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Pandemic Pivots: How Companies Adapted and Innovated

Pivots during the Pandemic: How Companies Adapted to the Changing World

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a radical change in the way people live, work, and travel. Businesses have had to make adjustments to remain afloat during these unprecedented times.

In this article, we will look at how some of the biggest companies pivoted their business strategies to stay relevant in the pandemic.

General Motors and Ford manufacturing ventilators

At the peak of the pandemic, the need for ventilators skyrocketed as hospitals struggled to meet the demand. General Motors and Ford stepped up to manufacture ventilators to help address the shortage.

They utilized their auto factories to produce these vital medical equipment pieces, which helped alleviate the strain on hospitals.

American Airlines offering home delivery of wine

The travel industry has taken a massive hit during the pandemic, with fewer people traveling due to restrictions. As a result, American Airlines had to find a new way to make use of their resources.

They started offering home delivery of wine to keep their employees engaged. This also served as a way to offer a unique service to their customers who are unable to fly.

Red Roof offering a day rate for workspace

With remote work becoming the new normal, Red Roof, the hotel chain, started offering a day rate for workspace. They turned their hotel rooms into workspaces to appeal to people looking for a change of scenery other than their own homes.

The day rate allowed people to book a room as an office, which includes Wi-Fi and a workspace.

Subway offering grocery delivery

During the pandemic, people were hesitant to go outside or shop in-person, which led to a rise in grocery delivery services. Subway capitalized on this by offering grocery delivery services in certain areas.

They started delivering fruits, vegetables, and bread in addition to their sandwiches, which helped fulfill the growing need for grocery delivery.

Virgin Atlantic Airways expanding cargo-only flights

The pandemic led to a reduction in the number of commercial flights due to travel restrictions and a decrease in passenger traffic. Virgin Atlantic expanded its cargo-only flights to cater to the increase in demand for air freight.

They utilized their empty planes to transport essential goods and medical supplies to destinations worldwide.

24 Hour Fitness offering outdoor workout options

With gyms closed, fitness enthusiasts were left without a viable option to work out. 24 Hour Fitness started offering outdoor workout options such as yoga, cardio, and weight training to keep their members active.

They transformed the parking lots of their gyms into outdoor workout zones, with equipment spaced out to allow for social distancing.

Uber and Walgreens partnering for free vaccine rides

Vaccine distribution has been a crucial aspect of fighting the pandemic, but various issues have arisen such as limited appointment opportunities and hesitancy from some individuals. Uber and Walgreens came together to offer free vaccine rides to help people get vaccinated, address vaccine hesitancy, and reduce transportation issues.

Impact of the Pandemic on American Airlines

The pandemic hit the airline industry hard, and American Airlines was no exception. In response to the pandemic, their in-flight wine service decreased by 80%, while alcohol service in coach sections ceased entirely.

Premium seat sales also decreased due to less business travel.


The pandemic has altered the way we live, work, and interact with each other. It has forced companies to adapt quickly and be creative in their approach to serving their customers.

From manufacturing ventilators to delivering wine, companies have found new ways of innovating their business models to stay relevant during these challenging times. Companies like American Airlines have felt the effects of the pandemic greatly, with fewer people flying and less demand for traditional services.

However, these trying times have also spurred innovative solutions, such as Red Roof’s workspaces and 24 Hour Fitness’s outdoor workouts. The crisis has shown how adaptable and resilient businesses can be during tough times.

3) Red Roof’s Work Under Our Roof Offer

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant disruptions in the workforce. Many employees have transitioned from a typical office-based environment to remote work from home.

While some have enjoyed the change, others have struggled to maintain their productivity levels due to distractions at home or a lack of a suitable workspace. Red Roof saw this as an opportunity and launched an offer called “Work Under Our Roof.”

Reduced day rate for a change of workspace

The Work Under Our Roof offer from Red Roof is a unique concept that allows individuals to book a hotel room for the day and utilize it as a workspace. The offer includes a reduced day rate, which is significantly lower than the typical overnight rate.

The rooms are designed specifically to accommodate work, with ample space and a comfortable work desk. This concept provides a change of scenery, which can significantly help productivity levels in individuals.

