Baton Rouge caterer loses more than half a million dollars, blames COVID-19

Local News

Baton Rouge catering companies took a major hit during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“In the first 36 to 48 hours we lost $700,000 in booked jobs,” Brian Medlin said.

Medlin owns All Star Catering in Baton Rouge and recently purchased this new building for his company. He was looking forward to making lots of food in his new kitchen but then the COVID-19 crisis happened.

“We’ve been in business for over 20 years and there is absolutely no time that I can think of that’s even come close to sales plummeting across the board in such a short amount of time,” Medlin said. 

Many caterers are in a tough spot. Most events have been cancelled leaving Medlin whose income depends on big events in a bind.

“It became one call after another, and some were stretched out a little longer, but it was, ‘hey I’m sure you heard what’s going on, we’re going to have to postpone,’” he said. “[Also] we’re a big vendor at LSU, when you send all the students’ home there’s nobody to buy food.”

William Wells also took a big hit. He owns culinary productions catering company. He had to get a second job to make up for loss of income.

“We came off the win of LSU [and] everybody was happy, it was going to go into spring time and it was just going to be wonderful and wonderful went to oh my God in about a matter of a week,” Wells said.

Wells says he’s lost about $90,000. Now he’s relying on deliveries until things pick up.

“I’m in a better position than most people but it’s still scary because I’m not bringing in the money, I need to pay the bills,” Wells said.

Both Medlin and wells have rainy day funds that they’re depending on for now. They say they plan on weathering the storm until this is over. 

Medlin now does contract jobs with Our Lady of the Lake and helps feed first responders. Both owners say they are grateful for their loyal customers that have pitched in and helped during this difficult time.

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