After more than three weeks of strict social distancing mandates from local Bay Area government officials, our team at Off the Grid continues to navigate very uncertain waters, along with our community of Creators—the food entrepreneurs we partner with at Off the Grid Markets and catering events. To get an updated pulse on how our Creator partners are doing, and how we can continue to support them, we reached back out (after our initial survey in March) for more information.
What We’ve Learned
The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in an average of $60K in losses for each of our Creators so far. 58% have had to temporarily shut down their businesses. The remainder have had to pivot quickly, adapting their business models to add services like drop-off catering and delivery options. In addition to adjusting their service models, 12% of Creators have had to lay off all their employees.
Our Creators are small businesses that have been serving our communities for a considerable amount of time. 59% of Creators have 5 or less employees, and 73% have been in business for 2 – 9 years; only 4% are less than a year old.
Here’s how Creators have been affected since we first surveyed them in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis—and how they’re adapting, innovating, and making an effort to stay afloat through diversification:
– The average revenue lost within a week of the COVID-19 crisis beginning was $21K. This has now increased to an average of $60K per Creator.
– In March, 45% of Creators reported that their whole business, including catering and public sales had been impacted. Now, 100% of our Creators have been negatively impacted in some way.
– Where 70% of Creators were just starting to explore new offerings in March, 87% are now offering drop-off catering, 70% are using food delivery, 40% are offering online gift cards and 22% are exploring merchandising opportunities.
In a poll of our followers on social media, 85% of more than 1,100 respondents are willing to support our community of Creators through alternative food service options.
What We’re Doing to Help
Our team at Off the Grid has been hard at work to launch new initiatives that will help keep our small business partners going during this challenging time. Here are a few:
– Working with our Creators to offer drop-off catering options.
– Providing physical, mobile structures (our Cuberts and Food Trucks) and a variety of food service options for COVID-19 relief structures. If you or someone you know is involved with emergency response and could use support, please reach out to us.
– Launching a Grocery Store Employee Fund that connects Creators with local grocery stores, making a gesture of gratitude to grocery store employees through delicious food.Though some Bay Area companies have implemented work-from-home policies, we know that many people are still coming in to work, and need reliable meals. This also provides a fantastic opportunity to support local businesses during these challenging times.
What You Can Do
Support us in supporting our community of small businesses!
Our Serramonte Community Market is still open. Check out the schedule and Creator offerings here.
Consider drop-off catering options for your next event, small gathering, or for your employees who remain at work.
Donate to our Grocery Store Employee Fund. After an incredibly successful first week, we’ve upped our fundraising goal to $10K, which will allow us to continue thanking grocery store employees for their hard work with multiple meals to take home (and connect our Creators with new vending opportunities).
Support Creators directly through their new unique offerings. Check out our list of ways to support your local Creators here—updated weekly.
Authored by Juli Hernandez, Content Marketing Manager at Off the Grid