Communication package included

The Work Under Our Roof offer from Red Roof includes a complimentary communication package to ensure that individuals have everything they need to be productive. The communication package includes high-speed Wi-Fi, a desk with an ergonomic chair, and a lamp.

These amenities are crucial to provide a conducive workspace for individuals looking to work and be productive.

In-room coffee offered in select rooms

To further enhance the work experience, Red Roof offers in-room coffee in select rooms. Coffee is a staple for many working professionals, and having a fresh cup of coffee readily available can significantly enhance productivity.

This additional amenity ensures that individuals do not have to step out of the hotel room for a coffee break, which can further reduce the risk of any possible exposure to COVID-19. The Work Under Our Roof offer from Red Roof is a novel idea that has gained significant traction among individuals who are looking for a change of workspace.

This package accommodates remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and students who require a quiet and comfortable workspace. The concept makes sense because the traditional hotel model relies heavily on overnight stays and occupancy rates, which have significantly decreased due to the pandemic.

4) Subway’s Grocery Delivery

In recent times, grocery delivery has become increasingly popular, with people looking for more ways to minimize their exposure to the outside world due to the pandemic. The demand for online grocery shopping skyrocketed, as people sought out more convenient, hassle-free ways to shop for their groceries.

Subway, famous for its sandwiches, was one company that picked up on this trend and launched grocery delivery through its app.

Contact-free curbside pickup and home delivery offered

Subway’s grocery delivery is made through contact-free curbside pickup and home delivery. The service guarantees customers a safe and convenient way to purchase their groceries while minimizing their exposure to the virus.

With curbside pickup, customers can order groceries using the Subway app and select the pickup option. When their order is ready, they can drive to the location, text their order number, and the order will be provided curbside.

Home delivery through the Subway app is also available, making grocery shopping even more hassle-free.

Limited product selection

The Subway grocery delivery service has a limited product selection, focusing mainly on fresh produce, bread, and meats. The company has carefully curated its list of offerings to ensure that customers get essential food items that are fresh and of good quality.

The menu includes items like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, deli meats, cheeses, and bread. By limiting the product selection, Subway can ensure that all the items are fresh, and the order can be fulfilled efficiently.

Subway’s grocery delivery service has been well-received by customers, with many praising the company for providing them with an alternative to traditional in-store shopping. With the ongoing pandemic causing disruptions in everyday life, customers are increasingly looking for ways to make their lives easier and minimize their exposure to the virus.

Subway’s grocery delivery service is one way of doing that, and it is likely that more businesses may follow suit in the future. As the trend towards online shopping grows, it is crucial for businesses to adapt and find ways to provide services that meet the needs of their customers.

5) Virgin Atlantic Cargo-Only Flights

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the travel industry but also the logistics industry. With a decline in the demand for commercial flights, substantial capacity has become available for air cargo transportation.

Virgin Atlantic recognized the need to transport essential goods, including pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment, and thus, launched cargo-only flights.

The first cargo-only flight carried pharmaceutical and medical products

Virgin Atlantic’s first cargo-only flight left London Heathrow in March 2020, carrying medical and pharmaceutical products to New York. The flight delivered much-needed medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), to the front lines of the pandemic in New York City.

Since then, Virgin Atlantic has shifted most of its operations to cargo-only flights, transporting essential goods worldwide.

Expanded offerings include Fast Ride and Cool Chain

Virgin Atlantic has expanded its offerings to cater for the increased demand for air freight. The Fast Ride service guarantees priority handling of time-critical shipments, ensuring that products are delivered on time.

Likewise, the Cool Chain service ensures that perishable or temperature-sensitive products are transported under suitable conditions to maintain their quality and freshness. These new services have attracted many customers, including pharmaceutical and medical companies that need to transport temperature-sensitive products.

Virgin Atlantic’s decision to pivot from passenger flights to cargo operations illustrates how businesses must be innovative and adaptable to overcome disruptions in their industries. The pandemic has presented significant challenges to the logistics industry, but through innovation and creative problem-solving, solutions have been found.

