Wellness Committee Takes Resolutions Remote

While 2020 forced us to connect virtually and minimized our in-office time, the IN Food
Wellness Committee worked to find ways to keep each other accountable and healthy and have
some fun while doing it!

As we all remember, back in mid-March 2020, no one really knew how long we would be
working remotely. (We naively planned for 2 months!) The movement that had seemed
somewhat endless in our large North Loop office and the beautiful surrounding neighborhood
had now become confined to our apartments or houses.

The Wellness Committee jumped at the opportunity to start challenging the team to daily
activities of small exercises. We put together a “key” that consisted of a variety of movements
associated with every letter and number (A=10 jumping jacks, B=5 push-ups, 4=6 plank dips for
example) and provided the team with the challenge of doing a workout every day based on a
provided prompt (mother’s maiden name and year she was born for example). Everyone was all
over this and it turned into us learning even more about each other through the activity
prompts (like how my mother’s very German maiden name, Pulvermacher, led to me doing a
bit of a longer exercise than most others).

When the plan of being home for a few weeks turned into months, the committee transitioned
our daily challenges into weekly challenges to allow us a bit more time to concentrate on a
specific aspect of our own wellness. These challenges ranged from drinking 100 oz of water
each day, to swapping salty snacks like chips for nutritious nuts, to doing a random act of
kindness each day between Christmas and New Year’s. We maintained accountability via Slack
channels and consistent reminders and encouragements (and perhaps a few competitive jabs
here and there). The whole IN Food Crew embraced these challenges and contributed ideas
they wanted to focus on to incorporate into the group challenges.

As a team, we started 2021 with 9+ months of resolutions already under our belt and that
makes for a very happy, healthy and proud IN Food Crew. We’re excited to see what 2021
brings and hopefully that means being able to gather together to support each other and
celebrate our successes again (and ideally bring some friendly in-person competitiveness back
to our morning meetings ).

Brand-demic pivots that resonated

As the entire world is adjusting to this year of social distancing, brands have had to entirely reevaluate their strategies. The tone they go market right now is more important than ever and will likely affect consumer perception of them for years to come. Time is absolutely of the essence when it comes pivoting in response to the pandemic—and some brands have shined brighter than the rest in their response to this new normal.

Hotels.com, a company entirely based around travel and hotel stays, quickly pivoted their campaign focused on motivating people to get away and travel instead of being jealous of others’ travel to a very simple ad acknowledging and recognizing the current situation and emphasizing that people should just be staying home right now. The company is notorious for rewarding travelers for staying at hotels and chose to prioritize the health and safety of their customers over their own corporate goals.

Guinness, a beer brand often associated with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, ran an ad this spring emphasizing that people can absolutely still celebrate the holiday from home, despite how different this year feels. The ad showcases the history of Guinness and points out that while we don’t have parades this year and we cannot be cheers-ing at a pub, as long as you’re home with friends or family, you’ve already won.

Calm App, the leading app for meditation and sleep, was already a brand of significant importance in 2020 and the challenges people face, but took their brand a step further during the pandemic by developing Calm Together focused around minimizing the feeling of isolation and disruptions, and allowing people to connect with others or improve their own mental health. The app prioritizes caring for one’s mind and acts as a simple reminder for how people can best care for themselves and others right now.


Du Nord Craft Spirits team loading hand sanitizer.

On a local level, a Twin Cities brand that swiftly adjusted not only their philosophy, but their actual production line is Du Nord Craft Spirits. The craft distillery was forced to close its Cocktail Room mid-March. Rather than dwelling on that closure and its potential financial impact, Du Nord promptly adjusted their production line to produce hand sanitizer. Not only was staff able to be brought back to work for hand sanitizer production and sales, they have also donated the much-need product over the past few months to organizations and groups in need.

While not all brands have acted as quickly or adjusted as successfully as others, these are just a few of the many that have stepped up not only their marketing, but also their production and community presence during this complicated time. When brands truly put their people and community first, great things can happen – even when most of the world is shutting its doors.

As foodservice marketers, how can you pivot your message to demonstrate operator empathy? If you need ideas, feel free to get in touch with Anita Nelson at 612-353-3410 or anita@infoodmktg.com.

Breweries: Beyond the Beer

In 2019, Minnesota ranked 15th in the nation in terms of number of craft beer breweries with 196 operating. As craft brew enthusiasts, we only hope that number only increases. However, with the increasingly saturated market, breweries need to go beyond delicious malty beverages to get people pouring in.

Craft your marketing plan

Similar to restaurants and other establishments, marketing for breweries is unending and begins before the brewery opens with pre-launch excitement. Hosting community events and food trucks, announcing new beers, and creating consistent awareness of the brewery are all additional marketing tactics that bring customers through the door.

And, while that delicious malty beverage might be what keeps people coming back for more, breweries are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to keep up with their growing list of competitors. Their space, partnerships and communication are all vital for success.


Breweries need to create an environment that fosters communication and allows patrons to feel comfortable and welcome in the space. Garage doors and patios are often features of breweries and make the spaces feel open and inviting. Some breweries, like Headflyer, have foam on the bottom of tables and chairs to reduce white noise and allow conversations to stay at your table. Many allow dogs, so people don’t have to leave their furry friend at home. All these elements and more construct an atmosphere people want to come back to.


Another way breweries drive traffic is by partnering with local companies for events, sponsorships or passes for discounted beer. Here are a few of our favorite companies we’ve spotted at breweries:

  • Sidewalk Dog: local guide to dog-friendly places, activities, events, and more
  • GetKnit Events: the thread that knits the community and local businesses together with fun events
  • Trivia Mafia: bar and brewery trivia operation based in Minneapolis, Minnesota


Genuine, authentic messaging with your community is the most successful method of gaining loyal patrons and repeat customers. Surly Brewing and Dangerous Man do this exceptionally well. Surly Gives A Damn is one program that has helped generate a cult following, through volunteering and being active in the community.

Support local

During these times of uncertainty, it sure helps to sit back and enjoy a beer. If you can do so in the company of a family member or friend (given proper social distancing) even better! It’s important to support your favorite local breweries—and whether or not you like beer, you still can! Many offer options including hard seltzers, gluten-free beer or non-alcoholic beverages and most even offer some local snacks for purchase or partner with a food truck to offer on-site eats.

Get out there and support some of our favorite breweries that market themselves well:

Find more information about our outing to a couple local North Loop breweries in 2019 here!