How ready meal deliveries helped restaurant businesses overcome the lockdown

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Gal gamari
Dishes cooked directly to farmers in the fieldsGal Gamari (Credit: Bank Hapoalim)

“I started ‘HaNahala’, a character restaurant business, in Moshav Yated about five years ago. It initially focused on home deliveries and then expanded into events and festivities. Our charm is that we offer personalized menus for events of up to 200-250 people. There is dairy and meat cuisine, and the menu is individually personalized for each guest, based on their preferences. Before COVID-19, we had at least three or four different events per week, with my hands involved in each of them. In the first month of the first lockdown, I was worried because a log full of future events had been reduced to zero all at once and it was unclear which direction the winds were blowing. At the same time, I kept my small, experienced team throughout all of this.

“As soon as I understood that my way of earning my living was going to change irreparably, I decided to change course: regular lunches for the farmers in the region, which were missing because the restaurants were also closed. Either they would come and get me to collect the food and distribute it to the workers during the harvest season, or we would bring it directly to them. At the same time, I launched another small brand, ‘Nachobesh’, which means ‘my soul’ in Moroccan. Through this, I provided home-cooked meals in branded packaging that could be frozen, for people who were sitting at home during shutdowns and didn’t have the energy to cook on their own – moussaka, stuffed peppers, fish cakes and other dishes from our menu, as well as other dishes that I added as needed. Together, these two initiatives have helped me keep my head above water.

“Since the end of the third confinement, when I understood that catering alone was not enough – even if it remains my vocation and my joy – I began to prepare breakfasts and lunches for institutions and vital organizations of the region which continued to operate throughout the lockdowns and Operation Wall Guardian, in addition to the social events we continued to host including aliya la’Torah, birthdays and breakouts. This period taught me that creativity and faith in my products will always allow me to be successful. Recently the agenda started to fill up again and we have already organized an event for 250 people. It was a great joy to be able to do pleasure to so many people after more than a year.

The writer is the owner of ‘HaNahala – Catering with a Personal Touch’.

Moshav Yated, Eshkol Regional Council. Phone. : 053-7518696

Ronen Cohen

The journal is filling up, but the events are smallerRonen Cohen (Credit; Bank Hapoalim)Ronen Cohen (Credit; Bank Hapoalim)

“I wear two hats: I’m a farmer with 30 years of experience, with a farm in Moshav Ohad that mainly grows tomatoes and peppers, and I also own ‘Aliba’ – ‘from the heart’ in Aramaic— an event space in Ofakim that I opened over seven years ago with my business partner, Ze’ev Danino. The space spans three acres and includes a hall that can accommodate 1,500 people and a division option, as well as a large and beautiful outdoor room.

I didn’t start out in the event industry, but it’s something that has always attracted me, because I’m a very outgoing person who likes to host. When it comes to food and service, I believe we’ve brought something new to the south, with unique chef creations and a team that is as professional and courteous as possible.

“Before COVID-19, we employed around 200 people per month: waiters, cooks, cleaning and maintenance staff, event managers, etc. And then, on March 10 of last year, everything stopped. Between that date and April 29 of this year, we did not organize any events. It was also a difficult time for the farm, partly because of the uncertainty surrounding the future and partly because of the policy of importing vegetables from Turkey instead of supporting Israeli agriculture.

“After the Omer count ended, we managed to organize a few events. But then Operation Guardian of the Walls started and our farm made headlines after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the living quarters of my Thai workers, killing two of them and injuring eight, one of whom is still in hospital. We are at the Eshkol Regional Council, which suffered nearly a thousand rocket attacks. I want to congratulate the Thai Embassy – their team came to support the workers and ourselves and went above and beyond the call of duty. However, we had to cancel events once again. Over the past two weeks our agenda has filled up again, but people are still worried, and that’s one of the reasons the events are smaller. My heart goes out to young couples who want to start a family and who have to start from scratch every time. “

The writer is the co-owner of the event and conference venue “Aliba”.

Afikim Park in the Negev, Ofakim (near Gilat Junction). Phone. : 08-9576095

Itai Tsur

Identification of new business environmentsItai Tsur (Credit: Bank Hapoalim)Itai Tsur (Credit: Bank Hapoalim)

“Any business, whether small or large, is always looking for certainties, to enable it to plan and above all to act more efficiently and with greater precision. But the recent situation has dictated a completely new reality, one that makes it difficult to think two steps ahead. Businesses in Gaza’s border regions have lived with this reality for over a decade, where chaos is the only consistency. So any business operating in such a complex and uncertain environment must recognize the situation and act accordingly. Either way, there’s no point in crying over spilled milk, looking ahead, and trying to identify new opportunities that current circumstances may have created.

Additionally, think about ways to leverage your existing resources and advantages to create new products and services, providing rapid response to market demands. I recommend looking for partnerships with suppliers, customers and even with competitors, as they can provide significant added value. Also, try to find new business environments instead of the affected ones. Here too, when entering a new and unfamiliar business environment, it is worth getting help from experts who know it well.

The writer is an expert in consulting and teaching business skills and a lecturer at the Bank Hapoalim Center for Financial Growth

Avital Dadon

Adapt the credit structure to your needsAvital Dadon (Credit: Bank Hapoalim) Avital Dadon (Credit: Bank Hapoalim)

“The spread of the coronavirus has impacted many sectors of the economy and caused profound upheavals in their business activity. The sectors most affected have been those sectors that depend on large gatherings for their activities, such as the hospitality sectors, which have been forced to face many restrictions and even long freezes of all activities. These were followed by days of tension with the Gaza Strip, before businesses managed to recover from the pandemic.

“All of this teaches us the importance of being prepared for any scenario and of prudent and responsible business management in times of uncertainty.

Business owners today are learning to reinvent themselves and adapt to new circumstances in different aspects of running their business. This is especially true for anything related to revenue forecasting and cash flow management. This is why we must adapt our credit structure upstream to the needs of our business, ensure healthy cash flow and put money aside for unforeseen situations.

The writer is the director of the business banking department of the Ofakim branch of the Hapoalim bank

As the economy gradually begins to emerge from the COVID-19 outbreak, Ma’ariv and Bank Hapoalim are offering a special article, sharing and following stories from businesses in different regions and sectors and offering insight and support for cope in times of crisis and uncertainty. Each week, we will share practical tools, as well as tips and advice on financial and business development and growth opportunities in this challenging environment. The information contained in this document is accurate as of the date of publication and should not be understood as an alternative to professional advisory services which take into account the specific circumstances of the individual and are tailored to meet their needs. The above should not be understood as an offer of credit, provision of loan and / or deferred repayment, subject to the conditions and approval of the bank. Failure to keep up with payments can result in interest charges on arrears or repossession proceedings.


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