In these uncertain times, a good meal is something that can bring comfort and fond memories of family and friends gathered around the table. Of course, a good meal you don’t have to prepare yourself can also bring much needed convenience. Even better is a meal provided by the five-star chefs of Destination Kohler. That’s exactly what Kohler associates impacted by a lack of business demand during COVID-19 can enjoy thanks to the Kohler Associate Meal Program.
Joe Austreng, Destination Kohler’s Inventory and Culinary Specialist, came up with the idea of preparing fresh meals for Destination Kohler associates. “I’m a nerd for numbers, systems and logistics,” Joe explained. “So I gave myself a challenge to come up with a way to provide a gourmet, takeout meal where associates could enjoy a memory on us.”
The idea quickly blossomed into reality. The meal program started by utilizing perishable products like fruits, vegetables, herbs and dairy from temporarily closed Kohler restaurants and partnering with vendors for protein.The Kohler Associate Meal Program grew quickly and Kohler banquet chefs were preparing 600 meals per day in Kohler and 320 meals per day at LODGE KOHLER® in Green Bay for associates on a temporary furlough. That’s an average of 4,600 meals per week!
“Everything about the program, from the food to the easy pickup, has been amazing,” said Amelia Hartmann, Conference Services Manager at The American Club®. “Even though my job is not needed at the moment, it’s still nice to feel apart of the team I’ve been with for 15 years. It gets me excited for coming back to work and I am very thankful.”
The chefs have also donated extra meals to community groups like the Boys & Girls Club of Sheboygan and Safe Harbor. Unused food is donated directly to the Salvation Army and Sheboygan County Food Bank.
“We wanted to focus on serving those who have done so much for the company,” added Austreng. “Knowing that our associates are able to enjoy these meals is a great feeling, but the fact that Kohler Co. is willing to embrace and support the program leaves me incredibly proud to be a part of this and unbelievably empowered by the culture. What an incredible journey we are on.”