When the coronavirus hit the businesses served by American Dining Creations (ADC), “everyone was stunned for a minute,” says Nick Salvagni, national director of marketing with ADC, explaining the quick pivot from shock into action. “Left and right, our businesses were shutting down. A., we have a ton of food and we want to be smart about that. And B., we have dry storage rooms stocked with all the items people are looking for.”
So, ADC partnered up with the businesses it serves and the distributors it purchases from and quickly turned large commissaries and storerooms into pop-up grocery stores with meal kits and emergency supplies available for curbside pickup at 15 locations currently.
To reduce contact, ADC quickly converted mobile technology that had been in place for coffee and food orders (Catertrax) to get online grocery shopping up and running for employees and also members of the communities where ADC operations are located. At some locations, orders over $150 can be delivered.
Photo: Cars line up at one of ADC’s commissaries to pick up preordered groceries, meal kits and supplies.
“Grocery ordering went so well that we started a take-home meal program with family boxes where you can buy meals for the week,” Salvagni says.
In addition—an inspiring note—many of ADC’s corporate clients are sponsoring take-home boxes for first responders, kids in need and their families within the community. In the first three weeks, clients have sponsored over 65,000 meals for their employees, family and first responders.
“Some of our clients are stepping up and saying it’s $40 for 14 meals, so here’s $400 and I want 10 kids to eat for two weeks,” Salvagni says.
ADC has also been developing “family fun” boxes with food activities to help with the stir-crazy feelings of families stuck inside.
Photo: Several of the corporations ADC serves have sponsored meals for the week for local school kids, picked up by parents.
“Our higher-ed team came up with something cool for the little ones—craft boxes, pizza night, stir-fry, spaghetti and meatballs, cupcakes…when mom and dad buy this pizza kit, they can get an hour of fun instead of just ordering a pizza and then it’s over,” Salvagni says.
Meals in bulk, like a big pan of chicken and rice, can be repurposed into several meals for a family, making items like this the most popular. Being flexible with ingredients has come into play like never before. Constant contact with vendors has ramped up.
“Our managers are putting in orders and we have to be streamlined because the vendor has to tell us what’s in stock: We’re asking them, ‘What do you have and what don’t you have?’
While these services are “keeping the motor running” in terms of revenue for ADC, the main thing is “to do something good with it,” Salvagni stresses, adding, “We have people in very high-up positions here making ham and cheese sandwiches because that’s what’s needed right now.”
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