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Online Meet-ups

Online meet-up #3: how can businesses work together during and post COVID-19?

Last week we met up online, once again, to discuss some of the challenges the food and beverage industry is facing during and post COVID-19. The focus of the conversation was how businesses can work together in order to survive the crisis. Find out the highlights, as well as a full recording of the conversation below.

The guests

  • Adi Raihmann, Karma Food, Vienna
  • Maarten van der Jagt, Giraffe Coffee Roasters, Rotterdam
  • Gilles Reuter, Die Parfümerie, Vienna
  • Alex Ciomartan, Fix me a Drink, Bucharest
  • Alex Dumitru, Anika Restaurant, Bucharest

The highlights

13 ways in which food and beverage businesses can work together during COVID-19

  1. Work together with big partners or suppliers who are more financially stable during a crisis.
  2. Host Instagram live podcasts with people from the industry, or live cooking, coffee making and cocktail making classes.
  3. Start a slack channel where f&b businesses from the same country share information from banks, tax advisors and other governmental measures.
  4. Share a PR or marketing company that can help multiple businesses at the same time, through similar challenges.
  5. Share resources between businesses, for example, packaging or deliveries, to reduce the overall cost.
  6. Share any unneeded space with other initiatives who may need it. For example, Giraffe Coffee Roasters offered one of their spaces to a local initiative that brings local products together and packages them in a box.
  7. Set up online interviews and meet&greets with partners and suppliers.
  8. Organise daily cooking classes which keep the community engaged on a constant level.
  9. Create personal connections with your community. For example, Karma Food will be helping their community come up with dishes based on what they have available.
  10. Repurpose your business to support others, whether they are small food artisans or artists. For example, Artichoke Social House coffeeshop in Bucharest is going to turn into a shop during this time.
  11. Create an international network with similar businesses, especially when your business involves international deliveries, like coffee, for example. So, a coffee roaster from a country could send their beans to another roaster to support one another, share practices, identify trends and most importantly, start a broader conversation.
  12. Start a joint cookbook with multiple small businesses.
  13. Partner up with a postal service to broaden the reach of your products nationwide.

Other resources and ideas to help your f&b business during Covid-19

  • RoadXL.de is a great tool for inputting 20 different addresses and optimise your delivery route.
  • Repurpose any materials you may have available. At Fix Me A Drink, Alex reuses otherwise wasted bottles to package their cocktails.
  • We have just opened up our Slack channel where we will continue sharing thoughts, ideas and initiatives, as well as organise future meet-ups. If you are interested in joining us, reach out here.

Watch the full discussion here

Join us!

Are you the owner of a small food and beverage business? Join our future conversations, which happen weekly. Register your interest here.

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Support & Ideas

10+ new initiatives that tackle the COVID-19 crisis in the food and drink industry

The food and drink industry was quick to mobilise as soon as the COVID-19 crisis has started. I have been on the look-out for inspiring projects around the world and have put together a new collection of ideas, on top of the list of 30-something initiatives I shared two weeks ago. Discover how food and drink businesses are tackling the COVID-19 crisis!

  1. Florian Schuhmann-Irschik from Quantum Winery, started Drinking Against Sinking, to support winemakers’ distribution networks. How does it work? Natural winemakers can bottle any of their wines using the Drinking Against Sinking label. The proceeds from the sales support their distribution network (shops, restaurants), as well as their own businesses.
  2. Gault&Millau Romania has started supporting restaurants in Romania by creating the largest ‘online restaurant’ in the country. During this period, their website has turned into a platform where you can find the restaurants that do deliveries or pick-up. The initiative aims to encourage people to share a meal together, even if they’re not physically together.
  3. Solidar Local is a project that aims to support local businesses by organising an online festival. In order to get ‘tickets’ to the festival, you have to place an order from a local producer.
  4. Blue Hill at Stone Barns offer boxes which include fruits, vegetables, and some pre-made goods, bread and others. They also encourage donations for the ‘Hospital box’, a care package designed to feed 10 front line workers.
  5. Bucharest Coffee Waves have moved their local coffee week online, with masterclasses around sensory skills, latte art and more.
  6. Fix me a Drink are delivering pre-batched cocktails in Bucharest.
  7. In their Instagram stories and feed, MAD have been featuring what restaurants around the world are doing to cope with the situation. Follow them for constant inspiration. On their website, they have also gathered a map of businesses that are still open, worldwide. It’s not heavily populated yet, so if you are a food and drink business owner, send them the details of your business.
  8. There are increasingly more online meet-ups and webinars that invite food and drink business owners to discuss the most pressing issues. James Beard Foundation has started a series of webinars. With Food on our Tables, we have been holding weekly meet-ups where we brainstorm problems and generate ideas, together. Register your interest here, if you’re interested to join the next meet-ups.
  9. Like with online meet-ups, Instagram lives have become more popular than ever. Die Parfümerie, Amass and others have been organising live sessions with people from the industry to discuss the crisis.
  10. Fine Dine Quarantine is a new Instagram account that invites people from the industry to share simple recipe videos. The Michelin Guide has started a new recipe sharing project, where they invite chefs from around the world to share recipes to make at home. Many restaurants, chefs and food bloggers have started doing the same.
  11. Restaurants and other food businesses have started selling the wines they have in stock. Amis de la Fete and Anika in Bucharest are two examples.
  12. Restaurants have come together to deliver meals. The Good Hood Deal, in NY is offering a pre-paid lunch card for five meals that come from five different local businesses.
  13. Restaurants around the world have been promoting their suppliers, so that the public can order produce directly from them and support their business. Some examples include Brat Restaurant in London, Tian Restaurant in Vienna and Paine si Vin in Bucharest.

