Stories of Resilience | Fat Family Restaurant Group

We are excited to share some stories of resilience during Covid-19 from our FBC Family Business Members. Over the next few weeks, you will learn about businesses in various industries nimbly facing challenges through innovation and compassion. First up is a family that has been serving the Sacramento area for over 80 years – The Fat Family Restaurant Group.

All Fat Family restaurants, as expected, switched to a to-go only model the day of the mandated closures. The to-go team stepped up and successfully responded to the increased demand for takeout orders. A more challenging situation was paving a path for a return to in-door dining.  Once restaurant reopening guidelines were released, the executive team quickly got to work. They assembled a protocol binder for each employee which contained the duties of each role in the restaurant, how to handle proper disinfecting measures, opening dates and hours, new seating arrangements, and other steps towards reopening.

Kevin Fat, CEO of Fat Family Restaurant Group pictured here at a past FBC Family Forum Event. Kevin served on the FBC Board of Directors and was the Membership Committee chair for several years.

CEO of the Fat Family Restaurant Group Kevin Fat and the rest of the executive team presented this information at a pre-opening meeting to help ensure all staff, leads, and managers were thoroughly educated on how to move forward with in-door operations.

Another struggle they faced was getting many employees back to work. Yes, the restaurants were permitted to operate, but the California Department of Public Health requirements only allowed 50 percent occupancy or less, making compensation for their employees difficult. (Fewer people = fewer hours and tips.)

With the Cares Act providing $600 Pandemic Additional Compensation to unemployment benefits, many employees were, in fact, making more money on unemployment than if they returned to work.  Compounding the issue, some were hesitant to return for risk of exposure. Fat’s responded to this issue by increasing communication, respecting each employee’s decision to work or not, showing gratitude when due, and offering an incentive for those who did return to work. This bonus program was a way for the company to demonstrate its appreciation to hardworking employees for working during a pandemic.

Additionally, Fat’s is doing its best to maintain morale with their employees by increasing communication between the executive team, management staff, and employees and making more visits to each restaurant to build a personal connection with employees. “Weekly Zoom meetings between the executive team and management staff are very important,” said CEO Kevin Fat.

“We want to maintain an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable and supported,” Fat continued. “When our team is successful, we’re successful. Everyone has a part in the restaurant.”

Learn more about Fat’s Family Restaurant Group

Order Take Out Here:




Stories of Resilience | Bender Insurance Solutions

This week we are sharing some of the challenges the team at Bender Insurance Solutions (BIS), is the largest and only employee-owned, family-led commercial insurance brokerage in the Sacramento region, has been facing during Covid-19.

Not unlike most companies, in March when the mandated closures were issued, BIS had to quickly switch to remote working. Luckily, 90 percent of their employees were already set up at home – but the real challenge was finding the balance between communicating for work while respecting each person’s home environment.

“Everyone was working under different circumstances and at different times so we tried to be flexible with each person’s situation,” said President Maggie Bender-Johnson.

Their teams were equipped with the right tools to operate, and the leadership team’s weekly meetings were very effective in relaying information, touching base, and strategizing how to continue operating in their ‘new normal’.

Maggie Bender-Johnson, President of Bender Insurance Solutions. Maggie is a current FBC Board Member and Membership Committee member. Previously Maggie served on FBC’s Program Committee and lead the NextGen Affinity Group for several years.

Missing the in-person office interaction, BIS looked for a way to help boost morale and connect with their team….and the Fun Committee was created.  (“A godsend,” says Maggie.) They coordinated unique and exciting ways to engage with their coworkers – one of which included a virtual ‘Spirit Week’. Employees were encouraged to dress up in attire to fit the day’s theme – sports, superheroes, even wigs! Something as small and lighthearted as a Spirit Week got many employees involved, interacting, and laughing.

Another way the Bender Insurance Solutions was able to keep their team connected was by continuing the tradition of participating in the Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk. Although this year they had to attend virtually, there was more participation than previous years. The team raised significant funds to find a cure, comfort, and support for those living with breast cancer and advocate for access to care for all.

“We are focusing on our team’s feelings and mental space,” said Bender. “Being flexible and understanding of what our employees are going through is very important.”

