With no meetings or gatherings, catering companies forced to adjust

grandmas catering.jpg
Posted at 6:18 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 08:05:30-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The phone has been ringing off the hook at Grandma’s Catering in Kansas City, Missouri, but not for good reasons.

Owner Dave Gordon said customers are canceling their orders.

The majority of his business is for meetings and events. Now new rules in Kansas City and Jackson, Wyandotte and Johnson counties have limited gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

“We're in the meeting business, it's all we do really is meetings. It just stopped. We're basically at 10 to 25 percent of what we were,” Gordon admitted.

It’s a similar story at ClusterTruck. The delivery-only kitchen in Kansas City says about 40 percent of its business comes from meetings. And 40 percent of new customers come from people who try the food at one of those meetings.

Both companies are now making changes in order to keep their employees working, so they continue to earn a paycheck.

Grandma’s Catering is lowering the minimum amount of food it requires for an order so that it can serve more customers.

Gordon said he will even take out a loan or sell assets in order to keep paying his 50 or so employees.

"A lot of them I've known for years and years. Some of them are actual family of mine, but I consider this family. If I had to be quarantined somewhere, it'd be here. Not at home. It'd be here with these people. I just love everybody here,” said Elaine Chaddock, a manager at Grandma’s Catering.

Across town, ClusterTruck is offering existing customers five “ClusterPoints” for each new customer they refer. Those new customers will get 50 percent off their first order.

ClusterTruck will deliver to individuals.

Food trucks are also feeling the pinch.

Maurice Banks runs Catch-n-Release Fried Fish and BBQ. He said all the events he would normally attend are canceled. So he set up his truck at East 68th Street and Prospect Avenue. He asks people to honk or holler when they drive up and he’ll take their order.

Banks is also working with DoorDash to begin offering delivery from his food truck.