I am constantly looking for innovative ideas that the food and drink industry is doing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis! If you know other great initiatives, please reach out!

Stay safe,

Ioana

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Categories
Online Meet-ups

Highlights from the #foodonourtables online meet-up #2

On the 2nd of April, a few of us met online, again, to tackle the most pressing issues caused by COVID-19 on the food and drinks industry. Discover what we talked about, and watch or listen to the recorded conversation.

Our attendees and agenda

Here you can find the handbook I had prepared for the meet-up.

Our attendees, in short:

We started the discussion with brief introductions, then brainstormed and listed the issues that the food and drinks industry faces during and post corona. After the brainstorming session, Florian Schuhmann-Irschik presented Drinking Against Sinking. The project aims to gather natural winemakers who, under the same label, support their distribution network and themselves during this period. Find out more about the project here.

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Ready for order!!! www.drinking-against-sinking.eu

A post shared by Quantum Winery (@quantumwinery) on

Watch or listen to our discussion

My goal is to make progress as transparent as possible. This is why I have recorded the session and will continue doing the same for our next ones.

Some of the highlights of the discussion, illustrated

Conclusions from the meet-up

We came up with over 25 different problems, then voted for the most pressing ones, which we will tackle, one at a time, during the next series of meet-ups. Here are the questions we will be working on:

  • How can businesses work together more, to support each other?
  • Cashflow is a challenge, which puts pressure on customers, as well as suppliers and partners. Who will be there, once this crisis passes? How can meaningful connections be built at this stage? How can business models change and offering change?
  • How can we create a new culture of spending money? How can we make consumers understand the importance of supporting local businesses right now, as well as immediately after the crisis?
  • How can we support mental health and resilience in the industry, especially since no one was prepared for this situation, and no one had contingency plans in place.
  • How can we influence local governments to make it easier for businesses to operate once the crisis is over by easing some of the restrictions that have existed in recent years?

Are you interested in joining us in our future meet-ups?

Would you like to participate in our future meet-ups? Register your interest here and I will be in touch.

Until then, stay safe!

Ioana

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Categories
Online Meet-ups

Join us on our quest to find creative solutions for the hospitality industry during and post COVID-19

I’ve already told you about our initial online meet-up in this blog update. And I’ve also told you that we’re not stopping there. My purpose? Simple: to gather a group of like-minded individuals, be it people from the hospitality industry or people who are passionate about business innovation, and collectively support each other with ideas and expertise during and post COVID-19.

Why global? Because I strongly believe that by thinking globally, we will be able to come up with better solutions. And learn from each other’s challenges and successes.

How can you join our online meet-ups?

Are you a restaurant owner? A chef? A coffee shop owner? A bar owner? A food blogger? A restaurant consultant? A baker? A farmer? A winemaker? A food trend researcher? A food photographer? Do you love this industry? Join us, and let’s be stronger together!

Sign up, and we’ll keep you in the loop. 💌 No spam, promised!

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Online Meet-ups

We had our first online meet-up to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry

One thing is obvious, whether you are in Bucharest, Vienna, New York, or any city impacted by COVID-19, local hospitality businesses are struggling. On the 24th of March, a few of us had an online meet-up to discuss these matters and start thinking about solutions. Together.

Here are the highlights of our discussion

– Delivery doesn’t really work and it’s not a long-term solution. People need raw products more than cooked food. Plus, it can be risky.

– There is a lack of clarity around government policies and new measures. A recurrent theme of the call was the fact that nobody knows exactly what their government is doing or how to apply for relief.

– Given the uncertainty and daily changes in measures taken by local governments, it is hard to build a long-term plan.

