Kansas City catering business forced to pivot when COVID-19 hit

Kansas City catering business forced to pivot when COVID-19 hit


One year later, business owners are still finding ways to stay open in the pandemic. One company handled backstage catering for big shows and concerts in Kansas City and it all went away when COVID-19 hit.A year ago, Jeff Berges and business partner, Cody Wyatt, thought they had it pretty good. “I think it was in Wichita when we did Fleetwood Mac,” Berges said.Whether it was a Broadway musical at Starlight, a sold-out show at Arrowhead or a daylong Rockfest, their Cool Guy Food catering business handling concerts, shows and TV production shoots was taking off.”There were months we were just concert to concert. We weren’t even sure who we were cooking for,” Berges said.But one day that changed while getting ready for a show at the Midland. “And I got a phone call that says, ‘Hey, we’re shutting this thing down. We’re not having a concert tonight. You come clear everything back out.’ And we really weren’t sure what that meant yet,” Berges said.And with that, the fun and the work and the food were all over. So they asked what’s next?”At the moment, you thought this would be temporary.” KMBC’s Kris Ketz said.”Sure, sure. I mean, with the other stuff, like H1N1, all the other things that we were scared were going to come over here never really ever happened,” Berges said. But then weeks turned into months.Berges and his business partner have their kitchen inside an old brick building on Linwood. When the shows stopped, they had to do something, so they opened up a curbside and delivery business out of the same building.”We’ve got this kitchen. We’ve got plenty of people who wanted to work. And honestly, like anything else, if you don’t practice it, you’re going to get rusty at it,” Berges said.It’s called the Soup Kitchen with an online menu, and the hope this will get them by until the shows return.”This is what we know,” Berges said.And this is what they’re going with, believing the pandemic can’t last forever.

One year later, business owners are still finding ways to stay open in the pandemic. One company handled backstage catering for big shows and concerts in Kansas City and it all went away when COVID-19 hit.

A year ago, Jeff Berges and business partner, Cody Wyatt, thought they had it pretty good.

“I think it was in Wichita when we did Fleetwood Mac,” Berges said.

Whether it was a Broadway musical at Starlight, a sold-out show at Arrowhead or a daylong Rockfest, their Cool Guy Food catering business handling concerts, shows and TV production shoots was taking off.

“There were months we were just concert to concert. We weren’t even sure who we were cooking for,” Berges said.

But one day that changed while getting ready for a show at the Midland.

“And I got a phone call that says, ‘Hey, we’re shutting this thing down. We’re not having a concert tonight. You come clear everything back out.’ And we really weren’t sure what that meant yet,” Berges said.

And with that, the fun and the work and the food were all over. So they asked what’s next?

“At the moment, you thought this would be temporary.” KMBC’s Kris Ketz said.

“Sure, sure. I mean, with the other stuff, like H1N1, all the other things that we were scared were going to come over here never really ever happened,” Berges said.

But then weeks turned into months.

Berges and his business partner have their kitchen inside an old brick building on Linwood. When the shows stopped, they had to do something, so they opened up a curbside and delivery business out of the same building.

“We’ve got this kitchen. We’ve got plenty of people who wanted to work. And honestly, like anything else, if you don’t practice it, you’re going to get rusty at it,” Berges said.

It’s called the Soup Kitchen with an online menu, and the hope this will get them by until the shows return.

“This is what we know,” Berges said.

And this is what they’re going with, believing the pandemic can’t last forever.


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