Stephen Whiteside & Miki Ellis, owner of Dachi Vancouver in Vancouver
Once social distancing restrictions were set in place, dine-in restaurants were given two options: shut down or completely adapt their model in order to survive. Stephen Whiteside and Miki Ellis, owners of Dachi in Vancouver, wasted no time before they shifted to a takeout restaurant, bottle shop and grocer. But changing their business has required Dachi’s owners and team to quickly master new skills they never imagined having to learn.
“This pandemic has turned our industry upside down really. For our dine-in restaurant, we’ve had to completely change our model, and figure out how to keep hospitality at the core of what we do - it’s what we love." – Miki Ellis, co-owner of Dachi.
Coming from a large restaurant background, it had always been a dream for Stephen Whiteside and Miki Ellis to open something more intimate with a neighbourhood vibe. Their passion was creating dishes that focused on ingredients from sustainable, small producers they could have direct relationships with. This made East Vancouver the perfect place to launch Dachi, their dream restaurant. They got to work with the farmers and suppliers they adored while offering an intimate dining experience for their guests. Whiteside and Ellis had successfully made the change from working in a bigger restaurant to a smaller one of their own, but then COVID-19 hit...
With the pandemic completely shutting down their dine-in business, they needed to leverage their vast industry experience and relationships with producers to find a solution. So they completely redesigned their menu and offering. Dachi is now a takeout restaurant, bottle shop, and grocer offering a range of fresh items, including customized picnic and veggie boxes, curated bottles from family-owned vineyards, and farm fresh groceries.
The owners may have been the masterminds behind these swift changes, but they couldn’t have done it without their team. Ellis says, “I’m so proud of how much our small team has pivoted to adapt to this time. Everyone has taken on new tasks and learnt so much, from take-out logistics, to e-commerce through our website, to cooking large volumes of food.” They’ve even managed to find a way to give back by donating food to local charities and giving their customers an opportunity to contribute as well.
Small businesses are vital to communities, and in order to survive it’s important for them to learn new skills and be open to change. Dachi has led by example. It has shown us how you can swiftly adapt to this ever-changing world by utilizing the skills and values your company is built on.
To support Miki Ellis and Stephen Whiteside, Vancouverites can visit the Dachi website and place an order.
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