Guests can expect fresh, made-from-scratch food including cheeseburgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches and a rotating pizza menu with a build-your-own option. The homestyle station will featuring traditional catering options with a protein, fish, starch, vegetable and roll, Richardson said. Gluten free options will be available.
“It’s a little bit different from what people are used to in this type of cafeteria environment,” he said. “Once they come, they will be able to see and taste the difference.”
The Richardsons started their journey in the food industry in 2013 as a meal prep company and eventually morphed into a catering company called Rich Taste Catering. Gerald has a background in marketing and business and Clarece previously worked in criminal justice. Richardson recalled feeding lunch to his wife’s staff at her previous job, which led them to being asked to cater. Next thing they knew it “started getting out of control.”
For the last year, Rich Taste Catering has grown exponentially, according to Richardson. The company has received exclusive contracts with large venues and have also launched RFFG, a food service solutions company which has expanded their catering horizons. RFFG is the parent company of Rich Taste Catering.
The opportunity to open the marketplace allows them to showcase their ability to run a cafeteria. In the past, Richardson said they serviced schools and are now looking into university food service. He added he and his wife have been eyeing the empty space on North Main Street and are looking forward to having a bigger space with more equipment and street access.
“I think the driver was more so that we didn’t have a retail outlet and we have a lot of customers that really want our food, but don’t necessarily have a reason to hire for 50 or 100 to 200 people,” Richardson said.
Rich Taste Catering will operate out of the kitchen that is used for the RFFG Marketplace. The company was previously operating out of the Dayton Women’s Club.
“I definitely think this a building block into what we want to get into because we want to venture into more of the food service, cafeteria style operations in corporations, factories and schools,” Richardson said.
“Even though we’ve been downtown for multiple years, I think seeing people at events is completely different from seeing people make the decision to support you on their own instead of one person deciding all 200 people are going to eat (certain items) today,” Richardson said. “It’s a different experience.”
The building the marketplace is housed in at 110 N. Main St. is currently for sell, but Premier Health officials say the have seen considerable interest from prospective buyers. The company stated in January that a key reason for the decision is the continuing change from in-office to remote work originally triggered by the pandemic.
The company noted the number of people working at the Premier System Support office complex on any given day has declined from more than 1,000 prior to the pandemic to approximately 200 today, including tenants.
“We are delighted to see the Marketplace reopen and provide an additional daytime meal option for our employees and for the downtown community,” said a Premier Health spokesperson.
“I think with the building not being at full capacity, there are enough buildings around and (the) growth downtown, we are excited about it, so I think we will be fine,” Richardson said.
Carmen’s Deli & Bistro, located in the lobby of the Stratacache Tower on West Second Street across from the marketplace, closed at the end of April. Owner Haitham Imam was not able to give additional details or comments regarding the closure.
Boston Stoker Coffee Co. announced on Monday its downtown Dayton location at 34 W. Second St. will close on Friday, May 26 due to an ongoing drop in foot traffic since the coronavirus pandemic and more businesses working remotely.
The marketplace is a great opportunity to pull from downtown and the Greater Dayton area, Richardson said.
The RFFG Marketplace will be open 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is a cashless operation. For more information, visit www.richtastecatering.com.