The impact of temporary COVID-19 legislative moves on the ability of food enterprises to pivot in Arizona

Sara El-Sayed, Priya Borah, Christy Spackman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted shortfalls in the U.S. food system, exposing how regulatory processes shape access to the market. This paper builds on ongoing research following the impact of shut-down orders on alcohol retail via small restaurants and breweries in Arizona and examines the impacts of regulatory shifts on the ability of these food enterprises to pivot. We highlight how the concept of the pivot creates expectations of individual businesses ability to be resilient to shocks. Responses within Arizona to COVID-19 induced systemic failures, demonstrate that bottom-up pivots from small businesses can creatively and quickly meet local community needs. However, those efforts were stymied by state government and top-down approaches that proved incapable of pivoting to meet local needs. Through this case study, we highlight the need and opportunity for further examination of the interplay between regulatory agencies and small businesses in times of crisis. We invite others into the work of creating guidelines for pivoting that facilitate bottom-up and top-down collaboration while ensuring the voice and agency of different players.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-246
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Foodservice Business Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • COVID-19
  • alcohol
  • business pivot
  • executive order
  • regulatory structures
  • small food enterprises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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