“Our initial reaction to the announcement that, all restaurants, pubs and cafes had to close was relief. The takings had plummeted to 60, 50 and then down to 40% in the week leading up to the announcement. The financial package set by the government was good and we had enough cashflow to see us through the early weeks. This meant we were able to keep all our 18 strong team using the furlough scheme and avoid any redundancies.
That same evening we organised for a small team to meet at the shop to get it ready for lock down. This involved clearing out all the fridges, freezers and ambient produce that would perish during lockdown. Much of which was given away to staff and vulnerable customers of ours. Then an intense clean of the whole premises and a few essential repairs.
We’ve had several delays and a few hiccups accessing the government’s financial packages, but that support is very welcome and has been crucial in order for the business to survive. The management team have completed some training during closure which will make us stronger on reopening. I personally have been helping some of our vulnerable customers with getting supplies to their homes during these difficult times and some with a friendly phone call. Just someone to talk to is the most important aspect for some customers that are isolating alone.
We haven’t offered any form of takeaway/delivery service for our products. Our menu is not designed in this way and nor is our kitchen. We don’t feel it’s safe enough or morally right to ask customers and staff to risk health over profit.
We’ve all missed something during the crisis and we’ve had loads of lovely messages via social media platforms from customers showing their support. There is a lot to consider before we can reopen. We have to wait for government guidance, work within their guidelines, ensure there are enough consumers around to support our offering, take into account consumer confidence and so much more. It’s going to be a difficult transition moving forward however, it’s one all high street businesses face over the coming weeks and months. We look forward to the challenge and welcoming all our customers back as soon as is practicable to do so.”
Story originally featured in Scran magazine issue one.
View the full issue here
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