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WBI #01: Can a cooking event teach us about business survival?

business insights crisis innovation pandemic struggles
business survival

May 27, 2024

Read time: 4 minutes

Sometimes I have voices in my head.

And whenever I think about businesses surviving through pandemics? Those voices go off. And they usually sound a lot like this...

"Well, yeah, of course, you think that pivoting your business model is the best move since the invention of the wheel. You’re biased. But what’s the real story behind such transformations?"

And that's exactly what I'm gonna do in this email.

Shoot myself in the leg and tell you why I think Cheeky Food Events' pivot SHOULDN'T have worked.

Welcome to the first edition of your Exclusive Business Insight Weekly.

Why Cheeky Food Events SHOULDN’T Have Succeeded: 

Information is useless if you can’t adapt it.

Yeah. Cheeky had a TON of clients loving their in-person cooking events. Corporate teams bonded over slicing and dicing.


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, those gatherings were toast. Done. Most businesses might have seen this as the end. But not Cheeky. They didn’t just sit back and let their knives dull.

They pivoted—sending ingredients to homes and connecting teams via live streams to cook together. But here's why it shouldn't have worked:

  • It’s a logistical nightmare. Getting ingredients to multiple addresses on time? Ensuring every participant can follow along with a live chef from their kitchen? Sounds too complicated.
  • It’s impersonal. Cooking together in a kitchen has charm. Doing it via video? That's supposed to lack connection.

Yet, here’s the twist—it worked spectacularly.

Here’s why:

Cheeky knew one little secret about business survival. It's not just about what you do; it's about how you make your clients feel. Even remotely, they managed to keep the warmth and camaraderie alive.

They built a bridge. A bridge between isolation and connection. Between individual kitchens and a communal experience. And this bridge? It was built on the foundation of their original mission—to bring people together, pandemic or not.

Genius. Isn’t it?

Using a crisis as a catalyst for innovation, Cheeky turned a potential disaster into a thriving model of engagement and culinary enjoyment.

And there it is. This is how Cheeky Food Events not only survived but thrived. They adapted, innovated, and yes, they were welcomed into homes around the country, just like those clever vampires.

Cheeky are the best business pivots I've told you about. But what did they ACTUALLY do?

They showed that adaptation is all about seeing an obstacle as an invitation to innovate. And this...

My friend...

Is the essence of business survival. To drop this little pivot inside a crisis. A small thing that nobody notices. A tiny adaptation that allows your business to not just survive but thrive.

And although it seems like magic, it's not just magic. It's strategy, creativity, and perhaps a bit of culinary genius.

Now tell me. Did Cheeky shoot themselves in the leg here?

I'll tell you this.

Regardless of whether I just made you realize that you do NOT want to pivot like Cheeky...

...Or if I just convinced you that this is EXACTLY the kind of innovative thinking your business needs...

I won. Either way.

Because now, you’re thinking about pivots, about adaptation, and about how you can apply this story to your own business survival strategy.

Innovation out of necessity isn’t just a survival tactic; it’s a visionary strategy that requires seeing beyond current limitations to what might be possible. Like a mythical shapeshifter, a business that can transform its offerings to meet the demands of a drastically changed world not only survives but can find new paths to thrive.
Your Monday Wisdom
As you navigate this week, consider what 'fixed' aspects of your business are actually flexible. What can you transform to meet the new needs of this era? How can you turn your current challenges into opportunities for innovation and growth?

P.S. Each Monday, we’ll explore these themes further, uncovering stories of resilience and strategic brilliance. Expect a blend of actionable tips, strategic insights, and inspirational tales tailored specifically for you, the black female entrepreneur.

So, till next Monday, keep the fires of innovation burning, and remember, sometimes the night is darkest just before dawn. Let's turn these challenging times into our canvas for creativity and innovation.


A Final Note: You are Awesome!
I don’t know who needs to read this but let me tell you this:
You are awesome.
You matter,
You’re doing fantastic.
I appreciate you.
I believe in you.
You can do anything you set your mind to.
Don’t believe the naysayers - carve out your own path.
That’s it - Just wanted to end on a positive note.