In this ongoing series we will share stories of customers and what they did to adapt to major changes in 2020.
In March 2020, it had been a little over a year since Staci and her team at Enjoy Pure Food + Drink had expanded their footprint at Mission Farms in Leawood by 3x from their original size. They now had 4,200 square feet of space and sales were steadily climbing. Then on March 17th, she and many other restaurant owners got the unthinkable news: they would need to be closed to all dine-in business, which meant the only revenue for the following nine weeks would be from take-out sales. But Staci saw this as just another challenge along the road she had embarked on back in 2016 to create the healthiest restaurant in Kansas City.
As is the case with many business startups, Staci wanted to fulfill a need that she also had when starting Enjoy. In her previous start-up she was visiting 30+ cities a year and simply couldn’t find healthy food in many of those cities to keep up with demands of running a company and travelling all the time. So the vision was born: a reliable, healthy national brand that could be trusted across the country to deliver convenient, highly nutritious food for our on-the-go culture. While she had a clear vision, she had no food and beverage background, so she turned to some pros: Chef Michael Smith, who would help build a menu of healthy AND delicious food; Tess Masters, “The Blender Girl” who would help create truly nutritious smoothies; her partner, Karen Kipp, who designed the very-popular cold-pressed juices; and Mark Walker, who had been part of the operational team at Gilbert-Robinson. She put together a private placement memorandum and raised $600,000 to open the restaurant in April 2016.
It was around that same time that Staci’s path crossed with ours. Her son was doing an internship with us in the summer of 2015, and she came in to visit and see how he was enjoying the work. Over time, he encouraged her to move her accounts over. She was with a national chain bank at the time: “You know, they don’t know who you are, and in some ways, they don’t care.” She knows that’s the opposite with us. She loves the ability to sit down and chat in such a nice environment when she comes into the bank instead of being herded to and fro at stand up counters.
When asked about 2021, Staci says she’s looking forward to being proactive with her business for growth rather than constantly reacting to a crisis, as she did throughout 2020. During the Spring 2020 lockdown, she used the federal PPP funding to make sure that her entire team was taken care of (the loan has since been forgiven). Staci has always intended to build Enjoy into a national brand through franchising, and 2020 served as a true trial by fire for the concept . The way that they were able to adjust quickly to customer needs with the fast-casual concept while providing the healthy food customers were seeking during a pandemic illustrated strong staying power for the brand.
For other stories in the Coping with Covid series, click here.
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