2020 has been a roller-coaster. Our first blog of the year was about a pizza franchisee who catered enough pizzas for at least 850 people. By late March, a group of 15 was considered too much. The food industry was put to the test and our Top 10 Cambro Blogs of the year show what our readers wanted to know about most. From schools efficiently serving students to restaurants getting creative, these are the Cambro blogs that cannot be missed:
Schools have been using our Flex Station for years, but it received a special amount of attention this year. When schools closed and foodservice directors were sent scrambling, those with Flex Stations jumped into action. Soon afterward, schools looking for solutions saw the Flex Station as best in class.
With options that include using divider bars, Camwear Food Pans®, Camwear Boxes and solid or vented shelves, the design possibilities are endless. School foodservice teams can use the Flex Station for curbside meal distribution, breakfast in the classroom, Grab-N-Go lunch offerings and anything in between. Aldine Independent School District wanted a product that would be easy to move and hold everything they needed. The Flex Station was a “no brainer,” especially because they also wanted to customize the design to fit their food offerings. The final design, complete with Cam GoBoxes for temperature maintenance, is exactly what they wanted.
Hygiene and cleanliness were always a huge priority for foodservice operations, but many restaurants wanted to be even more transparent about their practices during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the CDC, handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to reduce the risk of infection. Chick-fil-A took the advisement and ran with it, choosing to equip every location with a least one Cambro Handwash Station. If you’ve ever visited a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, you know it functions as a well-oiled machine. The addition of our Handwash Stations supported that efficiency, giving employees easy access to soap and water while working outside.
In July, we decided to resurrect the Cambro’s Business of the Week, which shines a light on small foodservice businesses. Given that restaurants were among the hardest hit industries during 2020, we felt it was the ideal time to show our support in this way. Restaurants, catering and hospitality are what make our world go ‘round. The purpose of the Business of the Week is to tell owners’ stories of struggles and triumphs while offering the reader a new place to eat down the street or next time they travel.
Shortbread Society is a great example of how an initial loss in 2020 turned into a massive gain. When New York pastry Chef Francis Legge, also known as “Chef Scottish Francis,” from his days competing on MasterChef, lost his job at a donut shop, he used the opportunity to finally start his own business. He created Shortbread Society where he creates unique and trendy shortbread creations. His signature Billionaires Shortbread is made with his original Granny Pearl’s shortbread, buttery Highland caramel and topped with Oh My Ganache dark chocolate and a gold glittery top.
This blog was extremely valuable for schools when it was first posted in April. Generally, schools had been closed for a month and many school foodservice directors were still trying to figure out how they were going maintain curbside meal distribution for the foreseeable future. We had seen a handful of schools using their Cambro products to get the job done successfully. Utilizing real examples from real schools, we complied a list of four products that schools might already have or could easily purchase. A key feature to all of these products is that they can be applied for other uses when meal distribution ends. Another feature all four products share is mobility. When speaking to foodservice directors, it’s very common to hear them rave about the ability to easily move their Cambro products from the kitchen to anywhere on campus.
When stay at home orders rolled out across the country, many restaurants had to completely change how they served their customers. While curbside and delivery were already the norm for most fast-casual restaurants, many upscale concepts began experimenting with providing off-premise options for the first time. We created a guide for how to keep food quality consistent even though meals were leaving the building.
Since the blog was posted in March, we developed our way to achieve #1 Keep food safe from start to finish. StaySafe Tamper Evident Labels are designed to give both restaurant owners and customers a piece of mind.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare facilities were serving the majority of their meals via communal dining. Residents were able to socialize and get their meals hot, directly out of the kitchen. When communal dining was eliminated for safety purposes, Jones-Harrison Residence didn’t have the means to maintain the same food quality outside of the dining room. Jones-Harrison President and CEO Annette Greely talked to her industry friends and was told to look at Cambro’s meal delivery options. After switching to Cambro’s Meal Delivery Carts, Camduction® Complete Heat System, Trays and more, she is extremely happy with her decision.
“Food is like the one thing that allows them to have that control, still makes them feel like they’re at home; provides happiness and comfort. When that stuff doesn’t go well, you hear about it and we’re doing really well. We’re not getting any negative feedback,” said Greely.
In January, we made a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai and received the 10 Commandments of Food Storage. We brought them back to share with all of foodservice kind. These sacred rules are simple and finite. We believe every foodservice professional has good intentions, but sometimes convenience clouds their judgment. We create our food storage products with food safety, quality and sustainability in mind. Each commandment highlights a potential area of opportunity for a kitchen to address. When all of these commandments are followed, foodservice operations can achieve the highest standard of food storage. Can we get an amen?
Catering businesses are some of our most loyal customers. Time and time again we hear from catering businesses who have relied on our insulated transport products for decades. When weddings were postponed and birthday parties cancelled, catering businesses were hit hard. We talked to some of the caterers in our network to see what they were doing to stay working amongst the decline of large gatherings. We received a variety of ideas and examples that catering businesses could easily and quickly put into action. Utilizing equipment and resources they already had, many catering businesses were able to pivot in new directions to keep going despite the odds being stacked against them.
When this blog was posted in May, Texas was the first state to reopen restaurants after most of the country shutdown indoor dining. This was a time when restaurants were trying to find the best ways to encourage customers that it was safe to return to their establishments. We had seen suggestions of what to do, but no one had put anything into practice yet. Speaking to these two Texas restaurant owners, we heard how they were doing amongst the unprecedented challenges thrust upon them.
The first, a restauranteur with multiple businesses had a different approach for his upscale and casual dining concepts. His upscale restaurant was able to stay afloat thanks to his extremely loyal fanbase and an in-demand reconstructed menu. The second, a café and coffee shop owner, reported that his profits were already stabilizing.
Our most-read blog of 2020! In June, we wrote a blog called How to Use CamBars to Serve up Drinks Safely. A month later, we were thrilled to spot a business who was a shining example of exactly what we had outlined. Chef Mike Jurusz, owner of Chef Mike’s Atlantic Bar and Grill, had already been using one CamBar in his upstairs Tiki Bar. But when he realized he could turn a parking space into a second bar area, he knew he would need a second CamBar to support it.
His newly created Sunset Bar was transformed into a Jersey Shore paradise complete with hanging lights, beach décor and island music. Jurusz eliminated customer FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) by creating a place customers wanted to go rather than being a somewhere they were forced to sit. We’re already preparing more fantastic Cambro blogs for 2021. Do you have a testimonial to share, or an idea for a blog you’d like to see? Send your tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.