Elior’s enriched Prepped catering program

The COVID pandemic has devastated the restaurant market by shutting down official events and severely limiting even private gatherings. A leading provider of catering services through a series of leading brands — Constellation Culinary Group, Abigail Kirsch, Design Cuisine, Corporate Chefs and Lancer Hospitality — Elior North America’s Dining & Events division has felt the impact but has acted quickly to make changes and adaptations. One was the development of the Prepped sub-brand, a fast-food concept that offers bespoke gourmet menus directly to consumers’ doors for small gatherings and virtual events.

When the pandemic disrupted all catering and event activities, Elior Dining & Events pivoted to develop a safe and socially distant solution to maintain a source of income, maintain employment for associates and preserve customer connectivity in delivering a high and flexible dining experience directly to consumers and ultimately using quality food to spread joy and connectivity, something more needed than ever amid the global pandemic.

“There was a version of Prepped that one of our sister companies, Design Cuisine, was using for some core drop-off programs before COVID, but it was underused and not fully developed,” says Morgan Bedore, vice president marketing & creative for Elior North America Dining & Events. “With the start of quarantines and the other [pandemic policies], we revisited Prepped – looked at what worked and what didn’t – and fleshed out the brand and created a more robust type of drop-off program to meet the needs of our corporate customers, but more specifically for corporate programs. virtual events that supported us in the early forties. “

After a smooth launch with a few select clients in early fall 2020, Prepped debuted last November in Washington DC and Philadelphia in time for Thanksgiving amid the global pandemic and was an instant hit by providing consumers have easy, stress-free vacation meals delivered right to their doorstep without sacrificing quality. It quickly spread along the east coast to the Miami and New York markets and is currently used by the Constellation Culinary Group, Abigail Kirsch and Design Cuisine units with Corporate Chefs are integrating some of its take-out offerings into its mic. -business. markets, says Bedore.

Those take-out items – salads, sandwiches, snacks, breakfast items – that are applicable for sale in any corporate cafe or micro-market are a way for Prepped to position itself for a post-pandemic world. , notes Bedore.

“One of our questions was how to create a program that can evolve as the business returns to any business that comes back,” he says. “We weren’t sure what was going to break out first and obviously social media [catering] did it, so the virtual event component of Prepped took off first, but now it’s sort of being filled with the grab and go program because we’re seeing people slowly starting to flip in their offices, and [clients] seek to offer amenities to their employee population that are not very tactile, [and are] don’t look for the full-service coffee, but rather this packaged food program.

Throughout the winter and into early 2021, the program met its launch goal of putting team members back on leave to work and developing a new, stable source of income for the caterer while adhering to guidelines. CDC for caterers / food service providers.

Now, with the (hopefully) decline of the pandemic, the Prepped business model is expected to continue providing fresh, safe, and ready-to-eat meals that combine the quality and experience of a fine restaurant with ease and convenience. simplicity of a drop-and-go catering service. Selections range from casual bento box-style bites and a luxury multi-course meal to a DIY sweet treat spread.

Event packages offer continental cuisine with innovative and elevated menu items and packages that suit any occasion, from reimagined vacations to intimate special meetings and hybrid corporate events. It offers a diverse range of options extending beyond the traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert categories with special snack packages, entertaining cocktail packages, beverage supplements and vacation menu packages. seasonal. Due to the need for flexibility in feeding small groups, often in various virtual locations, the program offers an assortment of packages in each meal category, as well as signature add-ons for an additional price. Virtual event menus are distinctively crafted by the caterer’s award-winning culinary team to incorporate seasonal and local ingredients, while maintaining an affordable price.

Designed to serve hybrid events and virtual celebrations only, Prepped has the ability to deliver meals to multiple locations, allowing customers to experience the same elevated dining experience both in person and virtually, and giving large corporations the ability to s ” engage and connect with widely dispersed employees. within the framework of work at home mandates. It also allows friends and family to share a special meal together, even outside of time.

The concept’s branding is designed to convey the ease and playfulness of the take-out menu while maintaining its credibility and experience. Attractive menu items such as DIY cookie decorating kits and seasonal cocktail mixers complement the parent catering company’s brands while allowing for customer-specific personalization in product labeling, printed menu and menu items. carrying cases.

To accommodate reduced resources, manpower and budgets and increased security regulations, the restoration team is reinventing its full-service pre-pandemic onsite restoration business model by upgrading update and renovating its commercial kitchen, designed for larger scale event catering capabilities, to include conveyor belts and a packaging production line to meet prepared orders. Staff safety measures such as increased PPE, social distancing regulations, improved sanitation and daily temperature checks were implemented and highlighted, and before the launch of Prepped, the team had invested in educating and training employees as their job responsibilities shifted to adapt to the new demands of Prepped’s business model. . Importantly, the drop-and-go model prevents catering and delivery staff from directly interacting with customers and maintains the strictest food safety regulations.

The solution also required a significant investment in digital ordering capabilities and brand marketing, as well as individualized and environmentally friendly food packaging products and solutions. A priority of Prepped is to use sustainable paper-based packaging as much as possible. Once the concept, menus and prepped operations were finalized, the team developed an integrated, digital-focused marketing strategy to reach both current restaurant customers as well as new prospects looking for. a take-out fast food experience. Navigating the security restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the team conducted a socially distant marketing photoshoot to capture the essence of the brand as well as the unique menu items for the website and social media platforms.

Although it was developed to deal with the restrictions of the pandemic, Prepped is not going to go away, Bedore stresses.

“There is a group of businesses in normal times that are looking for a fast food service – businesses that need a good sandwich for lunch or need a great evening reception and don’t have a the budget, neither the time nor the space. to host a full-service catered event, but you’re looking for something that’s ready to go, ”she notes. “I call Prepped the ‘little sister’. It doesn’t change what Constellation, Abigail Kirsch or Design Cuisine do for their full-service customers, it just offers another service.

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