Is Christmas Cancelled This Year?
With Tier 4 rules in London and Kent, we’ve had to adapt our plans. Fortunately, 2020 has taught us the need to be flexible! Here’s an update on Smith’s Christmas catering this year.
Christmas catering in 2020
Government U-turns, time-delayed data and daily changing consensus have made this year a challenge for Smith’s. Uncertainty is a problem in catering. In fact, it’s a problem throughout the supply chain — from farmers to manufacturers and distributors, trickling down to our kitchens, venues and staff. Market analysts at Marks & Spencer forecast the rise of the Mini-mas early on. And Passover, Ramadan and Eid in April and May were far less communal than usual.
Our policy has been to come up with the best solutions for the given restrictions while prioritising adaptability. In other words: hope for the best, prepare for the worst. With London and Kent now set to be in Tier 4 restrictions for the duration of Christmas, we’re really glad we did.
A fully booked Smith’s Christmas 2020
Smith’s Christmas Dinner-in-a-box Delivery
Freshly made with all the trimmings and ready to pop in the oven, our brand new Christmas party boxes were intended to cover a range of eventualities. These included: “normal” large corporate events; pod-parties between six-person “bubbles”; and the cancellation of parties in person. In the latter case, we envisioned their use for “Come Dine Without Me” virtual get-togethers on Zoom, with individual party boxes making ideal gifts from employers to staff.
Under Tier 3 restrictions, this is the eventuality we have.
But we’re also taking orders from families in Kent for door-to-door dinner delivery. Each box will contain a luxurious two-course dinner with side vegetables and a Christmas surprise from our kitchen. We’re also offering Smith’s Christmas pudding and a range of our Christmas canapes as optional, extra special add-ons.
Christmas Corporate Events
Every year we cater for hundreds of Christmas events in London. These range from in-house Christmas dinners to Christmas corporate parties including both canapes and a three-course meal. In accordance with the new restrictions, this year will be the exception. However, those looking for the ideal Christmas catering for an end-of-year party can order our luxury deliveries for their staff to receive individually and enjoy communally online.
We’ve already had a promising response. In fact, many companies are looking for something unusual and we’ve been working to meet the demand.
Christmas Dinner Thames Cruise
Unfortunately, despite a great run so far this month, we’ve had to cancel Christmas carvery cruises. New restrictions limit gatherings of this size to funerals. The same applies to our planned Christmas party cruises, also cancelled.
This has been a setback for us, obviously. But we’re just one company among many, and these new restrictions are having a disconcerting impact on the hospitality industry in general. We sympathise in particular with our partners for the cruises, the London Party Boats, as well as other venues in the city.
Smith’s during COVID-19
In the absence of decisive leadership, we’ve had to think on our feet. As responsible caterers, we’ve had to plan for all the most likely scenarios — with an emphasis on keeping you safe.
In London, with so many people working from home and adjusted to social distance, large corporate parties and events came to a standstill a while ago. To be honest, our schedule was eerily quiet. Bookings were understandably scarce and at times entirely non-existent. Our event partners have also suffered losses, which have had a domino effect on the wider supply chain.
This couldn’t have come at a worst time for us. Having recently expanded to Kent with the opening of our second kitchen, we suddenly found ourselves wondering whether we’d done the right thing. Our carefully worked out business plans were now an uncertain investment. Unfortunately, our target market, the wedding industry, has been among those most affected — fulfilling just 10% of the usual annual bookings.
But in spite of our losses, in spite of our concerns, the demand for catering remained. Actually, it has picked up dramatically in response to our solutions. For the most part, we’ve focused on our catering deliveries and developing new menus to suit. We’ve also been working closely with our clients and suppliers to guarantee our prices and standards. We’ve been especially attentive to what our clients have wanted and needed this year. Over the summer, we added individual buffet-style party boxes to our delivery service alongside office box lunches.
And for a different type of Christmas, as listed above we’ve developed our new festive party box