Strategic crisis communication and management for public meal provision

In a nutshell

This tool explains two topics that are relevant for any kind of crisis (energy, food etc.). The two topics should be the first steps of a procedure of how to communicate and manage transparently in situations of crisis. The steps help to identify stakeholders, identify target audience and to manage communication within and between organisations. It is an approach that explains how to build a network, activate and communicate with diverse parties to enable procurement, production and/or distribution of meals in situations of crisis.

Necessary Steps

Step 1: Support exchange between organisations that are involved in the provision of public meals by establishing a “committee”.

  1. Enter into a quick exchange with all those involved in catering (food providers, executing agency, facility management etc.) in order to find a solution together on how good catering can be continued under the given circumstances.
  2. Form a "committee" and meet regularly to exchange information on the crisis.
  3. Document your meetings to ensure that the results are not lost.
  4. Review the results at the next committee meeting because the conditions or preferences can change between meetings.

Step 2: As a provider of public meals, establish an open and transparent communication with all those concerned, such as residents or relatives (e.g., in facilities for the elderly), parents (in day-care centres/schools), diners (e.g., in cafeterias, canteens).

  1. Be aware that all those affected are initially uncertain about what will happen to the catering during the crisis.
  2. Identify your target audience for crisis communication
  3. This uncertainty is taken away by prompt communication of the results of the committee meetings.
  4. Possible communication channels could be: notice board (on- or offline), letter, homepage, newsletter, intranet, mail.

Depending on the crisis there are different solutions. For example, setting up a to-go offer is not always the best solution.

More Issues To Consider

  • Ideally, such a "food/catering committee" is already firmly established in the facility before the crisis, which regularly exchanges information on the topic of "catering".
  • Keep in mind that, in some situations, it make take some time and effort to organise the committee and, in other situations the committee is easily and quickly formed.
  • The frequency of meetings is very individual depending on the institution: experience shows that food committees without "crisis mode" meet once a month to once a year. In case of a crisis, a regular and timely exchange is indispensable.
  • Consider also the tool “Setting up the canteen commission” as a guide for the setup of the committee.

Further Information

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