When COVID hit, it wasn’t just the coffee-and-lunch crowd that cratered at Winfield Street Deli.
They lost nearly all their catering contracts too. Breakfast and lunch deliveries to nearby offices had accounted for 30% of the popular Post Road West shop’s revenue.
Owner Breno Donatti made a quick decision. He closed completely, and helped employees get unemployment.
On May 15, Winfield Street reopened. “I couldn’t stay shut forever,” Breno says. “A lot of the staff wanted to get back to work. People were starting to come out from their homes.”
Breno devised a new catering menu. Breakfast boxes came individually wrapped; lunches of wraps, rolls, bowls and salads were separate too.
“People were trickling back to the office. They wanted to be safe,” the owner recalls. “Communal meals, with everyone grabbing something, no longer works.”
At the same time Winfield Street was struggling to stay in businesses, they were giving back. Realizing that people in shelters had less access to good food than ever — donations were down, and helping organizations were themselves hurting — Breno made some calls.
“Our staff was ready to work. And thanks to our wholesalers, we had access to great prices,” he say.
For every customer check of $20 or more, Winfield Street donates one meal.
By the end of December, the deli had provided 6,000 meals to Pacific House, Domus Kids and Inspirica.
Breno is not letting up. His goal for 2021: 21,000 meals. Sparked by a generous donation from former gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski and his wife Amy, he’s well on his way.
Meanwhile, both retail and catering are picking up. For all of last quarter, business was down 40 percent compared to the year before. Last month, that was cut to just 15%.
The other day, the Coleytown Middle School PTA raved about Winfield’s catering for a teacher appreciation event. They delivered 55 breakfasts and 88 lunches.
“Any excuse to make people happy is important,” Breno says. “We need positive stories.”
And Winfield Street is at the top of any list.
(To donate meals through Winfield Deli to area shelters, click here. Special offer: For every 200 meals you provide, you get a $100 Winfield gift card.)