but they made it work. Nurses dealt with an increased workload (intense hospital protocols) and then came home and parented as best they could. Suffice to say there were a lot of people who came home from a stressful job and dealt with kids that had been home all day with not-much to do.
As this evolved, ‘school’ came to an end and the kids were off for the summer. Most of their summer activities were cancelled. Many families that have access to summer cottages took off for the summer. This is part of our regular business cycle. The business (sales) shortfall is usually counteracted by tourism sales. Tourism sales, for us, are get-togethers, and new customers coming through town as they visit our beautiful province.
In our case, the tourists did not arrive. People were arriving at their cottage for the summer, self-quarantining, and then making minimal trips other than very basic groceries. One trip for supplies, back to the cottage, repeat. Since tourism was essentially cancelled this year, we didn’t see the normal sales to expanding markets. We were incredibly busy with VON meals (at cost), so we were not going into extreme debt, but working really hard to stay afloat.
The Fall: (appropriate term!)
We had hoped that the success of the ‘Atlantic Bubble’, the success of keeping COVID numbers the lowest in the world would encourage people to go back out and support local business. What we have seen is that our two largest sectors (teachers and nurses) did not resume their regular shopping pattern. In talking with people in these careers, they said: ‘we go to work (under very stressful circumstances) and we go home’. ‘We go out for supplies, and we go home’.
It seems the ‘extra stop’ at D&E’s has not been on their mind. In other sectors such as government offices and office-based private businesses, people either follow the same pattern or they continue to work at home. Working at home has allowed people to take the time cook for themselves. That is understandable and we’re glad people are learning to experiment in their own kitchen. We’re here to help if they would like to use some of our products in their home cooking.
Our sales, however, fell dramatically over September/October last year. To adjust for this we needed to take hints from the information above. Nurses, teachers, and anyone working at an office continue to go to work. They go to work, and go home, sometimes with a stop along the way for supplies. Non-essential travel has been kept to a minimum. This may be one of the ways COVID has been kept to a minimum in our region. Going forward, as COVID numbers spike in other parts of North America, we need to be diligent and continue to minimize our risk of exposure. We thank you for this new habit.
OUR SOLUTION (Please see attached menu):
The hint that we get from the above information above is that these people (our former customers) are stressed and we need to accommodate their currently stressful lives. Let’s make it easier for people to get healthy, delicious food at home. No extra stops, no decisions to be made. Take your time. Do it online, we will deliver for free.
We developed a new menu that has 5 standardized meal combos. They are always available. It’s a streamlined process. …’I would like two Pad Thai and Two Brisket Combos’. .’Perfect. Here you go. Thank you’. 30 seconds – by phone, by web order, in person. Thirty. Seconds.
We also developed a ‘meat-box’ concept that can be ordered online to suit your needs, renewed without any decisions if the customer would like, and delivered for free. We are trying to make this as touchless and simple as we can for you. This menu has been sent out to hospital administration and schools. We hope to be reintroduced to these segments of the population SO THAT they know we do not take them for granted. That we see they are stress, and that we see they are doing the best they can to operate as normal under very abnormal conditions. We are here to help.