We don’t need to tell any of you what an incredibly difficult time this has been for our industry. With the events industry grinding to a halt and a government-imposed lockdown on markets, parties, restaurants and pubs – no business within the hospitality industry has been spared economic hardship as a result of coronavirus.

With takeaways and deliveries still permitted however, many of our members have transitioned their businesses to allow them to continue making money. If this sounds simple – it isn’t. Changing your entire business model, sometimes honed over many years, is at best daunting and at worst, impossible to execute with fewer staff and reduced access to supplies.

However, for many of those who have made the leap, there have been silver linings. Whether it be the opportunity to provide food for our key workers or the change to adapt their menu:

“We quickly went from looking forward to our best summer to date to having the rug pulled from under us – like so many of our colleagues in the industry. We had a jam-packed schedule, events old and new to look forward to and the BBC show we shot last year was due to be aired. We also had some very exciting news to share which has now been postponed.

Within hours of the government-imposed lockdown, everything was cancelled, and we were left no work and a moral dilemma -should we remain open?

After two weeks of debating whether we should sit tight, wait it out and pray that things return to some semblance of normality before the end of the summer. I was veering towards waiting it out until email started flooding in asking if we would consider delivering food. The messages were primarily from people who were isolating and couldn’t leave their homes or from people with sick family members, stuck at home cooking three meals a day and in need of respite.

This helped me to realise that my food could help people – it could make a difference. I initially restricted delivery to just once a week so that we would be out of our home for minimal periods of time, but the orders just kept on coming.

We quickly decided that we’d like to take things a step further and help key workers who didn’t want to spend what little spare time they had shopping and cooling.

We then came across Meals for the NHS, via NCASS. The world now is so uncertain, so to have the opportunity not only to keep our business running and to have a purpose is a huge privilege.

That’s down to NCASS and to Meals for the NHS and of course our amazing staff and everyone who has ordered our food. I’m feeling very positive about the turnaround we have made in the last month, and who knows – we might still be able to afford our wedding at the end of it all!”

– Sarah – Full of Chaat

 

 “As a business we have had to adapt in several ways. I’m still working full-time as I am a key worker in the food supply chain so I’m doing the admin side of Beki’s Brownies from home.

As soon as the lock down was announced, all of my wholesale customers closed, events were cancelled, and income ceased. With the worry that our customers were not going to be able to get their hands on our brownies for a very long time, I had to think of a safe way to get our products to them.

With this in mind, I decided to do weekly doorstep deliveries. The menu changes weekly and the box includes 5 large brownies and 1 large blondie which can be cut in half and shared amongst the family. We deliver to a large area including Warwick, Leamington, Stratford, Coventry, Kenilworth, Alcester, Studley, Redditch, Bromsgrove and South Birmingham. We have been doing doorstep deliveries for 4 weeks and within this time we have baked, and hand delivered over 2,000 brownies.

The beauty of our business is that it is just Mum & I, and at the moment, whilst I am working during the day with my full-time job, mum is doing the baking and fulfilling customer orders. I am then spending my evenings completing any outstanding tasks, cutting and boxing orders or decorating cake and cupcake orders. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions and I don’t think it has sunk in yet as to what we have managed to achieve in such a short amount of time.”

– Beki – Beki’s Brownies

If you would like to share your story with us, please email opinion@ncass.org.uk