Every day, it seems like we inch closer to the recovery and rebuilding stage, but there is still no date we can circle on the calendar to look forward to. The last several months have been clouded with confusion and uncertainty, but they’ve also been a time filled with kindness, generosity, and community building. Many of us in the catering industry have adapted our usual services to better serve our community in these trying times. As we plan out our roadmap to recovery, you may be wondering where these community efforts may fit into your post-pandemic operations.
Even when there’s a vaccine and the pandemic comes to a close, we are hopeful that caterers and event professionals everywhere will take away the most valuable lesson of this crisis situation: We are stronger together. We have had to lean on our communities for support and, for many of us, it’s been a steady balance of giving and receiving. This is how it should be and we expect to see many event pros rising up to continue providing support and value to their communities.
Of course, it will look different when the pandemic restrictions are lifted and society eventually falls into the new normal. Here are a few ways to continue bringing positivity and giving back to your community even after events have resumed.
Make it a habit
Habits have a way of sticking, so contributing regularly is a good way to ensure that it becomes like second nature. If you’ve been cooking and delivering meals to low-income neighborhoods or elementary schools, consider making extra batches for every event to set aside for those purposes. If you’ve been contributing financially through donations to local organizations, set up automatic payments or a reminder in your calendar to set aside a percentage of revenue.
Note the community service you want to continue doing and work it into your business plan. Make it part of your brand experience and encourage your team to join in the cause. It doesn’t need to revolve around the pandemic forever; it can simply be giving for the sake of giving.
Work with others
More heads are better than one and, as an industry, we can give back far more when we collaborate than on an individual basis. It can also help to keep up the momentum for remaining active in your community throughout the recovery stage and beyond.
Adam Gooch of Common Plea Catering shares a bit about how they’re turning collaboration into contributions: “We have started working with event planners on virtual events, and even a couple where we’ve delivered food to houses so the guests would have a meal during the virtual event to enjoy with each other. Along with food, we created a beverage program to offer sangria, margaritas, and Bloody Marys.”
Listen to your community
Of course, needs change over time so you may find that your efforts aren’t as in demand as they were in the pandemic. That’s not to say you can’t provide valuable support elsewhere; tune into your community and listen to what they need.
Perhaps it’s not delivering food to hospitals anymore, but instead sending them to after-school programs. Maybe your donations to a local COVID-19 fund can later serve the homeless or underprivileged members in the community. There will always be need, you just need to ask around to find out where you can best serve your people.
The future of events may not be set in stone, but you can still commit your business to giving back to your community not just today, but tomorrow and beyond.