– While vouchers are great, they are not enough to support local businesses.

– A lot of business owners cannot assume the responsibility of asking their staff to be working during this period.

– It is important to stay active and relevant and do good these days. On the platforms that are available to us, be it on social media, or on a video conference. This will help local businesses keep their communities engaged and show them that they care.

– A solution to keeping businesses afloat may be reinventing and repurposing them. This is not only to be able to keep some cashflow coming in, but also to support local communities.

– It is a time when big businesses that are flourishing (for example supermarkets) should make a difference and support local businesses and local communities.

– If businesses cannot do anything now, but will somehow manage to survive the crisis, what is it that they can do once this is over?

– Although unfortunate, maybe the death of some local businesses is something we all have to be ready for. And think about reopening when it’s time, again, be it in a year, two, three, or more.

– It would be helpful if accountants, lawyers and business consultants could provide some form of pro bono support for local businesses to help them during the crisis.

Here is a gallery of the most inspiring thoughts from the call

If you find any of them as inspiring as I did, save it/them on your device and share it/them on your social media.

What are the next steps and how can you get involved?

With Food on our Tables, my purpose is to create a small global community of entrepreneurs from the food sector and come up with creative solutions to tackle this crisis.

This was the first online meet-up, but we are not planning on stopping here. I will continue hosting these events and update you on the conversations we are having.

Here are a couple of things you can do to help:

– If you are passionate about the hospitality industry or work directly in it, and are interested in joining our conversations, get in touch and I will keep you updated with what’s happening next.

– If you know any accountants, lawyers or business consultants who would be willing to share their knowledge with local entrepreneurs, please reach out.

– If you like this initiative and believe in the power of thinking globally and acting locally, please share it further.

Stay safe,

Ioana

Categories
Support & Ideas

How the food industry is responding to the COVID-19 crisis: 30+ ideas from around the world

I have spent the past couple of days trying to figure out the next steps for the #foodonourtables initiative. With so much uncertainty, it’s important to stay alert and resilient. I have gathered over 30 ideas that illustrate how the food industry is responding to the coronavirus crisis. I am hoping that this list will act as inspiration for your own business, as well as provide you with resources you can make use of during this period. From vouchers, to online courses and efforts to mobilise local governments, discover what food businesses around the world have started doing during this period.

Vouchers, and more than that

1. Vorfreude.kaufen, Way To Passion, Ialoc.ro and others started a voucher system to make it easier for the industry to sort out logistics.

2. Instead of selling vouchers, Noble Savage restaurant in Vienna has partnered up with their beef supplier, X.O. Beef. Together, they are selling tickets to a ‘Salvation Brunch’, which will happen every Saturday, for five weeks in a row, when the crisis is over. Book your ticket here.

3. Instead of selling vouchers for post-corona fixed-price consumption, Bucharest cocktail bar Fix MAD implemented a 15% discount that gives buyers a year-long 15% discount, starting as soon as the crisis is over.

4. Noma’s voucher system gives guests priority to secure their future bookings. They also come with additional benefits: signed menu, a limited edition printed menu, cookbooks, ferments from their lab, and even a session with one of their fermentation or test kitchen staff.

5. David Chang’s Momofuku started an Employee Relief Fund. They state that 100% of the proceeds will help the team navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

Social media to the rescue

6. Chefs and restaurants around the world have started live online classes on Instagram. Follow Massimo Bottura (Osteria Gucci and Osteria Francescana), Paul Ivic (Tian), Jason Atherton (Pollen Street Social), Karma Food Vienna and others as they teach those staying at home how to cook delicious, simple food.

7. Chefs like Jeremy Chan (Ikoyi London) and restaurants like Labstelle are sharing recipes in their Instagram feed.

8. Rotterdam-based brewery and bistro, Kaapse Maria, are promoting their suppliers to encourage shoppers to buy local.

9. High-follower profiles like Soigne Food are offering to support restaurants that are still working by promoting them on their channels.

10. Habibi&Hawara in Vienna, among others, have started sharing the kind messages that their customers are sending.

Businesses, working together during the COVID-19 crisis

11. Impact Hub Vienna are bringing communities together and providing them with support through video conferences, digital learning platforms, tools and other resources.

12. Restaurants and suppliers have started working more closely together. Three Rotterdam based businesses (a bakery – Das Brot NL, a plant based eatery – Jack Bean Food and a vegetable supplier – Landzicht Biologisch) teamed up to create the ‘local goodness’ box). The boxes contain fresh brad, plant based burger patties or bean chilli, as well as fresh vegetables.

