These days, it sure doesn’t feel like there’s much to celebrate. But just because we’re all social distancing and partying via video conference doesn’t mean that people just suddenly stop having birthdays. And what’s a birthday without a cake?
Thankfully, some bakeries have found a way to keep going at a time of occasional food shortages and closed restaurants. One bakery caught up in San Francisco’s “shelter in place” mandate has found a way to not only persist in pumping out baked goods, but providing helpful health reminders as they do it.
In the hopes of generating enough revenue to stay afloat while so much of San Francisco is shut down, local bakery Butter& has been selling “Quarantine Cakes” for take out and delivery orders. Each is emblazoned with a hopeful and/or useful message like “Wash your hands” or “Pretend you’re an introvert.”
If you’re wondering how you can support a small local business during this scary time AND put some love into the world, SEND SOMEONE A BUTTER& QUARANTINE CAKE. And share about it on IG. ❤️ To keep our business running, we’re doing something new: smaller, more affordable cakes that are perfect for 1-2 people. People can send them to each other, even if they can’t eat them together. In times of social isolation and fear, it’s human connection, acts of love, and comfort food that will get us through it. And listening to what the CDC says. We’re providing complimentary advice from the CDC on top of these cakes as a public service: “Wash Your Hands”, “Don’t Touch Your Face”, “Pretend You’re an Introvert”. Stay safe, fam! We’re all in this together! #butterand #quarantinecakes . For those looking for a longer read and some #realtalk, scroll on. This is from our google doc titled Project #Coronoyadont (lol) spelling out our plan on how to survive COVID-19. . THE CURRENT SITUATION — This virus is very bad for business as people stop gathering. Revenue is down 65% and we have 1.5 months of runway before we close permanently (other businesses have as little as 3 weeks). The only way we survive is by creating value for our clients in a new way for the current day. Establishments like @lordstanley_sf offering their Michelin starred meals for pickup are so inspiring. Birthdays are still happening! And everyone still needs joy, love, and connection — even if it’s in a smaller setting. . THE GOALS — Remember who this business serves: the team that drives it, and the clients who power it. Cutting hours is the last resort. Lower variable costs where possible (except for salaries) and create new value for clients. Encourage responsible consumer behavior. It’s our civic duty to slow the spread. . THE SOLUTION — Small-serving Quarantine Cakes that friends and loved ones can send to each other, even if they can’t be together. Parties are being canceled, but celebrations are still happening in smaller groups. Butter& has never tried to serve these occasions, since our niche was milestone (weddings, 50th birthdays). But this is where our clients are and we’ll meet them there.
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Beyond the fact that making and selling the cakes helps keep Butter& bringing in money at a time when the fate of so many fall businesses around the country hangs in the balance, Butter& founder Amanda Nguyen also sees this as a way to make the lives of her customers a little bit better during a difficult time.
“In times of social isolation and fear, it’s human connection, acts of love, and comfort food that will get us through it,” the caption announcing the launch of Butter&’s Quarantine Cakes reads.
Early evidence suggests that the effort has wildly exceeded Nguyen’s expectations, with the bakery experiencing a significant influx of orders and outpouring of support.
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Overflowing with gratitude — today was literally the busiest day in Butter& history. What started as Butter&’s worst week ended up being our best in just over 24 hours. To everyone who purchased a Quarantine Cake (& more), THANK YOU. You not only helped us cover costs for the week, you even enabled us to add to our reserves. Today was insane!!! I teared up reading your notes of encouragement, love, and support. Some of you guys gifted SO MANY CAKES!!! ???? If you haven’t heard from us yet, we’re processing orders as fast as we can! Should the city shut down at some point, we’ll have a little more time to continue paying staff. Thank you, thank you, *thank you* for being so kind and so generous with us and with one another. Oh and also don’t forget to wash your hands. ? #butterand #quarantinecakes
“Today was literally the busiest day in Butter& history. What started as Butter&’s worst week ended up being our best in just over 24 hours,” the caption reads. “You not only helped us cover costs for the week, you even enabled us to add to our reserves.”
We are continually floored by your support and generosity. This virus is ugly but I have seen so much humanity and kindness the past couple days. “Pretend You’re an Introvert” is even more true in light of SF’s lockdown. We’re still making these quarantine cakes and we’ll keep spreading CDC-approved messaging around the city as long as it’s allowed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping us going ❤️ #butterand #quarantinecakes
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Despite a citywide lockdown, the Quarantine Cakes will keep on coming, with Butter & noting that “we’re still making these quarantine cakes and we’ll keep spreading CDC-approved messaging around the city as long as it’s allowed.”
While Butter& is out here providing good food and good advice, they aren’t the only bakery tapping into the Coronavirus zeitgeist for inspiration. It looks like the bakery section of Publix tried to make light of everyone panic-buying toilet paper with a cake of their own.
Either way, there’s never been a better time to eat an entire cake by yourself than right now. Nobody can judge you, and you’re probably helping out a local bakery that could desperately use the revenue. Just don’t forget to wash your hands first.
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