Big Michael's Fruit and Vegetables
Big Michael's Fruit and Vegetables

Struggle to success: How food delivery firm survived COVID

A Brisbane food delivery company crippled by cafe and restaurant closures at the height of the COVID-19 downturn has staged a stunning return to growth in a few weeks.

Big Michael's Fruit and Vegetables, southeast Queensland's largest produce delivery company, was hit hard in March and April when its restaurant and cafe clients across the southeast were forced to close or limit customers.

Company director Peter Marinos said the sudden halt in sales took an immediate toll on his business.

"It was extremely tough, we suffered quite a lot during the lockdown," he said.

"We had to transition quiet quickly into a home delivery business."

Mr Marinos said about 2000 households signed up to have the company deliver produce to their doors during the lockdown.

Big Michael’s Fruit and Vegetables director Peter Marinos at Brisbane Markets. (AAP Image/Attila Csaszar)
Big Michael’s Fruit and Vegetables director Peter Marinos at Brisbane Markets. (AAP Image/Attila Csaszar)

 

As the Queensland economy reopens Mr Marinos says business is again booming, with sales trending upwards.

"I think it's a lot to do with JobKeeper and a lot of people having money to splurge and going out," he said.

"Suburban area cafes and restaurants are going great because people feel safer going locally around their area.

"The CBD area, where it's predominantly offices, is still a lot quieter than usual because of a lack of people in the offices and there's no catering for functions."

Big Michael's, which has 26 staff and 14 trucks, supplies produce to about 830 restaurants, cafes and fish and chip shops across southeast Queensland.

Mr Marinos said he had taken advantage of the government's Instant Asset Write Off scheme and bought a new refrigerated truck.

He is optimistic for the future, but does hold concern about what will happen when JobKeeper ends in March 2021.

"It's a game of wait and see now that JobKeeper has dried up for a lot of people to see whether consumer spending will stay up," he said.

"I think we'll have a dip, definitely, as a lot of people lose some money."

Originally published as Struggle to success: How food delivery firm survived COVID


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