Grab and Go Catering and Event Equipment Provides Urgent Support to Essential Businesses

Many of the companies we regularly work with are considered essential businesses and are navigating new challenges of operating while keeping their employees healthy and safe during this unprecedented time.  And as unbelievable as it sounds, Covid-19 is not the only devastating challenge that many companies are currently facing.  This spring has packed a punch with treacherous weather across many areas of the US.  So, it’s no surprise that several of our clients have been reaching out to us with unusual requests for assistance.

We are very proud to say that the Compass Rose Events Team has rallied and quickly put their experience and skills in troubleshooting, quick thinking, creativity and adaptability to work.  Here are just of few examples of our recent responses to our client’s current challenges:  

Regional Director, Hilary Lorrain, is working with a food production facility in the south utilizing our event tents, tables and chairs to create additional cafeteria and breakroom space in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.   The temporary space is expected to be in place through June.  Our team faced a quick timeline from client contact to equipment set up in order to prepare and clean the equipment, implement a plan for our team to set up the equipment safely, and create a plan for ongoing maintenance of the equipment.

President and Sales Department Lead, Brian Long, swiftly responded to a frantic call from a power and communications provider.  After devastating tornadoes left behind a significant amount of damage in a large, southern city, lineman and service technicians were called in to the area with the daunting task of restoring utility services.  With most area restaurants closed for business, the utility company was faced with an urgent need to feed hundreds of workers a hearty 3 square meals a day.   Within 24 hours, Compass Rose was able to create multiple menus, secure the food product and create a safe grab and go service plan.  Food service to the lineman began just days after the initial call for help from the client came in. 

Project Manager, Adria Brown King received a call from a manufacturing client in the southeast whose facility was severely damaged by a long-track tornado.  Having heard about our success with meal service for the utility lineman, the client requested Compass Rose provide food service as their makeshift cafeteria for the next month or more while their facility, including their cafeteria, undergoes significant repair work.  In a few days’ time, Compass Rose implemented a plan and our team is currently serving hundreds of meals each day to the 3 shifts working to repair their damaged facility and manufacture their product. 

We asked Hilary, Brian and Adria about these unusual and urgent requests and how they lead the Compass Rose Team to successful implementations. 

How much time did you have from your initial call with the client until Compass Rose teams were onsite, setting up equipment?

Hilary: From call to action was very quick.  We discussed the clients needs on Monday, delivered a contract by Tuesday and began setup on Wednesday!

Brian: I got the call on a Wednesday evening to discuss their need. By 9:00 pm that evening I had a email out to our operations team providing an overview of the need and a to do list for the next morning. Fast forward to Thursday at 4:00 pm, the client had a detailed proposal and overview of the menu in hand. After a few tweaks and an attendance adjustment, by noon on Friday there was a deposit, contract and the food order at been secured. Our equipment trucks were loaded and final details coordinated over the weekend before the team left for set up on Monday morning. On Tuesday, we served our first 1500 guests.

Adria: I received an email on Monday morning and we were on the phone a few minutes later. We discussed meal service for three shifts to start the following week and run for 30 days.  By 4pm that day we had initial pricing over with a formal proposal following on Tuesday.  We were contracted on Thursday and started delivery the following Tuesday.  Attendance has been steadily increasing since the time of contract and we’re about to go into week two with just under 500 meals per day.

What was the biggest challenge to overcome when determining if CRE could meet the client’s need?

Hilary: The client’s need was based on being able to provide a socially distant dining area.  Since they were in full production, their cafeteria was being maxed out.  They needed a solution quickly.  Our biggest challenge was being able to act fast to fill this unique need for them.  We were able to step right up.

Brian: Once we understood that we could obtain the food order for 9000 meals the biggest challenge was finding and securing masks for our team and staff. Thanks to some of our employees we had some nice handmade one’s created over the weekend and our very resourceful team secured some additional disposable ones through some personal relationships. 

Adria: Thankfully, my event was coming right after Brian’s event, so we were well-prepared.  We were faced with having to find long-term housing for our event managers who will be at the client’s site for 30 days.  Because of the tornadoes, accommodations were very limited, but fortunately, we are able to secure an Airbnb property in the area.

What are some of the safety measures you had to implement in order to be able to provide the services in this time of Covid-19?

Hilary: When setting up, our crew wore masks and gloves and given their specific task, they were able to keep a safe distance from each other.  We arranged the seating creatively to allow employees a comfortable, functional and safe place to have their meals.  We also supplied our client with extra supplies like table covers to be able to swap out after shifts. 

Brian: It was simple actually; our team had already been discussing ways to operate in this new environment we are in. On top of all the normal safe food handling requirements we already meet, we added face masks, social distancing measures during setup and run along with a contactless service. In this case, our team only interacted with a handful of the same people each day to deliver the food. This kept the Chefs isolated from outside contact and in a controlled environment.

Adria: Our event followed the same model as Brian’s event. It worked well in both cases.

What about Compass Rose made us a good choice for the client?

Hilary: We have put on a variety of other events for this particular client and we were honored Compass Rose was their first call when facing this “out of the box” need.   They know we can be trusted in the good and the bad times!

Brian: Nothing we did for this client is new for us. Our chef’s prepared food, we boxed it and delivered it. While what we did was new for our client, we have provided this type of service for hospital clients throughout the US for years. It is simply about understanding the attendance and matching the level of support to meet that need. 

Adria: The structure of this event fit in very well with our standard of events.  We have delivered family day events for this client before, so they were well-versed in our reliability (which was very important to them) and the way we set-up and deliver.  We often provide multi-shift events (with an overnight meal in the rotation), so this is something our event managers can easily adapt to.  It was easy to add in the social distancing piece and extra health and safety precautions.  

While we anxiously await the greenlight to gather and celebrate together again, the Compass Rose Team is still hard at work planning and preparing for events this fall.   In the meantime, if your facility has a current need that our grab and go catering services, event equipment or expertise can support, please give us a call  We would be happy to get creative with you!