6) 24 Hour Fitness Outdoor Workouts

For many people, fitness is an essential aspect of their lives, and the closures of gyms due to the pandemic created significant challenges. In response to this, 24 Hour Fitness started offering outdoor workout options designed to provide a safe and fulfilling fitness experience while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Select California and Oregon clubs offering outdoor fitness options

24 Hour Fitness provides outdoor workout options in select California and Oregon clubs. These outdoor fitness classes are conducted in the parking lots of select gyms, providing ample space for social distancing and fresh air for a healthy exercise environment.

Customers have the option to attend live outdoor classes or virtual classes through the 24GO app.

Touch-free check-in using 24GO app

To further enhance the safety and convenience of the outdoor workouts, 24 Hour Fitness introduced touch-free check-in. The touch-free check-in process consists of using the 24GO app to scan a QR code at the entrance.

This eliminates unnecessary contact and ensures a smooth and efficient process for gym-goers and staff. It is clear that the pandemic has reshaped the way fitness is delivered, and 24 Hour Fitness’s outdoor options are a clear reflection of this trend.

While the traditional gym model has been disrupted, innovation and flexibility have enabled businesses to pivot and find new ways of delivering their services to customers.


The pandemic has presented significant challenges to businesses, and companies have been forced to adapt and find innovative solutions to stay afloat. The pandemic has led to shifts in industries such as logistics and fitness, and companies have responded by providing essential services, such as pharmaceutical transportation and outdoor workouts.

The ability to adapt to unprecedented times defines how successful a business can be, and these companies demonstrate an innovative spirit to survive and thrive.

7) Uber and Walgreens Vaccine Ride Partnership

One of the critical steps in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus is the wide-spread vaccination of the population. Transportation to and from vaccine appointments has become a significant barrier for many people, particularly for individuals who are not able to access public transportation or do not own a car.

In response to this, Uber and Walgreens partnered to provide free vaccine rides to individuals in select cities.

Uber offering free rides to vaccine appointments in select cities

As part of the partnership, Uber is offering free rides to eligible individuals who need to travel to Walgreens locations for their vaccine appointments. The offer is available in select cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and El Paso.

Eligible recipients include individuals who cannot afford transportation to their vaccine appointments, seniors, and people with disabilities. Part of Uber’s pledge to offer 10 million free or discounted rides

The initiative from Uber and Walgreens is part of Uber’s pledge to offer 10 million free or discounted rides to vaccine centers in underserved communities.

This pledge aims to address the transportation-related barriers to vaccine access that many people are facing. Uber’s commitment to this pledge demonstrates its dedication to using its resources and mobility platform for the benefit of the wider community.

Pilot program rolling out in select cities

The partnership between Uber and Walgreens is starting small, with a pilot program in select cities. However, the success of the program will lead to its expansion on a wider scale across the United States.

The pilot program provides critical insights into the effectiveness of the partnership, the demand for the service, and the improvements that need to be made to ensure the program is successful. The Uber/Walgreens partnership illustrates how companies have stepped up to help alleviate a significant issue that has arisen due to the pandemic.

People need to access vaccines to protect themselves and their communities, but many individuals face hurdles that preclude them from getting vaccinated. The transportation available through the partnership helps to remove the barriers to vaccine access that individuals face.

Addressing transportation-related barriers to vaccine access is critical to broadening the vaccination campaign’s reach. Uber is using its resources and its mobility platform to help bring about an end to the pandemic.

As the partnership rolls out across the United States, it is essential to recognize the potential benefits that can result from such public-private partnerships centered on social purpose and impact. In these unprecedented times, businesses have had to adapt quickly to survive, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought disruption to many industries.

Companies that have been successful have demonstrated adaptability, resilience, and innovation. Among the innovative solutions adopted by businesses are

General Motors and Ford manufacturing ventilators, American Airlines delivering wine, Red Roof Hotels offering workspace day rates, and Subway providing grocery delivery.

24 Hour Fitness has started offering outdoor workouts in some locations, and Uber and Walgreens have partnered to provide free transportation to vaccine appointments in select cities. The pandemic has presented significant challenges to businesses, but through creativity, companies have adapted their practices to remain relevant and have contributed to mitigating the impact of the pandemic.

These innovative solutions teach us that creativity and adaptability are keys to survival in an unpredictable environment.

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