April DeLange had a positive experience when she took part in Community College of Philadelphia’s Peer-based Learning Experience.
So, when she learned that CCP was offering an Industry Best Practices Series for restaurateurs and caterers affected by the coronavirus, she was interested in enrolling.
“It looked like such a great opportunity.” she said.
While the pre-pandemic Peer-based Learning Experience took place at CCP’s Northeast Regional Center at 12901 Townsend Road, the Best Practices Series was scheduled for online.
In all, 75 people applied for 20 slots.
“It was the single biggest amount of people interested,” of any CCP business program, according to Chris Hess, coordinator of Power Up Your Business & Center for Small Business Education, Growth and Training.
DeLange, business operations manager at Gallo’s Seafood, 8101 Roosevelt Blvd., was selected. The class met once a week for six weeks. Like CCP’s other business programs, the course was free, thanks to a city grant.
DeLange is glad she signed up for the course, which ended earlier this month.
“It was a small group and very interactive,” she said. “We learned from each other. They focused on small business and zoned in on your small business. Everything we talked about was so targeted.”
Hess said participants shared safety concerns, along with trying to maintain full staffing levels and trying to make the dining experience nice for patrons.
“Across the board, the 20 businesses in the class had the same issues,” he said.
Soon, DeLange and the other participants will be entitled to six weeks of individualized coaching. The restaurant-focused mentoring will be one on one.
As for how Gallo’s handled the early challenges of the pandemic, DeLange said curbside takeout, including popular family meals that fed six to eight people, was helpful.
Today, curbside takeout remains, along with eat-in dining, though not at full capacity yet.
“It hasn’t been easy, but we’re so thankful for our loyal customers,” DeLange said. “We’re taking every precaution we can to keep people safe.”
The second cohort of the Industry Best Practice Series began this week with 25 participants (including some startup businesses), with another Peer-based Learning Experience class set for May. Hess thanked city officials, including Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, for supporting the small business programs. ••
For more information on all Community College of Philadelphia business programs, visit ccp.edu/PowerUp.