In early 2020, Pepper launched a mobile app designed to streamline the relationship between food suppliers and their restaurant customers. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In response to the outbreak and the unprecedented restaurant closures across the country, the scrappy, tight-knit team knew they had to adapt their product to fit their new reality — just a few short months after the company officially formed.

The result is Pepper Pantry: an online grocery delivery platform designed to help those hit hardest during the crisis by allowing Pepper’s food supply partners to easily work directly with consumers. Now, Pepper is able to help provide people access to the same fresh, locally sourced ingredients used by top restaurants across the Northeast, all while helping farms and suppliers stay afloat. “Our hope is that we can provide a convenient way for friends, families, and neighbors to buy what they need from home, while also helping family-owned businesses throughout our cities adapt to stay in motion and not let warehouses full of fresh ingredients go to waste,” says Bowie Cheung, co-founder and CEO.

We caught up with Pepper to hear more about how they pivoted their business to do grocery delivery differently, why they hope to make video an integral part of their early business model, and what advice they have for other small businesses weathering the storm.

Tell us about Pepper Pantry.

Our mission to build out the digital network for our food supply chain originates from the massive opportunity we see to optimize for greater transparency, time-saving efficiencies, and tighter-knit relationships across the entire food supply chain. Our hope was to develop a framework that would help restaurants and suppliers evolve towards a more sustainable and economical future. 

Tell us a bit about your pivot from launch date.

In response to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the food supply industry, our team knew we had a role to play in helping affected restaurants and suppliers stay afloat however best we could. With heaps of socially distant Pepper elbow grease, we put our heads together to see how quickly we could build something that would support those hit hardest. Our hope is that the platform not only provides a convenient way for friends, families, and neighbors to purchase the supplies they need while staying put at home, but also supports a wider initiative to keep small and family-owned businesses alive during such an unprecedented climate. 

How important is video for you in spreading your message?

Especially in today’s climate, people want to use the products and services they trust. Connection and community are themes that will always be highly salient for brand and content planning, and video is a medium that lets businesses build relationships with customers around each of these values. 

How does your team use Vimeo?

Time investment and cost are some of the biggest roadblocks we’ve faced in building out a richer content library for our brand. Having a Vimeo Pro account is going to help us elevate the way we tell our story in a way that’s cost-maximizing and fast to turn around. 

How does a tool like Vimeo Create help your business?

Vimeo Create offers a preloaded suite of easy-to-use tools perfect for early-stagers like us. We created dynamic restaurant content in minutes without the time suck or high price tag you would expect. With the heavy lift associated with content creation removed from the equation, we can focus our energies on deploying this content to attract demand through our multiple social channels. 

How do you use Vimeo Create?

All components of the video creation process were impressively intuitive. We started building a very informal storyboard of the messaging we wanted to convey in a short brand video and then used Vimeo’s stock library to match compelling video clips to each of our key messages. Having an instant and professional-grade creative asset generator like this is going to be a game-changer. 

What advice can you share for small business owners, founders, and entrepreneurs who are also reeling in response to the news?

COVID is changing a lot of the fundamental assumptions we have about the way the world works. While that’s intimidating at times, it also means an influx of opportunities to help make things better is coming. By not being afraid to abandon some of your previously held assumptions, or even shift away from your core product, there’s an opening to play a big role in reimagining how entire industries can and should work. 

Try Vimeo Create

Show us what you #MadeWithVimeo