By: Bansree Parikh, Business Banking Market Executive for Bank of America
Some sectors of the food and beverage industry have experienced rapid surges or declines in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. Grocery stores have seen heightened demand, creating pressure to meet the growing needs of consumers confined to their homes. Food and beverage distributors have faced a different reality, with their customers—such as restaurants, hotels and cruise lines—sharply reducing their demands for goods. Each shift has created its own challenges and opportunities. Here, we share insights and look at how food and beverage businesses are responding.
New Challenges for Food & Beverage Companies
Grocery stores have faced unique challenges due to the pandemic, including keeping workers and shoppers safe from a virus as recommendations have evolved. To keep stores clean and safe, managers have increased their use of disinfectants, changed the physical layouts of their stores, increased signage, created and enforced policies around wearing masks and limited the number of people allowed in their stores.
Additionally, grocery stores have adapted to a growing demand for online order fulfillment, as more consumers opt to stay home and have food delivered. This has created new challenges, as some grocers have tried partnering with third-party delivery services who have been enmeshed in labor disputes and sometimes unable to make timely deliveries. Some grocers have explored hiring their own shoppers and deliverers, but these services add costs to already slim margins and create new business processes to be managed.
Distributors have had a different experience during the pandemic, undergoing a sharp decline in demand for goods as hotels, restaurants and other large-scale venues closed. While some restaurants, notably “big chain” restaurants, are seeing a return to prior-year customer spending, smaller restaurants have seen a 25 percent decline.
Some distributors have evolved their business models to supply retail grocers, but doing so necessitates establishing new processes and changing product packaging to be suitable to individual consumers. Also, like restaurant owners, distributors have had to ride the wave of restaurants closing, then opening partially, then opening fully, then closing partially—a pattern that may continue indefinitely.
According to a recent survey by BofA Global Research, in June 2020, 32% of respondents did not expect to feel comfortable dining out until sometime in 2021 vs. only 20% in April.
Greater Needs for Safety and Efficiency
Now is a time for food and beverage companies to closely examine revenue figures for specific products and product lines to see where the shortages are and what adjustments may be needed. Perhaps the most essential mindset for food and beverage businesses is to look to the future and aim for flexibility. There are several steps these companies can take to protect their businesses in the near- and long-term, including:
- Exploring key technologies that can automate food processing and packing or improve online processes for shopping, delivery, and curbside pickup.
- Shifting product lines to meet new demand. For example, many distilleries and breweries have started to make hand sanitizer in partnership with local grocers.
- Retailers should pay special attention to their expenses. Profits are under pressure as stores alter their spaces and practices for safer shopping and working, incurring unforeseen costs.
The future is uncertain, as the pandemic eases in some regions and surges in others. We are likely to see patterns shift again, with consumers in some areas returning to restaurants and buying fewer groceries. Remaining flexible and adaptive will help grocers and distributors continue to perform despite these waves of disruption.
Bansree Parikh is a Business Banking Market Executive for Bank of America
Sunset Soirée 2023: A Night of Collaboration and Celebration in the Inland Empire
Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, in Partnership with Riverside Convention Center and NFL Alumni Association, Hosts a Memorable Evening of Networking, Music, and Community Engagement.
On September 7th, the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Riverside Convention Center and the NFL Alumni Association of Southern California, successfully hosted their much-anticipated annual event, the “Sunset Soirée.” The event was proudly presented by isolved, a leading company dedicated to transforming the future of work through a unique blend of software and services tailored for payroll, benefits, and HR professionals.
Over 200 esteemed guests graced the occasion, immersing themselves in an evening filled with business networking, summer festivities, and the promise of forging meaningful connections. The Sunset Soirée has always been a beacon for professionals to exchange visionary ideas, collaborate, and expand their networks.
The evening began with a warm welcome, as each guest was greeted with a complimentary drink, setting a tone of camaraderie and relaxed interaction. An array of delectable complimentary hors d’oeuvres was served, each expertly crafted to tantalize the taste buds and fuel engaging conversations.
The event was graced by notable speakers, including Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce; James Washington, President of the NFL Alumni Association of Southern California and 2x Superbowl Champion with the Dallas Cowboys; and Barbra Rogers, Director of Operations at Riverside Convention Center.
Mr. Edward Ornelas, Jr. remarked, “The Sunset Soirée is more than just an event; it’s a testament to the spirit of collaboration and community in the Inland Empire. We’re honored to bring together such a diverse and dynamic group of professionals, and I’m personally thrilled to see the connections and partnerships that will undoubtedly emerge from tonight.”
The atmosphere was further elevated by the presence of a talented musician who serenaded the attendees with live music, adding a harmonious touch to the evening. The highlight of the night was a special performance by the acclaimed Country Music Artist, Presley Tennant. Known for her powerful vocals and unique blend of California-Country music, Tennant has shared the stage with music legends like Tim McGraw, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Pearce, and Blake Shelton. Her commitment to animal welfare through her Riffs & Rescues virtual charity tour showcases not just her immense talent but also her golden heart.
