PINEY FLATS, Tenn. (WJHL) — Founder and CEO of Chef Minute Meals Barry Sendel told News Channel 11 Friday that due to coronavirus-related meal shortages, Chef Minute Meals plans to hire an additional 60 employees to its production staff.
“We need to get more production going,” Sendel said. “We had over 1.5 million meals in stock pending disasters from last year.
“This year, it’s leftover from last year’s production, and early this year we were keeping a skeleton staff to make sure we had at least a million plus meals in stock ready for the hurricane season in June, which is our normal programming.
“This coronavirus has come upon us, and we didn’t recognize the fact this would become a problem to the point of people staying at home.”
According to Sendel, in addition to the latest demand for Chef Minute Meals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company also has normal production standards to meet for the upcoming hurricane season.
“We can produce from 30,000 to 60,000 meals a day,” Sendel said. “That is, if we have the staff.”
Meals that the company usually has on stand-by for FEMA have been released to other state agencies amidst the pandemic. Sendel told News Channel 11 he’s never seen this sort of demand before in the two decades he’s been leading the company.
“This is beyond belief,” Sendel said. “We’re getting at least 40 calls a day for meals from companies that want to buy substantial truckloads of product.”
Sendel urges those interested in working production to stop by the location in Piney Flats at 881 Mountain View Drive to fill out an application in-person.