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October 2020

Market Baskets a New Model for Connecticut Club

By Steve Eubanks

Grocery stores presented quite the conundrum during the COVID-19 crisis. Did you don a mask and head to the market, knowing that social distancing was all but impossible and knowing that half the town would likely be there with you? Or did you order food online having no idea about quality, freshness or delivery protocols? And what about those high-end items club members enjoy? Where were they going to get them? The artisan food market was no place to hang out during the peak of the pandemic.

One northeastern club figured out a solution. According to Phil Iannuccilli, executive chef at Greenwich Country Club in Connecticut: “We started creating market baskets with high-end grocery items that members can pick up so they don’t need to go to the store. That became very popular. Now it will evolve into gourmet baskets of our proprietary recipes, preserves, our famous house-made hotdogs, relishes, mustards and dressings, along with the usual necessities.

“Every week we do a new take-home kit. At the moment, most of them are outdoor barbecue items, which are seasonal. They change every week and have quickly become a permanent club staple.”

Those new additions will certainly continue long after the COVID crisis passes.

“I would love to have a gourmet market in the club where members can come and shop, similar to the gourmet shops they have in five-star hotels,” Iannuccilli said. “It would be a result of how we responded to the pandemic.”

What’s Cooking Tip: Alternative Dining

When it comes to in-house dining, some options may be limited depending on your state’s restrictions. Here are some alternative dining tips.
Offer outside dining
Update your menu
Offer curbside or to-go orders.
Consider GrubHub or DoorDash
Offer delivery
Personalize services
Create seasonal take-home kit

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