Catering In The Time Of COVID-19

The COVID-19 global pandemic will have a long-term impact on the Australian catering industry. The prevailing rules of social distancing have forced many social events and celebrations, such as weddings, to be cancelled or postponed. Until things are back to normal in our country, such events are prohibited. It appears that social gatherings in small, intimate groups are becoming more popular, a trend expected to last for quite some time. Although we have fared better than other countries and our government has somehow controlled the incidence of COVID-19 cases, the catering service industry will eventually rise up and recover from the financial loss in the past few months. 

But for now, caterers need to be innovative- to find new ways on how they can keep their business afloat and continuously provide customers quality food, too. 

How are catering companies operating in the post-COVID-19 world?

In our country alone, weddings account for up to 50% of revenues in the catering industry. But due to the fear and anxiety caused by COVID-19, many clients are opting to celebrate in very small groups and ditch the grand celebrations at big venues. Some catering companies are quick to pick up on the trend and offer catering services for small groups. It seems that we won’t be seeing a lot of buffet tables in the next coming months, or even years, hence some catering companies have pivoted and are now offering delicious foods to retail customers, too. 

Caterers are now offering their menus for stay-at-home social events amongst families. Instead of preparing fancy, long tables, caterers now deliver the food in microwaveable containers, so clients can simply reheat them before serving. To keep costs down, catering companies engage in partnerships with local farmers for affordable produce and meat products. 

Several caterers have converted their facilities into kitchens where they prepare meals for the health care personnel and essential workers. Although lockdowns have eased up a bit in our country, people are more cautious. Although social gatherings are now permitted in all territories, with up to 20 people permitted in a group, most people still take precautions and avoid them, especially if a gathering isn’t necessary.. With all these into consideration, it seems that the catering industry will experience a great reduction in the demand for their services. 

New Food Safety Guidelines in the Post-COVID019 World

Food safety has always been paramount in the catering industry. The emergence of COVID-19 however, has made food safety rules stricter than ever before. Public health officials recommend that individuals choose reputable catering companies when planning a social gathering according to the distancing rules.

If you are planning to hire a caterer for an important event amongst family members, it is important to check the following during the interview with your preferred caterer:

  • Do they provide ongoing safety training to their employees?
  • Is their facility inspected by the local health inspectors?
  • Do they have dedicated food delivery vehicles and contactless delivery systems in place?

It is also important that catering companies ensure that their staff members are healthy and COVID-19-free. Some companies provide their employees with COVID-19 testing to determine their current health condition. Clients are more likely to consider companies that have undergone COVID-19 testing for their employees, as they feel more confident about the quality and safety of the delivered food. 

Catering companies have also upgraded their equipment and appliances to store food more efficiently. Storing food at the right temperature is important as this can minimise the growth of disease-causing microorganisms in the food. 

Best practices by caterers in post-COVID-19 world

  • Catering staff should wear gloves at all times, especially when preparing food. It’s not enough to wear gloves, but make sure the catering staff use the gloves following safety protocols. 
  • Use of antibacterial cleaning solutions before preparation and cooking. 
  • Use of personal protective equipment including face mask, face shield, and suit to minimise the risk of transmission. 
  • Advising employees not to report to work if they feel unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Practice handwashing before and after cooking and preparation. 
  • Instead of using glass or ceramics, opt to use disposable dishes. This is especially true if the catering company does not have the equipment to properly clean and disinfect new-washed dishes. 
  • Maintaining good sanitation within the work area of a catering facility. 

How do many catering companies survive social distancing rules

On a daily basis, catering companies produce large volumes of food. In the midst of the COVID-10 pandemic, caterers will find themselves attending catering events for small groups. Getting used to having fewer customers to serve each day instead of hundreds of them will take some time. To keep your company thriving in this day and age, catering companies are implementing these new practices:

  • Pivot to meal preparation 

Meal preparation is similar to catering business in aspects. To make sure you sell to a wider audience, make sure to offer those best-selling dishes that you usually include your catering menu. Meal preparation is a good business since many homeowners are too anxious to go out and do their groceries. 

  • Consider food truck business

Catering companies that have a fleet of food trucks can make use of these vehicles to sell their menu. Caterers can go around and make their food accessible to people in the neighbourhood. 

  • Offer advanced booking for future appointments

Start getting the word out about your offering of catering service in advance. You can give them a discount if they schedule an appointment next year, or once the crisis has been resolved.

If you want to know more about our modified catering services, please call us on our direct line today. You may also request a quote for free by calling our direct line. 

When you follow all these precautions your business will thrive and grow further. Call us for an appointment today.

Catering For Small Groups article image for Square Catering