GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As restaurants in West Michigan work to welcome diners back inside in less than a week, the companies that provide the food, drinks and other services to them are busy too.
“Just as soon as you feel you’ve got a grasp on where we are and what we’re doing, things change again,” said Geoff Bonham.
Bonham is a customer marketing manager for Gordon Food Service in Wyoming.
The company is tasked with sourcing products such as food and drink for thousands of restaurants in West Michigan, but also advising them on how to operate. For example, Gordon Food Service may help a restaurant plan a menu that works well for carry out only.
“We’re trying to ramp up from that situation that we were in,” said Geoff.
Bonham says since Governor Whitmer announced that restaurants could reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 1, Gordon Food Service has seen a spike in its orders.
Bonham estimates about half of their customers plan to offer service inside. He says figuring out how to comply with the state’s COVID-19 safety standards is another top priority.
“It’s a mix series of things that we’re doing to try and match the customer’s need to get them back up,” said Bonham.
Bonham describes the coronavirus pandemic as the “single most disruptive thing” to happen to his industry but says due to restaurants being able to operate more freely in other states, the supply chain has recovered well. He believes West Michigan restaurants should be able to get what they need, adding they need any support they can get.
“My hope is that this reinvigorates diners to restaurants,” said Bonham. “My hope is this gives them one more reason to re-engage.”