TAMPA, Fla. — A local catering business is among the countless food vendors changing how they operate as a result of the coronavirus.
Ryan Conigliaro and his business partner operate SaltBlock Catering in Tampa.
With a business model that focuses on group gatherings, they've been forced to make changes after several groups canceled their events. State and federal officials are asking Americans to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The catering company planned on rolling out a delivery service option later this year, but COVID-19 changed their plan of action.
"Everyone in hospitality, we are making whatever shifts we can right now to be as safe as possible for the community," Conigliaro said.
Within a week, Conigliaro and his partner created a new business plan that involved a website for their delivery service. They launched it Monday night.
"We have meal delivery services that are touchless. We'll keep it right outside. We'll text you when we're there. You can come out and grab it for families of two to three or four to six. Full meal plans for the week," Conigliaro said.
Conigliaro and his partner are also trying to ease the stress of picking up daily necessities too.
"You can also order on there other groceries. You can also get milk on there. You can get eggs. You can get toilet paper, of course. We made sure we had that on the grocery list. But you can get some of those household goods that you would go to the store otherwise for. You can get it on your delivered meal service for the week," Conigliaro said.
A day after the delivery option launched, Conigliaro said he already saw the way the Tampa Bay gives back.
"Our second order that was put in online was not for an individual family. It was someone reaching out to us and said, 'hey, I'm buying this meal. I want to buy it for someone who is in need right now. Not for my family, we have enough product in house right now'" Conigliaro said.
All tips received from the deliveries will go directly to SaltBlock hourly employees to help as they adjust to the constant changes coronavirus brings.
Conigliano and his partner are working with area venues to put profits back in their companies to continue the push to keep business local.
"We are partnering with other local businesses: Gulf Coast Sourdoughs, Spaddy's Coffee. We are going to the Boozy Pig for a lot of our proteins that we're getting. We're not only looking to support ourselves. A lot of the items that we're actually servicing a la carte and that are embedded in our packages are other local brands here that we're looking to support," Conigliaro said.
For more information on SaltBlock and deliveries click here.