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A Pandemic Risk
There is no denying the impact the pandemic has had on the food and beverage industry this past year and half. from the closing of tenured and well-known establishments to the rapid transition to a food delivery business model. With a mix of both risk and creativity, start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that sell to a niche food market sprawled out of their rabbit holes and began hopping around online.
Name a dish, it's most probably out there already. Pizza, pasta, sushi bake, sourdog breads[a hot dog within a sourdough] — and the list goes on. But this is a list that has changed the local food market for the better. One of these small businesses is talyer, a food and beverage workshop that was conceptualized prior to the pandemic. "We've known for quite some time we'd wind up here as it's been brewing in our minds long before the lockdowns hit," talyer founders Abby and Nick, recall.
It was a coin toss between pursuing what makes them happy or their comfortable 9-5 jobs; like many others, this was a hard choice because it was a risk altogether. The two mention that their realities didn't make this decision an easy one. But they did it anyway.
All things considered starting a small business during a pandemic wasn’t a walk in the park but it was also not impossible. For Abby and Nick, the first order of business was about setting themselves apart from their contemporaries online, and part of that process is making a set menu which they veered away from, deciding instead to deliver the food they loved. "It's our achilles heel and also what makes us different...[because] we're still creatives at heart and it's constantly making things that give us a high."
And this is what makes talyer.co interesting and unpredictable, which is the reason why regular customers can't seem to wait for their next item or menu drop — most recently the sourdog [delicious hotdogs inside sourdough bread]. They do, however, hint at it. “We seem to love food that takes a long time to prepare because there is just something about time as an ingredient that makes food all the more special.” Conveniently, time is what everyone has in abundance these days.
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Running a successful food business online means a lot of orders; a lot of orders require a certain amount of efficiency, and for Abby and Nick, having the Karu and Koda 12 ovens was similar to having 2 extra employees with equal efficiency. “They’re beasts in the kitchen. We won’t be where we’re at without them.” Having these beasts also piqued their creative juices because making the best pizzas isn't necessarily enough for the two. “We experiment with [the ovens] to test their limits, it’s really up to the imagination.”
When all is said and done, starting a pandemic business did have a silver lining for both of them: “if there’s one good thing that happened, it’s probably the new wave of SME owners making the food scene exciting again, and we’re proud to be a part of that.”
It’s a leap of faith
One advice Nick and Abby would give to those who plan to get into the industry is choose where to spend their energies. “First of all get vaccinated, or the lesson learned may be the hardest one… but energy is finite. So choosing when and where we spend it is important. We do all that we can to help our business and our community. [But also to make sure] to have a bit left for ourselves to keep us going.” Pursuing your passion and taking that leap of faith to start a business takes a lot of courage but it’s important to remember that you’re going to be part of a big community that only aims to share their energies and support each other — so you will definitely not be alone in taking that leap of faith.