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Chris's Fish 'n' Chips - Local chippy adapts to home delivery

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Chris's Fish n Chips, Barwell


In recent months, in order to continue operating during COVID-19, many established food businesses have diversified into food delivery, takeaway or online sales. There has also been an increase in people cooking from home and selling food locally or online.

As part of the Here to Help campaign, we have spoken to businesses across the UK to find out about the range of challenges facing food businesses and their tips on how to succeed.


Interview with Strad, owner of Chris's Fish 'n' Chips, Barwell village, Leicestershire

What was your business like pre-lockdown?

We are a third-generation family business in the large village of Barwell in Leicestershire. I was born into the chippy helping my mum and dad out from an early age. Since me and my brothers have been more involved, we’ve been looking at what we can improve and how we can modernise to meet our customers’ needs.

We are a big part of the community and everyone knows us in the village. We sponsor lots of local events and sports teams as it’s really important to us having grown up in the village. We want to give back. We have about eight staff plus family members who also help. And pre-lockdown we were a takeaway business.

How did COVID-19 affect your business? What did you change?

We started to realise that COVID-19 could have a big impact a couple of weeks before lockdown, so we started to plan the best way to manage it and thinking about how we could adapt. The day we were told to close we closed the doors to customers, stopped our takeaway service and quickly moved to delivery only initially. Luckily, we were already online as we’d partnered with Just Eat years ago. We went from 1000-2000 footfall a week to having to work out how to deliver that volume to our customers. We needed to deliver food to stay open safely.

We thought about each element and how we could do it safely and efficiently. We looked at our menu and reduced it so that we could cook it and keep the staff safe too. We took anything off the menu that was time consuming to make e.g. kebabs and burgers. We also had to think about supplies as it was hard to get hold of some products at the start of lockdown. We used all the shop space, including what had been the customer area, to put the deliveries together.

The week before lockdown we posted leaflets in the village. This was especially for anyone vulnerable, to share that we could offer a free food delivery service with no minimum order. We also offered essential items such as milk, eggs and potatoes as we could get them from the wholesalers. We also sold cold pies, ready to cook, wet fish and picked up medications for customers if they couldn’t get out.

We set up an office to take the order over the phone as well as online. We knew some of our customers would want to call us and not use online, so we offered that option. In the first month, we were purely a delivery business and we were quite busy. We closed as normal on the Sunday and re-organised the shop so that we could stay open. At that time, it was about surviving as a business!

We increased from three to ten delivery staff during lockdown to be able to meet demand. We used family members to do this as we didn’t want to bring in another household for safety reasons. We supported our regular staff and furloughed some, even one living with an elderly grandparent to keep them safe. We also sent free food parcels to their house to keep in touch and help out.

The three things that helped us survive were:

  • we were already established online and ready to go with Just Eat
  • we have a big social media presence
  • we have a strong community presence.

What challenges did you experience?

We wanted to make sure we were still able to serve food safely to all our customers even though our model had adapted.

Our website reminds people, with every order, to let us know if they have an allergy or intolerance. We normally have an extensive gluten-free menu and have kept some of these items on our reduced menu.

Our staff, including the family members that have helped out, are well-trained and we don’t have any nuts on the premises and we clearly label other allergens and have a separate packaging space to avoid any cross-contamination.

In the first few weeks there was huge surge in orders. We had to work harder to meet the demand. Working closely with Just Eat we could turn the online ordering on and off and then introduce an online queuing system and time slots so that customers didn’t have to wait too long. We used social media to encourage customers to order earlier in the day and pick a delivery time slot. We continued to adjust the process until we got it right.

When guidance changed, we then offered a collection option to ease the delivery demand and would take the food out to customers’ cars safely. A collection station followed shortly after under a large canopy with barriers.

After a lot of thought we decided to reduce the delivery radius at weekends from 3 miles to 1.5 so that we could prioritise our local customers and keep our drivers safe. The drivers could also come back more regularly and wash their hands. We opened the radius back up as soon as we could.

We reduced our opening hours too as we needed the extra time to clean the shop. After 8pm we didn’t receive orders as people were tending to eat earlier. We offered local customers the option to pay by cash, but we put it in a sealed bag and didn’t touch it for three days, and all the staff were reminded of the need to regularly wash their hands.

