While the catering industry was hard-hit by the pandemic and ensuing event restrictions, one Springfield-area catering company is poised for a significant expansion.
“We are under contract to purchase the building at 3086 Normandy Road and all the assets, including the names 5 Flavors and Secret Recipes,” said Brian Reilly, owner of Cured Catering. “Going forward, everything will operate under the name Cured Catering.”
Brian and his wife, Melissa, started Cured Catering in March 2017 but then three years later, virtually all events came to a halt. “We had 12-14 months of a lot of cancellations, numbers dropping across the board,” he said. “There was a lot of confusion about how things were going to be going forward, so we stepped back for a moment and reevaluated.”
In the meantime, the couple started a charitable program called Staff Meals to help feed food service workers who had lost their jobs due to restaurant closures. Reilly said that after working in the industry for 25 years, he knew how devastating missing even a paycheck or two would be to many people in food service. “We had to keep doing something, even while there wasn’t much to do for the catering industry,” Reilly said.
Now that event restrictions have eased, Reilly said things have not only started working their way back to normal, but Cured Catering has been “pushed to the limit, trying to make up for the lost time. It felt like we had two-and-a-half years of weddings and events trying to fit into a six-month span earlier this year.”
The company has also brought additional staff members on board, including Channing Johnson as chef de cuisine and Teela Markley as events manager, who both previously worked for Springfield Motor Boat Club. “We were a small, boutique company going into this,” said Reilly. “We’re very excited for the new staff we’ve acquired.”
While the acquisition from Chip Kennedy, owner of 5 Flavors and Secret Recipes, has not yet been finalized, Reilly said Cured Catering took possession of the building on Normandy Road Sept. 20 and began handling events that the other companies had scheduled.
“We were doing as many as six weddings a day in September and October,” Reilly said. “Our reputation is on the line if we’re taking on these jobs, so we had to reach out in all different directions to be able to make things happen,” noting that he had recruited former employees, relatives and friends to help out.
While there are still many uncertainties related to the pandemic, Reilly said, “We’ve made a lot of adaptations and we have a plan for if things were to get locked down again. There was a big learning curve, but we know better now what we could do to make sure that some events could still happen, but safely.”
Overall, Reilly said he is optimistic about the future of the industry and noted that Cured Catering books a lot of political and corporate events in addition to weddings. “We’re already filling up quickly for 2023,” he said.