Learn more about Bender insurance Solutions here.


Family Business Insight Survey 2020

FBC is conducting an important family business survey. We need your feedback and appreciate you taking the time to respond! 

This important and timely survey will help us all understand the conditions, sentiments, and trends within our local business community – which will hopefully: 1) be a gauge of progress, and 2) aid in decision making. Today and always, FBC is dedicated to supporting YOU and your family business and counting on your feedback to help us plan for future programming.

Once we have compiled the responses, we will share our findings with you and the community as a way to help our family and local businesses find clarity and gain insight during these uncertain times. All responses are and will remain anonymous. Everyone’s thoughts and opinions count! We look forward to hearing from you. Click here to complete the brief survey.


Survey closes July 28, 2020.

FBC is Here to Help You Grow & Prosper

When the shutdown hit Sacramento in March, FBC took immediate action to create, gather and disseminate important information and­­ resources to our members. Our recent webinars and other virtual resources have been popular, well-received and crucial to the survival of so many family businesses on the brink.

While you are now likely concentrating on the operations of your business, we know that the challenges that are unique to family businesses will be lurking when you are back on steady ground – family dynamics, estate planning, taxes, and succession. And FBC will be here to help. Our Affinity Groups and other networking opportunities will resume in some fashion and afford you the thought leadership on best practices that you have come to value. It has been reaffirming to see the value of FBC membership in action during this time of crisis, an exercise that inspires us to continue our outreach.

If you have a colleague that could benefit from membership, please connect them to FBC Executive Director, Stella Premo at or 916-771-3220.

Generations Conference 2021

Generations Family Business Conference – same agenda, same location, new date!  We are pleased to confirm our 4th Annual Generations Family Business Conference will take place on January 14 and 15, 2021.

We’ll safely convene at the Sacramento Sheraton to hear from family business leaders that are paving the roads of success, longevity and innovation and take advantage of virtual opportunities to maintain a safe meeting.

If you previously signed up for Generations, your registration has been automatically transferred to the January event. There are still a few seats available for anyone that would like to bring along a few family members or colleagues.

Visit for an updated schedule and more information.

FBC Leadership: Message to our Members

Dear Members,

As we rally together in service of our member businesses, it has been a privilege to witness the innovation, camaraderie and sheer fight that has been displayed in our region. From teleworking through Zoom to ramping up production and pivoting in the workspace, our members have shown creativity, patience and resilience as many face unfathomable changes to their business models.

In this newsletter, you’ll read a bit about how our members responded to the pandemic and what we all have to look forward to. No matter the business climate, our goal remains the same – to support family businesses in their pursuit of growth and success.

As innovators ourselves, we have several existing and new programs on the horizon. As always, please be aware of our Affinity Groups, Generations Conference, and virtual networking and learning opportunities as they arise.

Hope to see you virtually or in-person soon!

Steve Fleming, Board President

River City Bank

Stella Premo, Executive Director

The Capital Region Family Business Center

Thank You to our Member ROCKSTARS!

As a highly volunteer-driven organization, FBC can’t say enough about our Family Business Members and Technical Advisor Members who stepped-up, donated time and energy, and their expertise to help get hundreds of family businesses in our region through these turbulent times. FBC will continue to be here for YOUR family businesses through the tough times, the milestones, and the successes!  We are #familybusinessstrong! 

Take a moment to get to know our MEMBER ROCKSTARS as we say THANK YOU!

Kay Brooks, Weintraub Tobin

How has the pandemic affected your outlook?

It reminds me that things can change in a flash. More than ever, we should appreciate all that’s good, do what needs to be done, and keep in mind that most people are doing the best that they can. We don’t know what hardships others are facing right now.

What are some of the new trends you are seeing in your industry?

One trend is a renewed focus on health care directives and related topics.

What do you value most from your FBC membership and participation in the organization?

FBC offers a wide range of amazing resources to its members, and I encourage my clients with family businesses to join and reap the benefits. By participating and hearing the members’ concerns and interests, I learn information that is useful in my practice for all my clients. And I find that FBC members are a great group of people!

