A lot of people have been worried about the effects of COVID-19 on the small business community, and especially on the food and beverage industry. Cody Castiglia, chef and owner of Della Terra — a full service, farm-to-table catering service in Snohomish that has long been committed to using the freshest ingredients from local harvests — spoke to how his business personally, and others like his, are being impacted.
“The hospitality industry, in particular, has taken a big hit from the pandemic,” Castiglia said. “Profit margins in the food and beverage industry are (at best) 10 percent, and typically closer to 3 to 5 percent.”
Despite the resilience of those working in the restaurant industry, Castiglia said that “there is a strong chance that the doors may be shuttering on many of our region’s restaurants, bakeries, and other food businesses due to this virus.”
And even so, many food businesses are focusing on supporting their communities right now.
Della Terra, for example, has committed to providing meals to at least one family a week through the course of the shutdown, because some people who have been laid off “may be limited (or have) no food at all,” Castiglia said. The business also has started a fund so that it can extend this service to more community members, wherein people can donate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like other small businesses, Della Terra hopes that people will continue to support it in ways that they are able, while it in turn tries to support the community.
“What would be a good excuse for you to have a part in the next year?” Castiglia asked. “Book your wedding or event with us to ensure we have your date available and lock in our current prices.” Or you can reserve a ticket to a future winemaker’s dinner, where Della Terra pairs a local, seasonal chef’s tasting menu with a regional wine.
Social media also is a great and free way to boost small businesses right now. Follow, like, and share businesses’ content on social media. Said Castiglia, “Supporting small businesses doesn’t require spending money. It’s as simple as sharing, liking, and promoting us!”
Della Terra has gift cards available and recently launched a “Della Terra To-Go” program, where people can order fully cooked and healthy meals prepared by local chefs — all from a safe distance.
“We are hopeful for a return to normalcy soon,” Castiglia said. “Thank you for supporting small businesses in any way you can in the meantime.”