Covid-19 has taught us that is anything is possible when times get tough, says Bidfood chief executive Andrew Selley
There is no denying that the past few weeks have been some of the most difficult we have ever faced, witnessing unprecedented change within our industry and our own business.
No one could’ve predicted the colossal impact Covid-19 would have, particularly on the hospitality sector, with many businesses having to make the difficult decision to close their doors for the greater good, whilst sadly for some, they have had no choice but to go into administration. The outcome of this has meant leaving many talented people without jobs completely, whilst others working on rotation or having been furloughed.
Whilst times are certainly tough, it has been both inspiring and fascinating to watch the industry flex and adapt to the times. It’s proved that actually so much of what before may have seemed pretty much impossible, is absolutely within reach.
Almost overnight we transformed our business model to be able to support the growing demand for food, drink and non-food supplies not only to our customers, but to consumers too, through the launch of our click and collect and home delivery services.
This is something we’ve never done before, but it’s been inspiring to watch our teams adapt to the changes and work tirelessly to make it possible.
Talking about the impossible, who would’ve thought 2020 would also bring our most unexpected collaboration to date, working in partnership with Brakes, which has been smooth, positive and involved great teamwork. We have been incredibly proud and privileged to take on this key government contract in an amazing effort to deliver supplies to hundreds of thousands of extremely vulnerable people across England, Scotland and Wales who need to be shielded from the virus through self-isolation.
We’ve had such a positive response both on our click and collect and home delivery services, but also on our deliveries of shield packs, which has certainly kept our teams motivated and proud during a time of such uncertainty and worry. We wanted to show how much we care to those receiving the shield packs and so have recently begun including drawings from employee’s children into the boxes to spread some cheer, which has been met with the most heart-warming, and at times tear-jerking, responses.
These changes have been felt across every part of our business, from supply chain to buying, digital marketing to IT, sales to customer advice. Everyone has had to be agile, adaptable and aligned to support a common goal. We’ve proven to ourselves that some of what may have before seemed out of reach, potentially impossible or just not a viable option, has all become possible. This is all down to the support and hard work of our teams and our industry that we’ve been able to make this a reality.
So whilst this hasn’t been an ideal start to the ‘roaring 20’s’, and we’re very much looking forward to getting back to business as usual, I think it’s fair to say that 2020 so far has been full of unpredictability, but also packed full of collaboration, support and community.