Caffé Gelato’s Successful Pivot During the Pandemic

Published On January 22, 2020

Ryan German, the owner of Caffé Gelato Restaurant and Catering, has been with the Delaware Small Business Development Center since the year 2000 when he opened his restaurant at only 22 years old! He has also worked with the BUAD444 class student teams as well.

Ryan started his business career running a successful student painters franchise where he was able to save his money to open up his restaurant on the Main Street of University of Delaware’s campus, Caffé Gelato. The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere, vibrant bar, Wine Spectator Award-winning wine cellar, delicious homemade artisan gelato and house-crafted pasta.

Ryan was a young entrepreneur with aspirations of opening up a restaurant after his trip back from Europe where he studied abroad. He came to the SBDC with an impressive business plan, especially for someone 22 years old, seeking aid in obtaining a loan.

When the coronavirus pandemic tore its way through many small businesses, Ryan sought aid from the SBDC. The SBDC spent many hours with Ryan helping him apply for the disaster assistance funding and assisted in his pivot during the pandemic. The SBDC ensured they made themselves available to him all hours of the night and weekends to help him get the funding. He provided his employees with a variety of different jobs to avoid layoffs during the pandemic, but still required additional capital. He did an interview with CNBC saying the PPP loan provided a “lifeline” to help him through these unprecedented times.

Part of his success during the pandemic was an idea he saw from restaurants in cities, involving the idea of greenhouses during the cold winter months. These glass greenhouse infrastructures can keep customers warm at 70 degrees, even if it’s a frigid 20 degrees outside! These greenhouses encourage outdoor dining to continue even during the freezing winter months, and appeals to guests who are wary about indoor dining.

Not only did he execute the idea of greenhouses, but he also created the concept of virtual wine dinners over zoom. This interactive event is held over zoom with expert hosts and the link is sent out to customers who ordered the dinner. The dinners come with an entree, dessert, and wine with the options of dining in or picking up. This concept was successful in providing another socially distanced option to people who might be nervous about indoor dining.

Check out to schedule a reservation and experience the greenhouse dining experience!

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The Delaware SBDC, a unit of the University of Delaware’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP), is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State of Delaware. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or the sponsoring agencies. All programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. As equal opportunity/affirmative action employers, the SBA, the University of Delaware and the State of Delaware are all committed to assuring equal opportunity to all persons. The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and Title IX institution. For the University’s complete non-discrimination statement, please visit - powered by Enfold WordPress Theme