Contact Kay Brooks

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Ben Brown, B|F|B|A

BFBA has been a long time member and supporter of the FBC. Ben was tapped or as he likes to call it, “voluntold” to step in and share his research and knowledge on PPP and how to navigate the ever-changing rules and regulations. Ben’s understanding of PPP and his ease in explaining complex changes has been invaluable.

Contact Ben Brown

Riley Gardner, River City Bank

Riley Gardner has been a member of the Programs+Events Committee for over a year and leads the NextGen Group. Riley has been invaluable in quickly understanding, preparing, and presenting all things PPP to our members and the community at large. All of our PPP programs had the highest attendance rates, primarily due to Riley’s ability to translate confusing information in a clear, insightful manner.

Contact Riley Gardner

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Robert L. Rediger, Esq., Rediger Labor Law

How has the pandemic affected your clients’ businesses?

We are a law firm that represents companies in labor and employment-related matters. Our unionized clients have had to lay off employees under their collective bargaining agreements resulting in numerous grievances being filed by the unions alleging that employees were having their hours reduced or being laid off out of seniority. Non-union employers have had to deal with employees wanting to self-quarantine, assuming they would telecommute and continue to receive regular pay and benefits, requesting specific protective equipment to continue working, and requesting to be laid off to collect generous unemployment benefits.

How has the pandemic affected your outlook?

The courts have been closed so new lawsuits cannot be filed, but we anticipate employment-related lawsuits being filed alleging employers’ failure to reimburse expenses incurred when working at home, to grant employees’ requests for reasonable accommodations when working during the coronavirus, to pay overtime, to pay a premium for missed meal or rest periods, etc.

What is your clients’ most common pandemic/shutdown question/issue and how do you help them solve it?

How does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that President Trump signed on March 18, 2020 affect my business. The law requires covered employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work due to specified coronavirus-related conditions, and it expands certain protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act to all employers employing 500 or less employees.

What are some of the new trends you are seeing in your industry?

Attorneys are presenting seminars on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Paycheck Protection Program.

What do you value most from your FBC membership and participation in the organization?

The welcoming people in FBC and their willingness to share information regarding family businesses.

Contact Robert Rediger

Curt Rocca, DCA Partners

How has the pandemic affected your clients’ businesses?

The gamut has been very broad. Most of our clients are B2B and they have fared pretty well. When you layer in the benefits they have garnered through the PPP program, most expect 2020 net income to broadly come in on plan, and expect a recovery into 2021. Obviously, this is a bit polarized and binary depending on industry- with some B2C or non-essential businesses with difficulty shifting to a remote workforce are broadly and deeply struggling.

How has the pandemic affected your outlook?

Like all shocks, there will be winners and losers. In addition, there are likely to be both near-term shifts and long-term systemic trends. I personally believe that we are likely to encounter a tough Q3 as the retail and B2C segment goes through a shift, unemployment benefits begin to wane, and PPP proceeds are exhausted. That said, there will be winners who are well-positioned, or are nimble enough to pivot, to capitalize on these changes.

What is your clients’ most common pandemic/shutdown question/issue and how do you help them solve it?

Initially, it was around unemployment, workshare and PPP. Now it is shifting to return to work policies, liability to companies if employees get sick, best practices to promote employee engagement in a remote (or hybrid) work environment, etc.

What are some of the new trends you are seeing in your industry?

Due diligence, management meetings and even site visits are now being done via Zoom or Teams meetings.

What do you value most from your FBC membership and participation in the organization?

Opportunity to work, interact with, and learn from, various generations of our region’s top family businesses- and trying to be helpful to them as I am able.

Contact Curt Rocca

Kim Silvers, Silvers HR

Kim Silvers is an active member of the Programs + Events Committee. She has played an active role in planning previous Family Forum Events and also led the charge last year in launching our webinar series. Kim is a trusted technical advisor and always strives to help the committee develop the best programs possible for our membership.

Contact Kim Silvers

Nathan Torinus, Genovese Burford & Brothers

How has the pandemic affected your clients’ businesses?

It’s a broad range from hardly impacted beyond the working from home shift to near total erasure of revenue.

