OnDeck is proud to continue sharing the work of the spread the word about Frontline Foods, a non-profit providing food from local restaurants to frontline workers and communities impacted by COVID-19. The program helps restaurants keep their kitchens open and workers employed to prepare meals, while showing frontline workers that they appreciate and support them. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to the restaurants participating.
They’re working with thousands of restaurants across the U.S., one of which is Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders, a St. Louis, MO-based restaurant and OnDeck customer. We recently spoke with owner Andrea Campbell on how Frontline Foods is helping them to continue to support healthcare workers in their community.
To learn more about Frontline Foods, and to donate, visit www.frontlinefoods.org.
Tell us about your background and the origin of your business.
“My husband really wanted to open a restaurant.” Andrea told us. “He worked at our location for about 6 months before we decided I would need to join the team as well, so I left my corporate job of about 25 years and came on full-time. We now have about 25 employees and operate the largest Bellacino’s in St. Louis.”
How did you get involved with Frontline Foods?
“Initially, we were working with a local St. Louis organization, Meals for Meds, which was started by a fellow local restaurant owner. Every Saturday night we would deliver meals to the ICU nurses at one of the local hospitals through the program. Our customers would donate to help us cover the cost of the meals. Through our generous customer donations, we were able to do this for about a month.
Then, Meals for Meds teamed up with Frontline Foods, so we became part of their program. With the help of Frontline Foods’ national presence and well-funded program, we’ve been able to provide meals to even more healthcare workers in St. Louis.”
How has Frontline Foods helped your business?
“Prior to joining Frontline Foods, we were doing everything we could to help our local frontline workers. We participated in Meals for Meds, and offered discounts on our catering to hospitals, grocery store employees, police and firefighters. However, Frontline Foods has helped us greatly expand what we’re able to do to support frontline workers.”
How are you thinking about the future of your business given COVID-19?
“As soon as the shutdown restrictions went into place, we know this was going to be ‘sink or swim’ for us.
We immediately expanded upon our delivery and curbside pickup capabilities. We now have 5 delivery drivers on staff and can deliver up to 8 miles away from our restaurant.
We also came up with all sorts of specials, such as an at-home pizza kit. We have a large customer mailing list, so we were able to get the word out about our pickup and delivery options, as well as weekly specials, via email very easily.
Initially our catering business took a hit, but as we’ve re-thought how we package for catering orders (individually wrapped meals instead of large trays) we’ve been able to get that back.”
What do you love about being a business owner?
“A lot of our customers comment on how often we’re at the restaurant, but it’s because it’s more than just a business to us.
Our employees are like family to us – we hire a lot of high school and college students, and think of them as our kids. We’ve watched some of them go from sophomores in high school to married and settled down. We’ve been to their graduations and weddings.”
Visit www.frontlinefoods.org. to donate to the program so more restaurants can provide meals to those in need
OnDeck is here to support small businesses – check out our COVID-19 Resource Hub for more helpful information for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.