Eight days a week
The pandemic, at least temporarily, transformed the manner in which business was conducted across many industries. Ours was no different. The “Butterfly Effect” manifested itself in the floral industry in a number of ways. Home bound consumers greatly increased the demand for items such as baking pans, measuring cups and even wine and spirit bottles, thus putting a tremendous strain on glass production, leading to a prolonged shortage of certain styles of vases. Restaurant demand for paper take-out bags roiled the market for other paper products such as cub and gift bags etc.
With the pandemic mostly in the rearview mirror, we are yet again faced with another impact that was not necessarily foreseen. The number of weddings, proms and special events that were canceled over 2020 & 2021 was significant. Now, as many consumers look to reschedule these events, it is nowhere near as simple as it may have been three or four years ago due to the following:
- The events that were canceled and subsequently rescheduled, took a large bite out of available function/venue facility dates and two years of events have been condensed into one calendar year.
- More people have begun to travel and as such, blocks of rooms that may have been available for destination weddings are no longer there.
- Restaurants have seen a surge of activity with some electing to forgo events and cater to their week to week clientele on the weekends.
- As we have seen in our own operations, in many cases, the labor and staffing to accommodate this surge of events is simply not there.
All of this has resulted in a sea change in how events are now scheduled. There was a time when a Friday night wedding was viewed as being somewhat out of the mainstream, but now the calendar has been elongated even further. In order to secure dates, weddings/events are now routinely being scheduled throughout the week, thus considerably increasing the date availability for those looking to plan.
Although unconventional, it makes a great deal of sense as it provides all parties involved from the caterer, photographer, venue and yes, florists and event planners, the opportunity to spread the week out. Even moving to weekday nights has not totally solved the issue and some events, including weddings, are now being scheduled during the day on weekdays. In addition to having the ability to pick a date closer to what they had originally intended, the costs from the venues are generally much more favorable.
These changes will ultimately have an impact on how you may need to adjust labor and product schedules, as this trend does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Projecting this out into the third and fourth quarters, we will most likely see holiday parties take the same route and for the same reasons.
A new tradition borne out of the pandemic may be here to stay and that may not be a bad thing.
Nick Fronduto is the Chief Operating Officer at Jacobson Floral in Boston. He has served as president of the Wholesale Florist and Florist Suppliers Association as well as on the Board of Directors for the Society of American Florists.