Milverton – If someone had asked Tim and Kerry Shantz 20 years ago what they would be doing today, the answer would be simple: running a restaurant and catering business.
What the owners of KNT Authentic Catering and Restaurant Inc. did not know, was that they would be opening and running a new restaurant in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. No one could have predicted that, however, and they are making the best of it.
There is no doubt, though, that KNT is a family business – in name and in everyday life. This is a family that works hard together each day to make their business the success story it has become.
Even the business name itself has family written all over it: Keela is the “K”; Natessa is the “N”; and Tiffany is the “T.” All three siblings are the children of Tim and Kerry.
Keela, at 18, is not only a pharmacist assistant in Milverton, she’s also the manager of the KNT Authentic Catering and Restaurant Inc. Tiffany and Natessa are Keela’s older sisters.
This business was nothing new to Keela when she took the position because she’s been hanging around in the kitchen baking cookies and whatnot since she was a toddler. She isn’t sure which direction her life will take her just yet – the restaurant or the pharmacy – but for now she’s happy just to be trying different things.
The catering business itself has been around since 2006 and dad – Tim – does the cooking. Both he and Kerry, says Keela, have always really loved cooking together and it just seemed like the natural thing to do when they opened the catering business. Tim, she says, is a Mennonite and she doesn’t know if that has the biggest influence on his great cooking skills, but his mom was also a good cook.
“(They’ve) been cooking all their lives I guess,” she says, adding they may not have a formal background in cooking but, “they definitely know what they’re doing.”
Another reason for the great taste is the fact that they use their local butcher for all their meat, for the catering and restaurant businesses.
The proof is in the pudding so to speak, as most of their advertising and new customers come by way of the old standby, “word-of-mouth,” as in, when customers put good food in their mouths, they will spread the word – and they do.
“The catering business has definitely picked up over the years,” says Keela, adding that word-of-mouth is also helping them to keep busy during this strange new Covid Christmas 2020. “We’re definitely booked solid now, even though we can only have about 30 per cent of (our capacity) because of Covid in our new facility; it’s a huge place though.”
Right now, they are busy with both the catering service and the restaurant and they are currently booked solid for the holiday season, on Fridays and Saturdays, so now, Keela says, people are beginning to book through the week, as those days are the only times available right now.
The pandemic has, undoubtedly taken a toll on business as it has for just about everyone in the restaurant business right now.
They are still getting smaller catering jobs, she says, and the numbers of people allowed in the new facility are limited to smaller numbers but that doesn’t change how KNT continues to offer a special dining experience.
“We still want to give our customers the best quality food and the best servings possible, even thought it’s lower numbers. (Many) are struggling to enjoy their Christmas as much as we are, and we want to make it as (enjoyable) for them as possible.”
The in-house meals are served buffet style for now during the pandemic. People just call in and order from a pre-set menu for takeout or for the restaurant, if they wish to sit down and have a small, family meal.
The KNT has taken key steps to stop the spread of Covid-19 to ensure the dining experience is as enjoyable as possible.
They spray the chairs, tables and menus with disinfectant after each use. They also spray the door handles frequently and anything that might be touched along the way, by customers.
Employees wear masks when they’re not behind the plexiglass barriers and they do encourage all customers to wear a mask everywhere in the facility, except at their tables, if medically possible.
Anyone who is uncomfortable to enter the premises, they also offer curbside pick-up. KNT also has rental items such as tables, chairs, linens, plates, cups, cutlery and napkins for anyone who is planning a wedding or celebrating a special occasion.
KNT Authentic Catering and Restaurant is located at 17 Main St. S., Milverton.
Their hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and they’re closed on Sunday and Monday.
For more information call (519) 444-4683 for the restaurant or 519-444-4468 for catering.
Written by Wayne Collins