How We Adapted and Innovated during the Pandemic

 

In 2016, San Diablo began as a fresh food service that focused on event catering. It was later developed to include food trucks and a storefront. No matter where San Diablo goes, we set up our mini-kitchen and pull out our fresh, award-winning, chilled dough and fry up churros right in front of your eyes. Churros are best enjoyed fresh, warm, and filled with delicious gourmet fillings. 

So, when the pandemic first hit, we decided to use it as an opportunity for growth rather than a roadblock. Our “Quarantine Survival Kits” were a great way to put churros into the hands of locals during lockdown but we wanted to think bigger.

At the end of 2021, we sold our first test offering of DIY churro kits with frozen dough for people across the country to enjoy fresh filled churros without leaving the house. After a year of planning, innovating, and reinventing we dove head-first into the consumer product and e-commerce space with our flagship at-home churro-making kit with shelf-stable, just-add-water dry mix churro dough — the Churro Fiesta in a Box

We didn’t settle by slapping our logo onto a cheap tube and calling it a day, we crafted an entire “fiesta” experience that gave consumers everything they needed (and then some) to not only make churros at home but make memories at home.

Our churro-making tool is high quality, reusable, and multi-functional; an easy-to-use appliance that compliments any kitchen. We crafted our dough mix, sugars, and fillings to be a luxury, artisan experience and have provided virtual cooking classes and recipe e-books to make gourmet food accessible to all. 

Seeing the food industry shift in a massive way from restaurant experiences to styrofoam takeout and we wanted to deliver the same experience of going out to celebrate with food but in a COVID-safe, accessible way. We saw an opening, took a leap, and succeeded.

Now our customers can enjoy the experience of restaurant-quality, gourmet pastries from the comfort of their own homes. Our at-home churro kits are for the hobby chefs, the microwave meal-ers, and the local pros- they’re so easy to use but always result in something incredible.

We’ve helped thousands grow their confidence in the kitchen and have provided the tools to cultivate a skill that can be utilized forever. The goal? Long-term churro mastery and long-lasting memories.

As a guest of the Ovation podcast, episode “Give an Ovation,” San Diablo’s founder and CEO Scott Porter shares some tips from his experience in adapting to market changes caused by COVID-19. 

 

  1. Find Partners Wherever You Can

During these troubling times, it’s critical to have an abundance mindset and realize the value of partners. Scott related the recent success of his “Quarantine Survival Kit”, which is produced in conjunction with two other local businesses and consists of churros, tostadas, mixed drinks, and a game called “Reverse Charades” (also produced by Scott – what a guy!). It’s been a hit, and proves there is so much potential in brand alliances right now.


  1. Explore New Product Options

Before COVID-19, San Diablos Churros was primarily a catering company. But they have shifted to be more accomodating during the pandemic and have implemented products such as take and bake churros, holiday themed kits, virtual catering, and even shipping products nationwide. Get creative!


  1. Celebrations Will Go On

People still have traditions and want to celebrate special occasions right now, it just looks different. Scott has a Cinco de Mayo kit, other restaurants have date night kits, how can you take advantage?


  1. Communicate – Interactions > Transactions

Regardless of what you do, your customers need to know about it. Connect in meaningful ways on social media, respond to reviews, take advantage of customer loyalty programs (Scott uses this nifty one called Ovation), and try to build relationships. People need human interaction right now, so show how your business is human!


  1. COVID-19 Crisis Opportunity

With all the uncertainty floating around, right now’s actually a great time to experiment and try new things! As Scott put it, “constraints and challenges are just this fertile ground for unbelievable innovation and creativity”. You know that idea you’ve had on the back burner for the last few months? Go for it! There’s no reason not to right now, and you never know what might happen!

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