Today, a customer popped in to grab a basket for a work gift. He had about 30 seconds to handwrite the card before dashing out the door. As his voice trailed off, he asked, “Can you do corporate holiday gifts?”. We immediately did a cheerleader pyramid in the form of “Yessirree, Bob!”. (We are talented cheerscapers.)
It occurred to me, while I was making the bottom of the B in Bob, that we don’t always do the best job of telling our own story. We have an About Us, but it is snappy and sassy and tells the story in less than 50 words. It doesn’t answer the question, “Why should I trust you with putting together 400 gift baskets for my best customers?” in a way that might make you feel like letting us put together 400 holiday gift baskets for your best customers. Now feels like a good time to explain just how we went from 0 to 60 as both a gift basket company and a retail packaged food company, and why you can trust us to send out your corporate gifts.
Twenty years ago, I started a catering company: City Catering. We got kind of big, kind of quickly. Our first 1,000 person event was in our 3rd month of business. Our first 2,000 person event was in that same month. We marched a steady path up from there. We catered for fancy people in fancy places, opened our own cafes, and generally felt like we had the world by the tail. We also made a lot of tasty food, met some great people, had some hilarious antics with trucks that didn’t fit into loading docks, ovens that didn’t work, fire marshals that did work, and more..so much more.
The year 2020 offered me, us and just about everyone an opportunity to re-imagine their life and their businesses in a new way. We were given a full stop. Our commissary and warehouse that was once teeming with cooks, packers, loaders and servers was empty (except for a ton of flour, yeast and beer). You know that self-help book question, “If you could do anything, what would you do?”? My old answer was, “Yeah, right”. My new answer was, “Hold my 100 pound sack of flour, I have an idea.”
Many years ago, I fell in love with a 300 year old London company called Fortnum & Mason. At heart, they are caterers with department stores devoted to food. The candy counter is like a jewelry display and the packaging is artful, delightful, and very British. I ordered a hamper as a thank you for a friend who hosted me while I was visiting, and I was inspired. I thought, "Someday, I want to do that". The somedays got a little further away as the catering and cafe business grew. But, then 2020 happened and someday came.
We had a chance to take all that we learned as caterers and dive into something new. We took our recipes, our know how, our incredible logistical experience and turned it into what our fancy copy writer called “Picnics by Post”.
It took us about 9 months and 20 years to put Bite Society together, so I think it will take more than one blog post to tell our story. We kicked our first blog post off with a list of what we did, and in the next few posts I will share a few stories of how we got here.
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