by Heidi Riley
Lobster on the Wharf, Charlottetown’s premier seafood restaurant, is home to MacKinnon’s Lobster Pound & Market, as well as PEI Seafood Box.
“Before COVID-19 hit, owner Steven Larkin and I were worried about finding enough staff for the upcoming tourist season,” says Jeremy MacFayden, General Manager. “All of a sudden, we were worried about how we would be able to keep our core staff.”
They came up with an idea to expand their delivery of fresh PEI lobster, mussels, and oysters to customer’s doors. “We reached out to the great team at Volume 18, a Charlottetown marketing firm, who helped us build the PEI Seafood Box website and online sales platform.”
Charlottetown native and Toronto-based entrepreneur Amber Mac ordered a custom seafood box for her dad for Father’s day, and shared it on Twitter. When Arlene Dickenson from Dragon’s Den added her voice, sales went even higher.
“It really helped our business. At the height of the pandemic, seafood market sales were up 129 percent from the same time last year.”
Staff are important
“In 2019 we employed 60 people; in 2020 we had 16. We had to keep our core team onboard, including our executive chef, seafood market staff, and some of our cooks and front of house staff, because they are instrumental to our business. That is why we opened our doors.
“We want to provide for our team. Our business isn’t what it is without them. You have to take care of your team, or you won’t have a business.
“The federal wage subsidy was a great help in keeping our staff. Government supports and consumer confidence helped us succeed.”
“Use the pros,” says Jeremy. “There are a lot of marketing firms, photographers, and web developers out there who can help you adapt and grow. PEI Seafood Box would not be what it is without the team at Volume 18.”
For more information, visit www.peiseafoodbox.com.