13. Greg Baxtrom and Max Katzenberg (Olmsted, NY) started the New York Hospitality Coalition. They are running their own campaign, around the hashtag #toosmalltofail. One of their goals is to unify New York restaurants for relief. Among others, they are requesting that the sales tax for the hospitality businesses that have been interrupted by COVID-19 be suspended.

14. Last week, James Beard Foundation organised a free webinar to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting the hospitality industry.

15. Culinaria Mexico encourage large food companies to support local restaurants with free or discounted supplies.

16. Restaurant guides Zagat and The Infatuation built a guide to support local hospitality businesses. They partnered up with World Central Kitchen, started by chef Jose Andres in 2010 after the Haiti earthquake. The organisation’s goal is to support local communities with food in the wake of natural disasters.

17. In the US, restaurants and organisations are asking for government support. Food Policy Action build a guide on how the congress can help local restaurants, and the campaign, #SaveRestaurants is backed by James Beard Foundation.

18. Gourmet magazine Toothache has just announced that all profits will go to the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. They are encouraging people to either donate to their favourite restaurants, or buy the magazine, to have something to read while in self-isolation.

Food for the greater good

19. Restaurants like Steirereck, Hilderbrandt and Alma Gastrotheque in Vienna, Cordo in Berlin, and Kane in Bucharest, have started a community kitchen, helping doctors, nurses, and other heroes, during these times. This either involves free meals or delivery services.

20. Every day, one of Taubenkobel Austria‘s team members will be cooking alone to ensure that 120 meals are prepared and delivered to Caritas.

21. A restaurant in Melbourne offers discounts to those who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

22. Chef Jason White (@teamsilent) offered to help chefs reduce their food waste by providing free of charge advice on fermentation.

23. A craft miso brewery in Rotterdam offers free miso for those who need it, since it is healthy and good for immunity.

24. Million Gallons is an organisation that brings restaurants together and make soup (in the NYC, Westchester region), in order to help those in need. You can register your restaurant or donate here.

25. Chefs and food bloggers have started supporting people with ideas on what to cook based on the ingredients in their fridge.

26. ChefSteps have made all their pasta recipes available for free.

Food deliveries, done smart

27. Restaurants like Balls Bucharest and Anika have started canning food and selling it ready to be used, from pasta sauce, to rillettes and other spreads.

28. Ottolenghi announced that some of their waiters agreed to retrain as couriers, in order to deliver the food. In many cities, delivery services are overwhelmed.

29. In Bucharest, an event organising company launched a monthly subscription based service, Good-Food. Once you sign up, you will receive freshly cooked food, daily. Pujol restaurant, in Mexico, is another business that has set up a subscription model with deliveries of basic products, weekly.

30. Restaurant Noua in Bucharest has switched from fine dining to daily menus with nutritious, comforting food.

31. JustEat has cut its commission for 30 days. This aims to put less financial pressure on restaurants and support their cash-flow.

Resources, all in the same place

32. Writer Nunu Kaller has built the largest collection of local businesses that are still doing delivery in Austria. The list is updated every couple of hours and has been growing substantially over the past week. Access it here.

33. Raw Wine have created a global natural wine map to support businesses that are still oprational at the moment. Check out their #togethernaturally campaign and submit your business.

34. With the help of my employer and a couple of friends, I launched Food on our Tables, aiming to support the hospitality industry as we deal with the COVID-19 crisis. We have built a list of food businesses operating during these times in Bucharest, Romania. You can access it here. If you wish to take this to your own city, I am happy to provide support at every step to get it to work as smoothly as it did in Bucharest.

Let’s help each other

If you have come across other creative initiatives that have inspired you, please share them in a comment or get in touch. My goal is to make all ideas available for those whose businesses are currently affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and I will keep updating the blog with anything new that I will come across.

Also reach out if you wish to build a database of food businesses that are still running, or have any other idea on how we can help each.

If you are a food business and need support or ideas, send me an email.

We’re always going to be stronger together.

Stay safe and stay home,

Ioana

Let’s spread the love and inspire others

Categories
Cities

Local food businesses in Bucharest

We have launched an initiative to make a list of all available food resources available in Bucharest.

We are also working on the Vienna version. You can find the table here. If you need support setting this up in your city, reach out and we’ll gladly help.

Here is a version of the form made for Insta Stories. Please save it, share it and tag @foodonourtables on Instagram, so that we can update the database!

Categories
Support & Ideas

10 ways to support your local hospitality businesses during the COVID-19 crisis

All the images below are free to use on your social media. Save as many as you like, and help us spread the word further and support our local eataries, cafés and bars! If it’s easier, you can download the whole lot here, or get all of them in infographic format here.

Would you like to add more ideas to the list? Share them with us and we’ll transform them into share-able images, perfect for social media.

Until then, help us spread the love! 🤗