How has the pandemic affected your outlook?

We are a financial advisor, so the movement of the stock market directly affects our clients and our revenues. Going forward, in the short-term at least, we believe that downside risks to the market outweigh the upside. The market, led by growth stocks, has had a great run from the recent bottom on March 23, and we are getting a little concerned that the S&P 500 is pricing in a quicker economic recovery than our base case. So, we expect turbulence and some setbacks before we feel like we’re back on “solid” ground. The prevailing sentiment is uncertainty, which makes it hard to plan and act with confidence.

What is your clients’ most common pandemic/shutdown question/issue and how do you help them solve it?

Lots of clients want to know what the market is going to do over the next six months. We spend a lot of time researching the economy and markets and other leading thinkers in those areas, check what we learn against our own knowledge and experience, and try to give our clients our best take on the dynamics that will matter while reminding them that even experts can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen.

What are some of the new trends you are seeing in your industry?

Accelerating of digital and virtual service offerings.

What do you value most from your FBC membership and participation in the organization?

The opportunity to interact with high-quality people.


FBC Member Stories of Resilience

While the impact of the COVID shutdown was fast and furious, it was no surprise to us to see the response of our member businesses just as quickly. Our members are as varied as our region itself, but the effects on their business models, personnel, and financial performance is a shared experience.

Along with a shortage of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, you probably also noticed the bare shelves in the rice aisle. Lundberg Family Farms was already facing an increase in demand due to the bankruptcy of a leading private label supplier and had made plans to “plant all we could plant”.

“We felt confident that our excess planting would cover that surge,” remembered VP of Administration Tim Schultz. Had Lundberg’s sales executive not put the brakes on the pipeline, the supply would have been depleted by June.

In fact, February was a great month. Then COVID-19 hit and demand surged.

How much? It tripled, sending the team into a scramble to learn how to, for the first time, restrict sales. Because rice is a crop and inherently in finite supply, had Lundberg’s sales executive not put the brakes on the pipeline, the supply would have been depleted by June. To put product on the grocery shelves and fill the immediate need, the team quickly pivoted to prioritizing shipping rice in stock and redirecting from restaurant to retail.

Tim Schultz, VP of Administration Lundberg Family Farms

Inside the Lundberg Family Farms greenhouse.

Coupled with the arduous task of managing inventory during an unprecedented situation – even Lundberg’s 83-year history hadn’t prepared the family for business during a pandemic – was managing an essential business with 300 employees with little insight or direction, at least early on.

“Every day there was something new from the FDA and CDC, in the thinking of how to keep everyone safe.” – Tim Schultz.

Lundberg switched up the shift schedule, production lines and sanitization protocols, all while trying to maintain morale and enforce safe behaviors. The company’s weekly updates to employees help, as do the updated testing information, waived telemed copays and ‘thank you’ pay.

Of course, challenges remain. Many employees do not have access to childcare and, with twice as many people cooking at home, executives scrapped plans to launch a new snack product and instead are focusing on how to do the most good with a limited resource. Spring 2020 plantings were higher than ever before, limited only by the land and water available.

But in the days of COVID, financial forecasting and supply chain management are more like exercises in futility. Explains Schultz, “How do you keep your expenses in line if you support anticipated need with higher volume and the need doesn’t materialize?  Whatever our forecast is it will be wrong. I can guarantee it.”

So agree Grant and Tyler Deary, part of the family ownership group of Nor-Cal Beverage, manufacturer and packager of ready-to-drink teas, ades, sparkling waters, energy drinks, juices and other noncarbonated drinks as well as a service provider for fountain drink and draft systems – both considered essential businesses under shelter-in-place guidelines.

Since the business was continuing to operate, the family had to queue up along with thousands of other businesses for PPE and other sanitization supplies, then implement a thorough social distancing campaign. Adding to the ‘perfect storm’ was a shortage of CO2, a required element to produce carbonated beverages. “When everyone stopped driving, ethanol production declined, leading to a shortage of the process’ main byproduct, CO2,” explained Tyler. 

Grant Deary, EVP Marketing

Nor-Cal Beverage Co., Inc.

