Well before the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns forced people back into their kitchens, studies of home cooking trends demonstrated that this was already beginning to happen around the world.
It wasn’t just about stay-at-home orders; it was also about people feeling apprehensive in restaurants or in public. People working from home were no longer stopping on their way into work to grab coffee and food for the commute. Lunch with coworkers, and takeout on the way home almost completely stopped as so many people simply stayed home. And there’s no denying that during the pandemic many people were worried about finances as well. It is less expensive to eat at home than it is to order from restaurants and there’s also more leftovers. We all became more accustomed to preparing meals at home. We also became more comfortable shopping online from the comfort of home.
Right from the start of the pandemic we adapted very quickly to ordering groceries online for delivery or curbside pickup. The acceleration to online purchasing that we anticipated happening over 5 years happened in just 1 year. We initiated a program of delivering local orders FREE and our growing base of loyal customers. We invested further in our website and marketing to ensure that your online customer experience was an intuitive and pleasurable one. We bundled products together to offer pasta night and pizza night meal kits as well as charcuterie boxes and lantern gift boxes for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when it was impossible to visit but simple to send tasteful gifts. We treated our online customers to loads of product information, recipes, handwritten thank you notes and follow up discount codes for future purchases. We delivered packages that looked like gifts. We did exactly what we do when you visit us in one of our stores.
It was hard work. Many of our staff were not able to work for up to 7 months over the year and those who did continue to work filling online and call-in orders worked almost to exhaustion. And we all LOVED doing it!
Hard work pays off. Although our in-store traffic stopped almost completely during the lockdowns, we saw an increase in online sales from less than 1% of our sales to just over 20%. With all the stores now open again we are pleased that we can now see so many of our loyal customers and many new ones face-to-face again. It’s like a reunion! And for those who enjoy the convenience of ordering online for delivery or pickup, that option is still there. For consumers feeling more confident in the kitchen now, we are here for you. Remember, you don’t need to be a chef to make awesome meals, you just need quality ingredients and a little inspiration.
What started in 2015 as one small shop on Collier Street in Barrie has grown to be a thriving LOCAL chain with 4 successful shops plus a lucrative online business that ships across Canada. In fact our team will expand during the fourth quarter of 2021 to employ 21 local people. Our growth and success can be attributed in large part to our great team of passionate foodies.
Thank you for all your loyalty. Thank you for inviting us into your home and sharing us with your friends and family. We are so proud to be a part of your community. And because of you we were able to open a fourth location in Midland in May of 2021. And we are pleased to announce that we will also have our seasonal location at Georgian Mall again this year. We promise we will keep working hard to innovate, collaborate and bring you the best quality products and the highest level of service that you have come to know us for.
We are so grateful.