Andrew Metcalfe, Guestline’s Chief Technical Officer has another string to his bow - he also owns and operates a 5-bedroom luxury B&B and events venue called Downham Hall near Billericay in Essex.
Here, he tells Guestline how, in light of the Covid-19 lock-down, they had to change strategy and create a new revenue stream for their business - a ready meal delivery service.
In a bid to stem lost revenue and mounting cancellations from accommodation bookings and events (namely weddings, afternoon teas and baby showers) and takings from their now-closed daytime café, Andrew and his team set about creating a menu that would be freshly prepared and cooked in their café, then delivered to customers in the local area. They now have 9 main meals and 2 dessert options to choose from.
Andrew comments, “In this dynamic situation we had to be creative with new revenue streams and think outside the box in order to recoup some of the lost revenue. We looked at what we were capable of and adapted accordingly – learning along the way to get back up and running as soon as possible.
We had to go out to where our customers were (and reach out to potentially new customers) and since the lockdown, people have been unable to leave the house, supermarkets have been busy and families are generally adapting to a new reality of home-schooling and staying at home.
We also wanted to help our close-knit local community – we had food in our cupboards, kitchens sitting empty and a new chef with experience at Deliveroo to give us guidance…so we put him to good use and now we’re out and about serving local residents with food that’s ready to put in the oven, prioritising those in need of the service the most. The team are preparing home-cooked meals and Sunday roasts, freshly prepared and firm favourites with all the family.
We’ve had to adapt our operations to meet this demand, so considerations and processes needed to be put in place like new packaging, a web page, payment services and delivery options.
It’s proving popular with many people ordering for their parents or those who are more vulnerable; we don’t expect a huge profit but if it keeps us generating a small sum, keeps our staff busy and provides a service to the community then I feel we’ve met our objectives.”
Across the whole of the UK, hotels and restaurants are adapting their services to meet the surge in demand for food deliveries since the Government ordered the public to stay at home. This is also evident in research from CGA that shows that just over half (53%) of the public are either currently using, or planning to use, delivery as an alternative during the current crisis, with 13% getting delivery from a restaurant or takeaway either for the first time, or more often than usual, in the last two weeks.