COVID-19 recovery Q&A with Kitchen to Table
COVID-19 Recovery Corner - a Q&A with previous Clarence Valley Business Excellence Award winners on business resilience, recovery, and transformation since COVID-19.
While social gathering rules have forced the awards to be put on hold for 2020, the awards committee has shifted its focus to support local businesses by inspiring resilience, guidance and support on business recovery over this challenging period.
This week CVBEA marketing manager Renee Murphy caught up with Meredith and Scott Morschel, owners of Kitchen to Table based in beautiful Yamba, to discuss the impacts of COVID-19, thanks to sponsors Clarence Valley Council.
KITCHEN TO TABLE
Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards:
• Best (small) Retail Business 2013
• Best New business 2008
Renee Murphy: Firstly, what was it like winning these awards with the CVBEA?
Meredith and Scott Morschel: It was great to receive acknowledgment for the work we do in our business. It is also an important acknowledgement for our team and the contribution they make to the success of the business each and every day. It was great to receive complimentary feedback from the judges who are people who have had success in the business world.
RM: Prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis did you have any business continuity (disaster management) plans in place to cover a major incident of any kind like this?
MM/SM: To be honest, no. However we have always maintained low/nil debt levels and managed our inventory levels well. We also understand the importance of having a firm grasp on the financials of the business and so we were able to adjust our operations to weather the storm accordingly.
RM: Now that we have all seen and felt the effects of COVID-19, how might you prepare moving forward should we ever see the pandemic return at any point in the future?
MM/SM: We have updated our website to include an online shop to give our customers alternate options to purchase with us. We are also posting consistently on social media to give updates on Kitchen to Table and giving back to our clients via our newsletters on tips and tricks in the kitchen. We finally are making a concerted effort to build a cash reserve to help safeguard us against any future events.
RM: Sounds like a good plan. And how did you manage to keep your clients interested and engaged during the closures?
MM/SM: We were able to continue trading with reduced hours during the early stages of the pandemic. We started making cooking and product videos which we shared on social media and in our newsletter. These proved to be an effective way to stay connected and engaged with our customers and social media followers. We sent an email newsletter every fortnight to keep our customers informed of our opening hours and what was happening, along with recipe ideas for them to try whilst in home isolation. We are aware the importance of a solid email database as this can be a key asset of any business … we have been building and maintaining our list over several years.
RM: That sounds like a wonderful newsletter to receive, especially the weekly recipe ideas! On that point, you do something quite special at Kitchen to Table, a sort of money cannot buy experience even. Could you please talk us through what this is?
MM/SM: Since we opened, we have always offered cooking classes in our kitchen in the store. The overseas food tours to Morocco and Italy are an extension of this concept and enable us to connect deeply and genuinely with our guests through food and travel. Our small group tours of 8-12 guests are designed to provide a 'taste' of the destination we visit through its history, food and culture.
RM: What a wonderful way to engage with your clients. And so, from here what is the way forward to ensure success for your distinctively bespoke, popular business based in Yamba?
MM/SM: We will continue to improve on what we have been doing for the past 13 years, to look for new opportunities yet continue to nurture our core business which is to provide an exciting and inspiring retail experience to our customers. Our team is integral to the success and function of the business, so it is important to ensure they are well supported and nurtured too.
RM: Was there anything further that you would like to add?
MM/SM: We are fortunate to have a business that makes people feel happy and inspired when they interact with us. That is extremely rewarding. We would like to thank our wonderful customers, both locals and visitors, who have supported our business over the past 13 years. We also take this opportunity to thank our team, present and past, who have helped us build the business to where it is today.
RM: Well thank you so much for your time Meredith and Scott, it has been wonderful catching up with you to learn more about your beautifully appointed business and how you dealt with COVID-19.
MM/SM: Thank you for the opportunity to share our story and we wish everyone the very best for the future and hope to see you instore or online soon!
For more information on Kitchen to Table, please visit their website kitchentotable.com.au and sign up to their newsletter to receive a free eBook with 12 recipes from their cooking school.