Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.
The restaurant industry is one of the most resilient, as it’s always changing, evolving, and adapting. COVID, by far, has been the biggest disruption in decades. However, many in the industry are still thriving. Patricia Bible, CEO and Founder of KaTom Restaurant Supply, shared the company’s journey and response to COVID.
Bible comes from a background of strong women and hard work. From humble roots, she’s become a leader in the industry. She attributed it to drive and said, “We all have this internal ability to be more than we are. When we hit a crossroads, we can either freeze and stay or push through to the unknown. That’s when the payoffs happen, she shared.
The creation of KaTom came from her and her husband’s vision of seeing the need for such a business. “We were building and running steakhouses. Franchise owners would come to my husband needing supplies. He started cultivating these relationships, and he said we can make a business out of this,” Bible said.
The start of KaTom was in their garage, and things began to take off. Sadly, Bible’s husband passed unexpectedly in 2001, but she persevered. “I had 18 single head of household women working for us. I didn’t want to keep going, but a big part of why I did was them. And about 30 days after his passing, we launched katom.com,” she noted.
The company grew to $250M in sales revenue through innovation and being customer-focused. That foundation helped them survive and thrive in the pandemic. “In late March, I asked my leadership team to come back with ideas in the next 24 hours for the company to survive,” Bible recalled.
And they did. Soon, there were bringing together different sources to bottle and produce hand sanitizer. They began to offer PPE and disposals, and in June, the company had its best month ever.
“Adaption has been key for us. The world is changing, and we need to meet our customers where they are. We have a strong eCommerce arm and have shifted to Zoom calls for sales. We’re continuing to serve our customers and roll out more products they need,” Bible noted.