The coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to rethink how they do business.
When restaurants closed and wholesale orders dropped off, Skull & Cakebones owners Yauss Berenji and Sascha Biesi knew their model for running the vegan bakery and wholesale baked good company near Dripping Springs wasn’t going to work in this new food economy.
In the first weeks, they offered curbside pick-up, but after employees expressed unease with the continued contact with customers, Berenji and Biesi started toying around with an idea they'd been wanting to explore for awhile: at-home baking kits.
"It's been something we've been wanting to do for at least two years," Berenji says. "This just lit the fire under our (expletive)."
They are now selling baking kits for pancakes, scones, cakes and, soon, biscuits. Each kit includes dry and wet ingredients, plus instructions on how to combine and bake them. Biesi has also been shooting tutorial videos for the company's Instagram page.
In addition to many of their signature desserts, which are also available for delivery, Skull & Cakebones is also selling a French toast kit and cupcake kits with a bag of frosting and a jar of sprinkles, as well as grocery staples such as overnight oats, cookie dough, salad dressing, a veggie broth powder, Barton Springs flour, yeast, vegan mayonnaise and a brisket-inspired tempeh from Hearty Vegan.
Skull & Cakebones has also teamed up with Torchy's Tacos to offer a vegan shrimp and barbacoa taco dinner that includes vegan shrimp, jackfruit barbacoa and cashew-based queso.
They are offering delivery locally on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and shipping throughout the U.S. on many items. For more info, go to skullandcakebones.com.
Rabbit Food Grocery has been busier than ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck, says co-owner Jessica Morris.
The best days to shop are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she says. They get fresh produce delivered on Wednesdays, she says, and partner companies are making deliveries every day.
Morris says that customers previously came to the store for the specialty vegan items they offered, but not the fresh produce or pantry staples. "We never sold dry beans or rice, and now we go through a case every three days," she says.
Several notable vegan eateries are now selling some of their products at Rabbit Food Grocery. Arlo's is selling its popular vegan burgers from the frozen section, and Possum Pizza is making take-and-bake versions of its pizza. Both businesses plan to continue to sell these home cook-friendly versions of their food even after the pandemic is over, Morris says.
"Every day I try to look at the bright side," she says. "I think this is going to change how people grocery shop in the future. Morris is considering adding in-house delivery, but for now, people can place orders online for pick-up. "It won't be as crazy, but people are going to want to get delivery and curbside more in general."
Morris says she hopes to soon start carrying even more ready-to-eat products from local restaurants, including Boulin Creek breakfast or Beer Plant barbecue sauce.
"With only four people in the store at a time, it's very chill."