Meat+Poultry - August 2020 - 74

S M A L L B U S I N E S S M AT T E R S

out workstations, made mandatory use of face
masks, gloves and aprons and totally sanitized
work areas twice a day.
The meals are delivered in 3-lb aluminum
pans and are designed to serve four people.
They are shipped out 1,000 meals to a pallet.
On some days, the company was able to
prepare between 10,000 and 15,000 meals.
The contract ran for five weeks, during which
time Hess Meats was able to make over
119,000 meals.
"When they provided me with two semitrailers for frozen storage, I thought I'd better
have a back-up plan if something in the
logistics didn't go right. I brought in a third
truck and I'm glad I did."

WHAT'S NEXT?

Lloyd Hess developed a
new strategy to keep his
family business running
during the pandemic.

74

Before signing the new food bank contract,
there were food safety, storage and logistic
problems that had to be considered.
"We had a HACCP program for our vacuumpackaging program, but now had to write
others for every step in our meal preparation,
packaging and storage," Lloyd said. "There was
a reward if we were able to do it right and the
contract provided the proteins, vegetables,
aluminum trays, boxes and pallets. It also
provided a forklift and two semi-trailers that
we could use for frozen storage.
"But it was the logistics in the supply chain
that gave us pause. We would get 50,000 lbs
of chicken frozen and there was a time factor
in getting it thawed that we had to realize.
Deliveries that were promised at 8 a.m. would
arrive at 4 p.m. Some turkey came in from
the Carolinas and some from Pennsylvania
and both needed separate labels on the meal
containers because one contained ascorbate."
Hess Meats had to obtain a printer and
develop their own labels for each meal.
The non-profit contractor had specialists in
California, Missouri and Florida who would
guide their new sub-contractor, but it remained
up to the Hess family to get it done.
There were hitches in the supply chain for
obtaining pork, but chicken thighs, wings and
smoked turkey breasts were provided. Beef
supplies were promised but were late in coming.
To accommodate virus concerns, Hess
Meats installed plastic shields between spaced

MEAT+ POULTRY | 08.20 | www.meatpoultry.com

As for catering for 2020 graduations, those
just didn't happen. The company also lost its
normal catering for 72 home games at the local
Lancaster Barnstormers baseball games.
"In two weeks, we get into wedding season
and I feel that those who booked with us will
stick with us. A lot depends on what health
officials will allow and recommend. Many of
our corporate accounts we have catered for
many years will be turning to us to learn what
we may be able to offer. It is very unlikely that
we'll be able to serve up buffet ham or turkey
dinners for hundreds or thousands.
"We've gone to disposable silver colored
plastic silverware to save on labor. We are
also looking at catering events not just on
weekends but staggering them throughout the
week to live within our working ability, and
price them accordingly.
"I've been thinking about offering
companies upgraded Christmas boxed lunches
for their employees, or gift packages where
they can choose from beef, pork, poultry or
even seafood on a points basis, with some
employees perhaps willing to pay a bit extra
for what they perceive as something normally
not available to them."
Lloyd said that having a debt-free business,
with cooling space, eight cookers, quality
recipes, a reputation for dependability and a
trusted workforce is helping keep Hess Meats
up and running in tough times. He and Eric
quickly realized people have not stopped eating
- they know it's just a matter of finding a format
that works for both customer and company.


http://www.meatpoultry.com

Meat+Poultry - August 2020

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