Surviving the hectic early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study to the supply chain strategies of food service firms in times of a crisis

Néomie Raassens, Hans Haans, Shantanu Mullick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have hit the food service industry very hard. The COVID-19 outbreak has created a sharp downturn for firms in the food service industry, compelling actors across the whole food service supply chain to rethink their strategies. The purpose of this paper is to document the impact of COVID-19 on the food service supply chain, as well as to identify crisis management strategies food service firms use during the hectic early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic to survive the current and prepare for future pandemics. Design/methodology/approach: We performed a qualitative descriptive study using 21 semi-structured interviews with actors across the food service supply chain (i.e. farmers, wholesalers and food service providers). Data were collected to shed light on food service firms' decision making during the hectic early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic to uncover various crisis management strategies used. Findings: By integrating the disaster and crisis pyramid and resilience theory, four core crisis management strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic are conceptualized, i.e. (1) managing resources, (2) diversifying strategically, (3) prioritizing long-term outcomes and (4) bonding socially. Originality/value: The theoretical contributions include documenting the performance impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food service supply chain and exploring crisis management strategies food service firms employed during the hectic early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, functioning and survival during a pandemic, an emerging field in literature, are central to this study. Additionally, while recent research suggests that integrating crisis management and resilience literature may provide a more complete understanding of the organization–crisis relationship, these literature streams mainly developed in isolation. By integrating the literature streams of crisis management and resilience and applying these theories to the COVID-19 crisis, our study provides specific managerial guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-900
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Volume33
Issue number3
Early online date3 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and noncommercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of
this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode

Keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • COVID-19
  • Crisis
  • Crisis management strategies
  • Diversification
  • Food service supply chain
  • Resilience
  • Resource management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Transportation

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