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Considerations for the Food & Beverage Industry Amidst a Global Pandemic

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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

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

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.[1]

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.[2]

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

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Food & Lifestyle

Eureka! Opens in Ontario

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Offering Guests a Local Blend of America’s Best Burgers and Spirits in an Exciting and Social Atmosphere, the all-American Restaurant is the Perfect Dining Destination in the Inland Empire

Making its delicious debut today, Eureka! opens in Ontario, across the street from the Toyota Arena. With a commitment to being a scratch kitchen and providing exceptional hospitality, Eureka! creates a one-of-a-kind dining experience like no other restaurant: great food accompanied by a creative craft beverage program. Eureka! features an elevated collection of the best local craft beers, small-batch whiskeys, and classic yet modern cocktails at an approachable price point that is perfect for the local community to dine, drink, and socialize.

Whether guests are looking to enjoy a delicious gourmet burger, grab a craft beer during “hoppy” hour, or listen to live music, Eureka! is the ideal restaurant for any occasion. Adding a contemporary charm to Ontario, Eureka! boasts its expansive restaurant seating 179 guests with a Californian modern design atmosphere nearing a 4,700+ square feet in total. The restaurant features a spacious interior with a mural tributing the California Jam festival by artist Nichole Blackburn, a modern lounge area, and a weatherized patio for guests that like to dine al fresco. The center-focus of the dining room is the indoor/outdoor bar top which carries the lively atmosphere throughout the entire restaurant.

Eureka! specializes in American classics with a modern twist with its diverse selection of appetizers, all natural, carrot-fed Angus burgers from Santa Carota, signature plates, innovative salads, and delectable desserts. Menu highlights include the Mac N’ Cheese Balls with a scratch made beer cheese sauce and Fresno chiles; Double Smash Burger featuring parmesan-crusted brioche, two patties, American cheese, housemade pickles, onion, and secret sauce; Bison Burger topped with spicy charred Fresno chile, bacon-infused jalapeno jam, smoked mozzarella, and whiskey caramelized onions; and Damn Good Chocolate Cake finished bourbon whipped cream, Buffalo Trace chocolate sauce and lava salt.

The beverage program at Eureka! revolves around the restaurant’s commitment to serving premium products that are highly sought after. Eureka! offers 17 craft beers on tap including the best local breweries: Kinds Brewing Co., Hamilton Family Brewery, Claremont Craft Ales, Ritual Brewing Co., and Ironbark Ciderworks, and many more. The signature cocktail program includes guests’ favorites: Wild Child with vodka, watermelon, mint, lemon, aloe, rosé and habanero salt, the Tipsy Pig Old Fashioned with bacon-infused Whiskey Pig 10 Yr. Rye, bitters, and barrel aged maple syrup, and the perfectly designed for the summer, The Headhunter King, a tiki cocktail featuring Jamaican rum, macadamia nut, lime, pineapple, orgeat, and falernum (limit 2 cocktails per guest). Additionally, there are 40+ small batch whiskeys and a special off-menu selection featuring various hard-to-get and strictly allocated whiskeys like Pappy Van Winkle and offerings from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection available to the most discerning whiskey drinkers.

Eureka! Ontario is located at 900 Via Piemonte, St 101, Ontario, CA 91764 underneath the Element Hotel. The restaurant’s hours are: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30am with Monday – Friday “hoppy” hours from 3p.m. to 6p.m. Weekly events include half-off wine on Tuesdays, Steal the Glass on Wednesdays, live music on Thursdays, and $6 Bloody Marys and Mimosas on the weekends.

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Food & Lifestyle

Glen Ivy Hot Springs Reopens with New Leadership, Upgraded Facilities and Record Sales

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GOCO Hospitality, the dedicated global wellness consulting, development, and management company, continues the revitalization of Glen Ivy Hot Springs to create the ultimate West Coast wellness destination. Reopening late January 2022 following a $2.5 million property-wide enhancement project, Glen Ivy Hot Springs welcomed a new General Manager, Hervé Blondel, whose most recent role was General Manager at the internationally acclaimed Rancho La Puerta, fitness resort and spa in Mexico, to further enhance the guest experience.

“Strong leadership is the key to Glen Ivy Hot Springs’ continued growth and development,” commented Ingo Schweder, CEO of GOCO Hospitality and Glen Ivy Hot Springs. “Hervé’s 30 years of experience at top wellness destinations complements GOCO’s expert leadership team of multidisciplinary professionals.”

Hervé Blondel joins GOCO Hospitality’s team of seasoned, global wellness experts with decades of experience at the most exclusive resorts worldwide. Prior to founding GOCO Hospitality, Ingo Schweder was co-owner and head of development at award-winning destination wellness resort, Ananda in the Himalayas. GOCO Hospitality also developed and managed the highly regarded and award-winning SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain. Before joining GOCO in 2014, Group Director, Clive McNish, was wellness director and general manager at world class holistic wellness destination Kamalaya Koh Samui in Thailand. GOCO’s Group Director of Design and Development, Josephine Leung, oversaw the $380 million wellness community Sangha by Octave Living in China. Currently working on more than 400 projects in 45 countries, GOCO offers the leading go-to wellness hospitality specialist group, working with sovereign funds, individual developers, and leading architects around the globe.

