Survival Kits From Restaurants Help Keep the Supply Chain Moving

An example of a survival kit
An example of a survival kit
Whiskey Cake

Think about this: If a bakery in Dallas only supplies bread directly to restaurants, what option do they have when those restaurants close or drastically downsize to delivery only?

Take Esmeralda's Bakery in Northwest Dallas; they don’t have the infrastructure to do curbside or takeout service.

While restaurants are forced to get creative in their attempt to survive this interruption of normal, many suppliers don't have an option. So, some restaurants are turning to “survival kits,” which usually contain uncooked items, things straight from the walk-in and ingredients that can be used for several meals, such as a pound of beef, butter or a whole chicken.

Plus toilet paper.

Sunday afternoon, Whiskey Cake posted a picture of their survival kits: a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, a pound of butter, some vegetables, a whole chicken, tri-tip steak and ground wagyu beef, plus a roll of toilet paper all for $48.

After breaking down the cost, it was a good deal, plus grocery stores are anxiety inducing, so this helped to avoid another trip.

Driving to their Las Colinas location, there were miles and miles of shuttered restaurants. I couldn’t help but wonder what was in all the walk-ins. Would it all go bad? I thought about the line of suppliers this was affecting. Delivery drivers. Factory workers. Growers, producers, bartenders, barbacks.

These survival kits some restaurants are pushing now help keep the supply line going, albeit on a smaller scale. 

Lost Ruby Ranch Goat, Brazos Valley Cheese, Homestead Mills Gristmill and A Bar N Ranch are just some of the suppliers who sell to Whiskey Cake. 

“In times like these, it takes ingenuity and hard work to succeed,” says Katie Allen Bolner at A Bar N Ranch, who supplies wagyu beef. “[Whiskey Cake] has intentionally developed strong relationships with their local purveyors over the years, and it’s so inspiring to see everyone come together in such an uncertain time."

And Esmeralda’s Bakery, which years ago transitioned to work directly with restaurants, needed a lifeline too. Chef Aaron Staudenmaier spoke to them over the weekend, and Whiskey Cake has started adding their bread to their kits.

Further, if you add a tip to your survival kit at Whiskey Cake, it goes to furloughed employees.

“It’s about showing up and being functional right now,” Staudenmaier says. “We’re not going to get rich doing this, but we’re trying to get through this together.” 

Restaurants are also allowed to sell liquor, and Whiskey Cake has local beer to buy. And, after speaking to brewers last week, buying from the retail spots that support them is important, too.

No matter how, it's important to buy local, eat local, say local, breathe local. Do as much local as you can right now.

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