What are the benefits to doing the right thing? The right thing generally involves more work than shortcuts, costs more money than shortcuts and reduces your competitive advantage against competitors that take shortcuts. So why not just take the shortcut?

Fortunately, many people in the meat industry don’t see it that way. When the Coronavirus reached the United States and caused wholesale changes to American life, conscientious companies went out of their way to protect their employees. They changed shifts, changed operations, and in some cases changed their whole business model in order to stay in operation in the safest way possible.

What did they gain by that? Loyalty, for one thing. If your employer has gone out of the way to keep you safe, then you are more inclined to stay loyal to that company. If also gives you customer loyalty. Let me explain.

In recent months, several small processors have had to close their operations for a few days because of a positive COVID-19 test. Unfortunately, given the wide spread of the Coronavirus, such closures are inevitable in the small processor sector. When those alerts about closings have been posted on social media, the overwhelming response from customers was that of concern. People who have been customers of these companies for months or years write to offer their prayers, their best wishes, their support. Nobody accused them of negligence or vowed to boycott the company.

These meat companies that voluntarily close down are missing out on sales and potentially throwing away product. They easily could have kept the positive test under wraps and gone on with business as usual. But because they did the right thing, they have strengthened the support of their workers and customers. When they have announced their reopening, their Facebook posts were flooded with customers who were happy for them and planning their next trip to the store.

The response to the Coronavirus pandemic among the small processor community has been admirable. When large processors make headlines for all the wrong reasons, small companies have entrenched their good standing in their communities by avoiding shortcuts. We’re not over with this pandemic yet – not by a long shot. The vaccine news is promising, but now is not the time to start slacking off. Maintain the same vigilance and concern that you have shown since the start of this pandemic. Continue to do the right things, even if you have to close things down for a quarantine and deep clean. You will end up stronger in the long run.

Have something to say? Email Sam at gazdziaks@bnpmedia.com.