Below is a list of questions that we have been asked about how we are handing COVID-19 as a company.
How are you handling your associates and your facilities in light of COVID-19?
Our company’s 170-year history has seen its way through two World Wars and many significant disease outbreaks, and the current situation doesn’t present any unfamiliar challenges.
First and foremost, we work hard to create an environment for our employees that ensures their health and wellbeing above all. We believe that, in order to take care of our clients, we have to take care of ourselves. In recent weeks, we have begun working to ensure that our associates are aware of proper hygiene standards that keep them, and their families, as safe as they possibly can be. We are also providing materials — sanitizers, wipes, etc. — wherever needed to make adhering to those standards as easy as possible.
We are also making efforts to ensure that our operations team is putting refreshed focus into cross-training, so that in the event of a significant loss, we have the skills in place to get your product to you.
We have also put governance processes in place to review travel and meetings, ensuring that we review risks before agreeing to travel and permitting only travel that has reasonably low risk with a meaningful return. We have a well-tested ability for office personnel to work from home as needed (which are validated each year during times of significant snowfall).
Our food storage facilities are also protected with redundant power and full on-site power generation capabilities that are working well because they are tested each week of the year.
Of course, we also have direct access to one of the largest and most powerful foodservice re-distribution networks in the nation, ensuring that our access to safe and high-quality foods is unparalleled.
Beyond that, we enjoy a friendly peering relationship with other regional independent foodservice distributors throughout the northeast, and we have collectively agreed to support one another through these uncertain times to ensure the continuity of supply to each one of our clients.
What about the food supply?
Some of our clients have asked about the safety of our food supply in general. Our Corporate Quality Assurance Manager, Mike Ricci, issued the following guidance to our associates recently:
The corona virus epidemic has resulted in significant slowdowns and stoppages in the transportation network distributing food products in and out of China and is beginning to affect Japan and South Korea.
Some slowdown was expected in China because of the Lunar New Year holidays (Feb 11-17, 2020). Palmer Foods had already made our purchases from China before the Chinese New Year, so there should be no impact to our supply chain in the near term.
Since supply chains were adjusted to accommodate for the planned disruption of the Chinese New Year, the full effect of the epidemic may not have been felt yet, especially if the epidemic is drawn out over an extended period. If that does occur, Palmer Foods has alternative sources for supply in regions unaffected by the corona virus. Although alternative sourcing may impact pricing in the long-term future, it should not disrupt the supply chain.
We have on file letters from each of our suppliers in the affected regions which detail how they are handling the corona virus containment and minimizing the risk to food safety. Additionally, preliminary research has indicated that this virus cannot live outside a living host for an extended period. Shipping times from mainland China to the U.S. is approximately 45 days, with product in a constant frozen state.
Can you help me?
Our team of sales support consultants are ready, today, to help you:
- Provide refreshed training to your wait staff, to ensure that the way they handle dishes and interact with others helps you demonstrate to your clients that you care about their health
- Take advantage of consulting services to help your team be ready to offer online ordering and delivery services that will be highly desirable should people choose to avoid visiting your restaurants
- Receive buying guidance for center of the plate items, sanitation items, and other items that will be in constant price flux in the months ahead
- Understand what you need to do to staff appropriately to respond to an unpredictable landscape
We care about you, because without you, we wouldn’t have a business. Each of our sales representatives is ready to bring our support resources to the table for you in the days and weeks ahead. Just ask, and you shall receive.
We all pray that this this virus can be contained and that any disruptions will be short lived. Be rest assured that Palmer Food Services is your partner and will continue to provide the quality products and excellent service you have come to expect.