the main event is still the main event: sticking to your guns through a pandemic.





Tom Allchurch



Whatever you were aiming to be great at you still need to be great at. So stay focussed on serving customers even better and improving faster than competition.





On March 12, I was in London following investor meetings for Georgie & Tom’s our new US start up, which will provide the highest quality fully prepared meals, direct to consumer. Boris Johnson had just given a pretty serious briefing and the Covid news from New York, where we mainly live, was looking pretty bad too.


The world was going into lockdown, probably in the next couple of days. “Either you get on a plane in the morning and come to New York, or I get on a plane to London” said Sue. "After that we are going to be stuck in one place or the other, for however long this takes.”


Making Tough Calls


I flew back to New York. We have 3 kids and grand parents in the UK, and we have another daughter in the US, and the life and business that we have been building here since 2017. It was a tough call, but so far, fingers crossed, hopefully, a good one.


Covid has had extraordinary effects on most businesses, some good, but mostly bad. For D2C meals, luckily the effect has been extraordinarily positive: a friend of mine, where I advise, saw his Farm to Table business go from $1m run rate to $10m in 4 weeks. The issues now are predicting where it will settle in the next phase, and figuring out how to selectively strengthen the team.


Launching by Zoom


For Georgie & Tom's our existing investors have doubled their commitments, but we couldn’t start building our production kitchen until the lockdown eased, and George still can't get to New York. Our way through is maybe to partner with an up market corporate caterer to get to launch actually quicker than we were planning. Food tastings and Ops Management by Zoom.


I am also involved in a new plant based cheese in the UK, which we have actually launched in lockdown - quite literally sales calls and listings by Zoom.


I am delighted to be an advisor with All Together and glad to be able to share perspectives and learning with businesses, all of whom are going through extraordinary times.


My main reflections, 3 months in:


1. Stick to your Knitting. Whatever you were aiming to be great at you still need to be great at. So stay focussed on serving customers even better and improving faster than competition.


2. The Main event is still the main event. The biggest value creation opportunity for you long term has probably not changed. Most new opportunities are still a side show, so don't get distracted.


3. Move ahead, despite all the barriers and problems, faster and better than others.


4. Manage a realistic P&L in real time. In many venture businesses there is a sketchy understanding of profit, and no realistic road map to it. The first dot.com bubble saw to those companies then. The Covid recession will see to them now.


Tom Allchurch is a Volunteer Advisor with All Together. He is CEO & Co Founder Georgie & Tom’s (previously Charlie Bighams, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, Amazon and Unilever).