SAN ANTONIO — A company in Schertz is taking a potential threat to their industry and turning it into an opportunity to serve the community.
Food Related has been supplying restaurants in the San Antonio and Austin areas for the past 10 years.
“We have maintained a very close relationship with each one of them,” said Luciano Ciorciari, Food Related's founder and CEO. “Our customers, to us, have always been family.”
It was that family that he noticed as being left at risk when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic left him seeing empty loading docks at their warehouse at 17401 Triton.
“We realized immediately that the impact was not only going to be to us, but, more than anything, to them,” Ciorciari said.
Realizing that, Ciorciari knew they had a choice to make.
“What am I going to do with this inventory? Is it just going to sit here and go bad? No, there’s something that we can do with it."
As part of their Love Drop Off campaign, Food Related started putting together food kits to bring to hospitality employees that had been laid off during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We donated all the product and we built food kits that would last between one to two weeks, depending on family size," Ciorciari said.
At the same time, Food Related decided to shift their business model to keep their own employees off the unemployment line.
“We have had to quickly adapt to the community’s needs and to our customer’s needs with safety and sanitation as a top priority,” he said.
Over five days, Food Related changed their website to allow for internet orders of consumer goods for curbside pickup or delivery. Customers could go to www.foodrelated.com and order groceries like milk, eggs, flour and produce.
Ciorciari said the more people order groceries from Food Related, the more they can keep up their drop-off deliveries to those in need.
“We started delivering to most of the zip codes surrounding our warehouse in San Antonio – that and a little farther north as free home delivery – and a curbside pickup,” Ciorciari said. “And why? Because today it is not the time to look at ourselves as a business to make money. Today is the time to look at ourselves as an organization to help those around us to help the community.”