Adapted practices in response to covid-19

10 Dec 2020


The coronavirus outbreak catapulted businesses and consumers worldwide into a new reality. Food retailers, fast-food chains, bakeries…everyone is facing their own challenges in the current situation. It has triggered many businesses to adopt new practices in the way they operate, communicate and collaborate, while also adapting their product range. This article collects a number of interesting examples that illustrate how food companies are adapting their business, offering and communication to highlight their resilience and mindset. 

Staying safe

The most important priority for everyone these days is to stay safe and healthy. Aside from intensified health measures and social distancing procedures, (fast-)food and retail companies have taken additional steps to protect and reassure employees and customers:

  • Burger King Brazil decided to add gamification to their app. They introduced the Lockdown Whopper: a tool which rewards users for staying home. The longer someone stays at home, the bigger their reward will be. Rewards start with snacks and get more valuable, including free Whopper sandwiches and combination meals.

  • Ahold Delhaize introduced an ‘oldies hour’ in their Belgian and Dutch supermarkets. During these early opening hours, elderly customers – at increased risk of complications from the coronavirus – are able to shop calmly while shelves are relatively well-stocked.

  • To encourage social distancing among the local community, Burger King Belgium has changed their iconic tagline ‘Home of the Whopper’ to ‘Stay Home’.

Meeting the needs

Food companies are facing extreme changes in customer buying behaviours. From securely managing in-store and online demand to safeguarding supply chains and intensifying recruitment. Here are some interesting examples of how food retailers and fast-food chains are keeping business going and fulfilling food demands:

  • Domino’s is always quick with innovations in their delivery service. In 2016 they started delivering pizzas using drones. The company was also quick to start with car park delivery, promising zero-contact delivery without extra charge. They are now doing a pilot in the Netherlands for pizza delivery by autonomous robots. These robots can independently deliver products in 15 to 30 minutes within a radius of approximately 1.5 kilometres. 

  • Healthy eating was already on the rise, but coronavirus has given the trend an extra dimension. Healthier and more natural products are becoming more popular, and so are foods and drinks that strengthen your immune system, like these Raybu immunity boosters.

  • In India, e-commerce firms and start-ups like Uber have united to deliver essential goods across the country. Their next step is requesting help from the Indian Railways freight network.

  • Aldi and McDonald’s started a remarkable collaboration in Germany, where Aldi employed staff from the fast-food chain during the country’s first lockdown. 

  • US-based Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants sold bread, milk, and toilet paper – next to their usual fast-food menu – at their drive-thrus, carryout counters and also via home delivery.

  • To keep their customers engaged during lockdown, Burger King revealed their secret recipes, allowing consumers to  make their signature burgers at home.

Bakeries have also been hit hard by the virus outbreak. These 5 bakery concepts modified their business model to get their baked goods out to their customers, or created new treats to meet their customers’ needs.

Mutual aid, citizenship and connection

Changing values to prioritise cooperation and social caring is a positive coronavirus side effect. For companies worldwide, this is probably the most natural moment to showcase mutual aid and citizenship. 

  • At Rubia Patisserie in the Netherlands, customers get the option to add a 'pastry for healthcare' to their order. For 5 euro, customers can buy this treat and at the end of the month, Rubia Patisserie delivers all the donated pastries to the nearby hospital to surprise healthcare staff. 

  • Morrisons has distributed £10m worth of food to restock the UK’s food banks during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • At Belgian supermarket chain Carrefour, care workers and the elderly are given priority to the queues in front of the shop caused by social distancing regulations. 

  • David Gibs, CEO of YUM! brands (KFCPizza Hut and Taco Bell), donated his salary to general manager bonuses and the employee relief fund.

  • Online grocery Picnic gives top priority to doctors and nurses in its recently-added Sunday delivery service.

To promote healthy activities in Belgium, Delhaize and Decathlon collaborated earlier this year to offer consumers the sports brand’s most in-demand products in some of the retailer's stores.

Connection through positive communication

Connection through positive communication
With many countries in lockdown and most people working from home, people can feel lonely. By communicating in a positive way, companies can bring connection and a bit of fun into people’s lives. 

  • Tesco launched a series of Food Love Stories ads, in which people cook dishes that they dedicate to the people they love. Foodies are encouraged to share their meals on social media using #FoodLoveStories. With this campaign, Tesco brings connection and inspiration for home cooking.

  • As social distancing keeps people away from cacao and chocolate experiences, The Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute, Uncommon Cacao and the Craft Chocolate Experience organised the #StayHomeWithChocolate Festival. This digital festival brought Instagram Live tours of cacao farms, guided chocolate tastings, demos on cooking with chocolate, and much more to encourage consumers all over the world to purchase chocolate from small, local chocolate businesses.

Where many breweries and distilleries shifted production to hand gels and sanitisers early in the pandemic, the Karsten brewery did something else. They temporarily adapted their logo to resemble two lungs, accompanied by the text “Good beer is like air: you can’t live without it". They encourage consumers to follow three steps to survive with Karsten: “Isolate, use sanitiser, and drink beer for fun.”

Aware of other initiatives? Please share your input at, we would be happy to include them.   

Do you want more inspiration? Check out how these 5 bakery concepts are managing to grow their business during the coronavirus pandemic.