Companies Get Creative With Product Lines During COVID-19 Crisis

Apr 14, 2020 11:00 AM ET

As the entire globe continues to grapple with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, many are attempting to determine how to keep moving in a time of immense uncertainty. And while “business as usual” remains a thing of the past (at least for now), some businesses are seeking to reimagine their product and service offerings. Here’s a roundup of companies transforming to meet the changing demands during a global crisis:

  • As restaurants continue to struggle with dining room closures, Panera is re-thinking its model to provide needed services to consumers right now. Panera has launched Panera Grocery – offering contactless pickup or delivery of grocery items at a time when individuals are attempting to shop less to reduce exposure to coronavirus. Consumers can order produce, dairy as well as bread and bagels through Panera’s website, app or GruhbHub.
  • In a similar vein, California Pizza Kitchen has launched CPK Market, which offers basics like milk, rice flour, meat and dry pasta as well as CPK Meal Kits, like build-your-own-pizzas. California Pizza Kitchen’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Ashley Ceraolo explains, “Given the entire country is dining differently and family mealtime is more important than ever, establishing a concept where guests could confidently purchase affordable produce, meat, and other essential pantry items was the best way we felt we could attend to immediate needs while still doing what we do best.”
  • Food distributor, Sysco, is helping smaller businesses transform their offerings as well. Sysco has launched Sysco Pop Up Shop, which is a collection of resources for restaurants to turn dining areas into pop up shops where customers can shop for essential pantry items. The resources include tips on getting started, checklists, best practices and guidance on social distancing.  And for fans of Waffle House, the breakfast favorite began selling batches of its waffle mix with many of its restaurants closed to consumers. The item was so popular it sold out in four hours.

While the future and a “new normal” remain uncertain, it is heartening to see peeks of innovation from businesses across the globe. Here we see how companies are quickly changing their offerings to keep the lights on, employees active and consumers supplied with essential goods and services.