“The company has not only seen exponential growth during the pandemic, but also new segments and investors enter the wellness arena as health becomes the new luxury,” added Schweder.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs is no exception to post-pandemic growth. Southern California’s iconic and leading wellness destination saw membership and gift card sales rise by 50% from 2019 to 2021. The increase is attributed to the consumers’ commitment to outdoor wellness and the benefits of thermal mineral water as an increasing part of daily routines, as well as an interest in sharing the experience with others through the pandemic.

The Glen Ivy Hot Springs $2.5 million renovations included the re-engineering of eleven historic mineral springs, as well as upgrades and enhancements of pool decks and pool facilities, in the guest reception area, treatment facilities, the Bath House, the Ivy Kitchen and gardens, which are a part of the 18-acre Glen Ivy organic farm.

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Entertainment

New All-American Restaurant Opens in Ontario

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Offering Guests a Local Blend of America’s Best Food and Spirits in an Exciting and Social Atmosphere, Eureka! is Set to Open in Ontario on Monday, June 6, 2022

Making its delicious debut on Monday, June 6, 2022, Eureka! opens in Ontario, across the street from the Toyota Arena. With a commitment to being a scratch kitchen and providing exceptional hospitality, Eureka! creates a one-of-a-kind dining experience like no other restaurant: great food accompanied by a creative craft beverage program. Eureka! features an elevated collection of the best local craft beers, small-batch whiskeys, and classic yet modern cocktails at an approachable price point that is perfect for the local community to dine, drink, and socialize.

“We build our restaurants always keeping in mind our values; Energy, Discovery, and Community. We strive to create an energetic environment, where guests can discover their new favorite style of burger or unique small-batch whiskey, while supporting the local community through our beverage program featuring the best breweries, distilleries, and wineries in California and local events. As the epicenter of the Inland Empire, Ontario is the perfect destination for us, from the beer geeks, to the local professionals, convention attendees, concert goers and to the families looking for an all encompassing dining experience, look no further than Eureka!.” stated Founder Paul Frederick.

Whether guests are looking to enjoy a delicious dinner, grab a craft beer during “hoppy” hour, or listen to live music, Eureka! is the ideal restaurant for any occasion. Adding a contemporary charm to Ontario, Eureka! boasts its expansive restaurant seating 179 guests with a Californian modern design atmosphere nearing a 4,700+ square feet in total. The restaurant features a spacious interior with a mural  tributing the California Jam festival by artist Nichole Blackburn, a modern lounge area, and a weatherized patio for guests that like to dine al fresco. The center-focus of the dining room is the indoor/outdoor bar top which carries the lively atmosphere throughout the entire restaurant.

Eureka! specializes in American classics with a modern twist with its diverse selection of appetizers, all natural, carrot-fed Angus beef burgers from Santa Carota, signature plates, innovative salads, and delectable desserts. Menu highlights include the Mac N’ Cheese Balls with a scratch made beer cheese sauce and Fresno chiles; Bone Marrow Burger featuring bone marrow shiitake butter, grilled onion, horseradish mustard aioli, and roasted Roma tomato; Fresno Fig Burger topped with fig marmalade, melted goat cheese, bacon, tomato, red onion, arugula, and spicy porter mustard; and Bourbon Barrel Cake finished with pecans, caramel, and paired with vanilla bean ice cream.

The beverage program at Eureka! revolves around the restaurant’s commitment to serving premium products that are highly sought after. Eureka! offers 17 craft beers on tap including the best local breweries: Kinds Brewing Co., Hamilton Family Brewery, Claremont Craft Ales, Ritual Brewing Co., and Ironbark Ciderworks, and many more. The signature cocktail program includes guests’ favorites: Wild Child with vodka, watermelon, mint, lemon, aloe, rosé and habanero salt, the Tipsy Pig Old Fashioned with bacon-infused Whiskey Pig 10 Yr. Rye, bitters, and barrel aged maple syrup, and the perfectly designed for the summer, The Headhunter King, a tiki cocktail featuring Jamaican rum, macadamia nut, lime, pineapple, orgeat, and falernum (limit 2 cocktails per guest). Additionally, there are 40+ small batch whiskeys and a special off-menu selection featuring various hard-to-get and strictly allocated whiskeys like Pappy Van Winkle and offerings from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection available to the most discerning whiskey drinkers.

Eureka! is adding craft to Ontario at 900 Via Piemonte, St 101, Ontario, CA 91764 underneath the Element Hotel. The restaurant’s hours are: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30am with Monday – Friday “hoppy” hours from 3p.m. to 6p.m. Weekly events include half-off wine on Tuesdays, Steal the Glass on Wednesdays, live music on Thursdays, and $6 Bloody Marys and Mimosas on the weekends.

Eureka! is hiring for all positions and hosting a Hiring Fair on site from Monday, May 9 to Saturday, May 21, 2022 from Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit Eureka! Ontario’s website.

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