Aramark: A Multifaceted Approach to Helping People During COVID-19

Aramark: A Multifaceted Approach to Helping People During COVID-19

By Brianne Carlon RushApr 29 /2020

At Kuno Creative, our mission is to help companies we believe in get results. This is the second in a series featuring our clients, their mission and how they’re pivoting their marketing strategy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the early 1900s, Aramark has been a well-respected provider of food services, growing to serve industries including healthcare systems, higher education institutions, K-12 districts, businesses and sporting arenas. It has also added facilities services and uniform services, creating a professional services trifecta servicing organizations across the world.

In fact, Aramark employs more than 280,000 service associates across 19 countries. Their unique combination of offerings and sheer size allows the organization to rapidly scale and meet challenges few others are equipped to handle. In 2005, Aramark assembled hundreds of food and facilities employees from south Texas to immediately serve nearly 25,000 displaced victims during Hurricane Katrina.

Now, Aramark has mobilized once again, helping COVID-19 patients, frontline responders and community members in numerous ways. Here are a few ways they’re utilizing their strengths and solutions now and beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

4 Ways Aramark is Taking Action During COVID-19

1. Feeding Frontline Health Workers

As health workers fight COVID-19 on the frontlines, Aramark is right there with them, ensuring they are well fed and cared for.

Their on-the-go meal delivery service, Good Uncle, served warm, comforting meals to healthcare workers at five hospitals in the Philadelphia area, providing 2,500 meals to hospital staff, medical personnel and team members.

Aramark is also helping to feed the mobile testing personnel in Houston at the Texas Medical Center, providing meals for 200 healthcare staff and onsite police working the drive-thru testing lines. They are also serving meals to more than 100 doctors and nurses at Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City. The group also created a pop-up grocery store to allow workers to pick up any necessities — like bread and milk — they need before going home after a shift.

Additionally, the organization is partnering with the Debra and Leon Black Family, Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Robin Hood and American Red Cross to launch “NYC Healthcare Heroes.” The efforts will provide more than 300,000 packages of shelf-stable food, household supplies and medicine to hospital staff at the epicenter of the virus. Specifically, Aramark is donating labor to provide procurement, assembly and delivery services, and will coordinate with Red Cross volunteers to distribute the packages to hospital staff.

2. Ensuring Food Insecure Students and Families Are Fed

It was clear communities were going to suffer when schools were shut down, as many children depend on hot meals during breakfast and lunch to remain healthy and fed. Aramark has gone above and beyond so no child or community member goes hungry during the pandemic.

When Chicago Public Schools closed, no time was wasted getting meal packages out to families. So far, Aramark has helped to hand out over 90,000 meal packages, which include a three-day supply of breakfast and lunch, totaling more than a half-million meals.

In Springfield, MO, 12 school sites in the SPS district have been set up as “prep sites” where they are helping to prepare meals delivered to the remaining district school sites. Families drive through to pick up their breakfast and lunch bags. Bus routes have also been scheduled to deliver meals to over 400 students who do not have a way to pick up meals from the distribution sites. In one week, Aramark helped to prepare more than 67,000 grab-and-go bags.

And in Lewisville, TX, Lewisville ISD Child Nutrition is currently offering free breakfast and lunch for children under 18 at 11 locations throughout the district. A mobile location called the Streatz & Beatz food truck has been added to serve a community where a large number of students and families have financial needs. Aramark helped to serve over 14,500 meals in the first week of service. A partnership with the local organization Lovepacs provided over 1,000 weekend meal bags for families.

Aramark also partnered with industrial clients, including General Motors, to help community members during the pandemic. Together, the two organizations donated 1,200 pounds of perishable produce and dairy products to The Empowerment Plan, which has been providing take-home boxed meals for employees and their families, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

3. Supporting Hospitals Through Facilities Management and Environmental Services

As more and more people become ill, less and less space is available in our hospitals. The country has seen numerous “pop-up” hospitals emerge, many with the help of Aramark staff and services.

Following more than 40,000 hospitalizations in Chicago, emergency crews set up the McCormick Place with more than 3,000 extra beds. Aramark’s facilities services provide design flow, set-up and ongoing support to keep the operation running in top form.

One hospital requested that an emergency containment tent be set up in the ambulance bay as quickly as possible while working with ever-changing FDA guidelines. Overnight, the Aramark team had the tent set up and ready for operation. The same facility also requested that individual bays for screening potential COVID patients be created within another tent, which specifically needed optimal workflow and line of sight for the nursing teams. It was also available within 24 hours.

And, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises everyone to wear masks if they leave the house, the shortage of masks for healthcare workers has only increased. When the FDA approved a re-cleaning process for used masks using UV sterilization, Aramark teams set up spaces in preparation for using the technology if supplies ran short. Preparation included identifying stations where UV light can be used and set up according to guidelines.

Finally, Aramark provides facility maintenance and engineering support for the New York State South Beach Psychiatric Center, which was quickly converted to treat COVID-19 patients. Leveraging its Engineering and Assets Solutions division, Aramark oversees the day-to-day maintenance and engineering of this facility during the pandemic, including management of all trades, service contracts and daily needs (24/7 – 3 shifts). Their EAS division assured all service maintenance contracts are in place to provide proper maintenance for the equipment and to address any major building or mechanical repairs.

4. Manufacturing Essential Protective Gear

This month, Aramark announced its Uniform Services division has redeployed production lines to manufacture essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers in the U.S. In one week, Aramark converted its facilities to design the products, re-engineer and configure the production lines, and train employees on fabricating the new products.

Once fully operational, Aramark expects to produce millions of masks, scrubs and isolation gowns. The first shipment of scrubs and isolation gowns was delivered to clients last week. Additionally, the production of respirators and medical masks is scheduled to begin by mid-July.

How Aramark Has Updated Its Marketing Efforts

To ensure the necessary sensitivity for the current situation, Aramark stopped all healthcare advertising in January, weeks before the COVID-19 virus reached U.S. borders. They quickly stopped all other digital advertising in other industries, as well, as businesses closed and the economy suffered.

Instead, Aramark has used all of its efforts to ensure help is getting to exactly where it is needed, and only invested in necessary marketing initiatives over the past few months. For example, it created several pieces of content its sales team can share with prospective clients when they ask, “What are you doing during COVID-19?”

Only now is Aramark considering its first digital campaign, one geared at helping current dining clients take on facilities and environmental services — as this is a necessary endeavor for all organizations as they gear back up for opening following the pandemic.

We are Proud to Work with Aramark

In this unsettling time, Aramark is deploying technical resources, partners and vendors to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kuno is proud to call them a partner. To learn more about Aramark’s COVID-19 efforts, click here.

Working with Kuno

The Author

Brianne Carlon Rush

Brianne works with Fortune 500 clients to strategize digital marketing efforts that help sales teams close deals faster. Additionally, she focuses on Kuno’s sales and marketing alignment and employee empowerment. Prior to Kuno, Brianne helped market OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools, and was the youngest person to be promoted to managing editor position at MacFadden Performing Arts Media in NYC.