Kornel Grygo, CEO of Tasty Catering, is not panicking.
Despite being in an industry hit hard by the global pandemic, many of the decisions he’s made over the last few months have been surprisingly easy.
Kornel may only be a year into his role as CEO, but he’s no stranger to Small Giants-style leadership. Tasty Catering has long been an exemplary Small Giant company and its founder, Tom Walter, is a respected expert in purpose-driven leadership. As Kornel worked his way up from delivery driver to Chief Revenue Officer, he was also learning what it means to be a Small Giant.
Before stepping into his new role as Tasty’s CEO in 2019, Kornel completed a leadership certification program with the Small Giants Community. He was prepared to lead, but he certainly didn’t expect everything he’d learned to be put to the test so soon.
Transparency builds trust and combats fear
When there’s bad news in the workplace, purpose-driven leaders combat fear and misinformation with transparency, facts, and education. Tasty Catering is an open-book management company, so all team members understand the company’s finances and they’re used to taking charge to solve problems.
This situation was no different: Kornel took the position that the more everyone knows, the more they can help out. From company financials to up-to-date information on the pandemic, the leadership team communicates with the entire team on a daily basis.
“Communication is critical,” says Kornel. “There was a lot of fear and uncertainty at first, but we have a lot of trust here. We’re open and honest with everyone: we will be here, we’re going to take care of you, day by day.”
The pandemic hit food businesses particularly hard, and by now, many of Tasty Catering’s competitors have closed up shop. Kornel had every reason to do the same — when Illinois’s stay-at-home order went into place, their catering business dried up nearly overnight. But the leadership team didn’t even consider it.
“People depend on Tasty Catering for their livelihoods,” says Kornel. “It’s not just about us — it’s our families, our communities, and our partners. They built this company, and at the end of the day, we want to take care of them.”
Tasty Catering has nearly 200 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees, and they haven’t laid off a single person. Salaried team members are taking a ten percent pay cut, and full-time hourly workers are guaranteed at least twenty hours per week. Because they practice open-book management, every single team member understands why this decision was made, and it isn’t about making money.