Tyler Deary, Strategic Account Manager

Nor-Cal Beverage Co., Inc.

“Never in a million years did we think we’d have to prepare for a shortage, let alone when we were working through so many other variables.  That was definitely the most unexpected challenge we faced.” – Tyler Deary

All things considered, at least Lundberg and Nor-Cal are permitted and encouraged to continue business as (close to) usual. Not so for Sacramento River Cats. With Major League Baseball in disputes as to how many games will be played and at what salaries, the season has a July start date, taking the majority of the season from the Savage Family, owners and operators of River Cats.

If baseball alone were the problem, Sutter Health Park gives the family the resources and property to host other revenue-generating events.  But all large-scale events have been banned and CEO Jeff Savage has led his team through several months of brainstorming to remain top-of-mind in the community, maintain morale among his workforce (33 of 55 full-time and all 600 seasonal employees are furloughed) and simply pay the bills.

The field and facility are still at the ready, requiring only about a week’s notice to host an event in line with guidelines from Sacramento Public Health. To celebrate what should have been Opening Day, the team hosted a drive-through event.  We thought we’d go through a couple hundred hot dogs.  But instead, we sold out of 1,000 and realized that demand is out there.  People are excited to get out,” explained Savage.

Jeff Savage, President Sacramento River Cats

“We sold out of 1,000 hot dogs and realized that demand is out there.  People are excited to get out.” – Jeff Savage

The Sacramento River Cats teamed up with Atlas Disposal to deliver 1,500 care packages to nurses and employees at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento.

To support the community, the team has packed groceries, hosted blood drives, sent Dinger on virtual classroom drop-ins, and regularly lends the parking lot to the local food bank.  Those looking to celebrate Father’s Day outdoors were invited down to the field for a hot dog and to play catch.

If baseball resumes this summer, the goal is to play in front of small groups, renting out a fraction of the 14,000 seats to companies or private groups.  If not, the immediate future may lie in private events on the field, movie nights and batting practices.

“Like everyone else, it’s just wait and see.”


Paycheck Protection Program Updates

PPP Update Brought to You by Ben Brown and Riley Gardner

On Friday, June 5, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), which should make it substantially easier for businesses to receive forgiveness of existing PPP loans.

The new PPPFA makes the following changes to the Paycheck Protection Program:

  • Increases the “forgiveness period” from 8 weeks to 24 weeks, allowing businesses nearly 6 months to spend the loan funds on qualified expenses
  • Decrease the required payroll spending from 75% of the forgiveness amount to 60%
  • Expands the repayment period for unforgiven loans from 2 years to 5 years and extends the deferral of the first payment due date from 6 months to 10 months.
  • Extends the June 30 “safe harbor” deadline to rehire workers.

These changes are applicable to all loans, including loans that were funded before the Bill was signed into law.

While these changes are welcomed, they raise significant unanswered questions about the forgiveness process. How will the new extended period be handled (i.e. does a business that used 100% of the funds in 12 weeks need to wait until the end of the 24 week period to apply for forgiveness)? Will the $15,385 salary cap be increased (currently 8/52 of the $100,000 annual limit)? How will the FTE ratio calculation be handled (do businesses need to maintain headcount for the 24 weeks)?

Unfortunately, much of the SBA’s guidance to date is based on the old rules that no longer apply, and there haven’t been significant updates in the 10 days since the PPPFA became law. The SBA has said that additional information, including a revised and simplified forgiveness application, will be provided shortly.

We’re anxiously awaiting additional guidance, and we plan to provide a PPP Update webinar as soon as the SBA provides additional information. Stay tuned…

Ben Brown, CPA, Managing Partner, B|F|B|A
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Riley Gardner, Senior Credit Analyst, River City Bank

WEBINAR + SLIDES | Execution After Crisis: Shining a Light on Business Risks & Opportunities Through a Global Pandemic

Dr. Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo’s Chief Food and Agriculture Economist, shares his outlook and impact of COVID-19 on Agriculturally based businesses and economies like ours. He will outline what lessons other global crises have taught about business execution and structural issues such as capital, labor, and technology.

Dr. Michael Swanson, Chief Food and Agriculture Economist
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