The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce extends its heartfelt gratitude to all attendees, partners, and sponsors for making the Sunset Soirée a resounding success. The chamber remains committed to fostering business growth, collaboration, and community engagement in the Inland Empire region.
Inland Empire Collaborative Launches with Grand Celebration
Powering the Future of Sports & Entertainment through Collaboration
The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) is pleased to announce the successful launch of the Inland Empire Sports & Entertainment Collaborative (IESEC). The vibrant launch party took place yesterday at the popular Topgolf in Ontario, attracting an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 200 attendees.
The event was graced by a lineup of notable speakers, including Dave Allen, West Region President for NASCAR, James Washington, President of the NFL Alumni Southern California Chapter, Michael K. Krouse, President & CEO of the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau, Nikki Gatch, CEO of the Southern California PGA, Mike Burrows, CEO of the San Bernardino International Airport, and Edward Ornelas, Jr., President of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce.
These distinguished figures shared their insights on the potential of the IESEC to stimulate growth, foster community engagement, and enhance the local economy through sports and entertainment.
IESEC is proud to acknowledge its sponsors, Bank of America and the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency, for their invaluable support. The Collaborative is a testament to the power of synergy, with agencies such as the Southern California PGA, NFL Alumni SoCal, NASCAR, GOCAL, San Bernardino Int’l Airport, Ontario Reign, Empire Strykers, Inland Empire 66ers, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Ontario Clippers, and Southern California’s Greater Ontario Sports & Entertainment Authority actively participating.
In true festive spirit, guests were treated to an evening of sumptuous food, refreshing drinks, and engaging golf play. The energy and enthusiasm echoed the IESEC’s vision of fostering a sense of community through sports and entertainment.
IESEC, spearheaded by the IERCC, is committed to promoting, supporting, and facilitating partnerships between local businesses and regional sports teams, and entertainment venues throughout the Inland Empire. The initiative aims to create memorable experiences while generating revenue, stimulating economic growth, and positively impacting the community.
“Our goal with IESEC is to build a stronger, more connected community united in its love of sports and entertainment,” said Edward Ornelas, Jr., President of the IERCC. “By bringing people together to celebrate the best that the Inland Empire offers, we are creating a platform for exciting new opportunities and experiences.”
IESEC, initiated by the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, is a consortium of experienced professionals dedicated to supporting sports and entertainment events in the Inland Empire region. Through partnerships with local businesses, community organizations, and government entities, IESEC serves as a central hub for promoting a wide variety of cultural and entertainment experiences. By encouraging community participation and economic growth, IESEC aims to build a stronger, more vibrant Inland Empire.
For more information about the IESEC and its ongoing projects, please visit our website at www.iechamber.org
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Newly Appoints Albert Park as Executive Chef
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa has named seasoned culinary professional Albert Park as its new executive chef at this multi-award-winning winery and luxurious wine country resort.
Prior to this appointment, Park served as executive sous chef at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Calif., overseeing Talbot Grill. In his new position, Park’s responsibilities include overseeing culinary operations of the resort’s signature all-day The Vineyard Rose Restaurant, where he is supervising the kitchen team as they launch newly created menus featuring innovative California cuisine sourced seasonally, responsibly and locally.
Examples from the chef’s new spring dinner menu feature entrees such as “Birria” Short Rib accompanied by Manchego grits, thumbelina carrots, curtido and queso fresca and a delightful Fisherman’s Stew composed of clams, mussels, fish, crab claws, fennel and tomato-fennel broth.
In addition, Park is in charge of the poolside Vineyard Grill at South Coast’s sister property Carter Estate and Resort. He oversees in-room dining at both winery resorts and onsite menus for meetings, weddings and special occasions.
“Chef Albert brings a wealth of culinary expertise, impressive managerial and organizational skills, valuable mentoring and leadership acumen to our Temecula winery resorts,” said Jeff Carter, president of Carter Hospitality, owner and operator of South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Carter Estate Winery and Resort. “With South Coast being a top 20-year-old winery in beautiful Temecula, we are certain his contributions will lead to further success and acclaim for our culinary program.”
Park’s past kitchen experience includes his position at Newport Beach’s prestigious The Pacific Club for the last six years. Previous to that, he was chef de cuisine at Bosscat Kitchen and Libations also in Newport Beach and held the same position at now-closed Six Park Grill at the former Hyatt Regency Irvine.
Park graduated magna cum laude from the International Culinary School at the Art Institutes of California-Orange County with a Bachelor of Science degree in culinary management. Leisure time includes traveling with his wife and their three children and assisting his sons’ baseball teams.
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