When lockdown eased and we could open again we wanted to make sure we did it safely and it was transparent for our customers. We luckily have two doors and the counter is 10 meters long, so we could let customers queue at a safe distance. We kept our reduced menu, so they didn’t have to wait long. We used a blanched chip process, so they were half cooked and would cook quicker. They stayed fresher when cooking smaller batches.

We reassured customers by:

  • removing any unnecessary items from the shop
  • using a specialist company to install a wall to wall screen along the whole counter so everyone felt safe
  • putting up clear posters at the entrance and exit with hand sanitiser
  • marking out 2-meter spaces on the floor inside and outside the shop
  • adding friendly stickers to the screen to make it feel more human
  • pressure testing our approach with a few customers first
  • creating films to share on social media so customer knew what to expect
  • asking customers to pre-order so they could collect straight away.

What do the next 6-12 months look like for your business?

We’ll continue to be sensible and practical. We’ve invested in a new cooker so we can cope with future demand now that we’ve expanded our customer base. We’ll be reinvesting in new staff training and we’ll be using all the tools available. We’ll continue to share our ideas within our fish and chip shop network and plan in case there’s a second COVID-19 peak.

My advice is to take a step back and don’t be afraid to make changes that will help you in the long term. We have worked tirelessly but we have thrived, with our turnover increasing three-fold.

Council support

Executive Member for Environmental Health at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Councillor Martin Cartwright, said:

‘We know it’s been a really tough time for food businesses across the Borough, which is why we are especially happy to see those food businesses, which have adapted and continued to trade safely and compliantly during the pandemic, thrive.

I would like to congratulate Chris’s Fish ‘n’ Chips for their achievements both before and during the pandemic as well as all the other food businesses that continue to adapt in order to deliver a first-class food service to the Borough’s residents.

Our Environmental Health team is keen to offer information and guidance to anyone who needs it, so don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 01455 238141. We really want to support businesses in getting it right.’

Chris's Fish n Chips, Barwell shopfront

Chris's Fish 'n' Chips – Siop 'Sgod a Sglods yn addasu i gynnig gwasanaeth dosbarthu

Cyfweliad â Strad, perchennog Chris's Fish 'n' Chips, pentref Barwell, Swydd Gaerlŷr

Beth oedd eich busnes cyn y cyfnod clo?

Rydyn ni’n fusnes teuluol trydedd genhedlaeth ym mhentref mawr Barwell yn Swydd Gaerlŷr. Cefais fy ngeni mewn i'r byd ‘sgod a sglods, gan roi help llaw i mam a dad ers pan o’n i’n ddim o beth. Ers i mi a fy mrodyr chwarae mwy o ran, rydyn ni wedi bod yn edrych ar beth allwn ni ei wella a sut y gallwn foderneiddio er mwyn gallu diwallu anghenion ein cwsmeriaid.

Rydyn ni'n rhan fawr o'r gymuned ac mae pawb yn ein hadnabod yn y pentref. Rydyn ni’n noddi llawer o ddigwyddiadau a thimau chwaraeon lleol gan ei fod yn bwysig iawn i ni ar ôl cael ein magu yn y pentref. Rydyn ni’n awyddus i roi yn ôl. Mae gennym ni tua wyth aelod o staff yn ogystal ag aelodau o'r teulu sydd hefyd yn helpu. A chyn y cyfnod clo, roedden ni’n fusnes tecawê.

Sut effeithiodd COVID-19 ar eich busnes? Beth wnaethoch chi ei newid?

Dechreuon ni sylweddoli y gallai COVID-19 gael effaith fawr ychydig wythnosau cyn y cyfnod cloi, felly dechreuon ni gynllunio'r ffordd orau i'w reoli a meddwl sut y gallwn ni addasu. Y diwrnod y daeth y cyfarwyddyd i gau, fe wnaethom ni gau'r drysau i gwsmeriaid, rhoi stop ar ein gwasanaeth tecawê a symud yn gyflym i wasanaeth dosbarthu yn unig i ddechrau. Yn ffodus, roedden ni eisoes ar-lein gan ein bod ni wedi partneru â Just Eat flynyddoedd yn ôl. Aethon ni o weini ar gyfer 1000-2000 o bobl yr wythnos i orfod meddwl am ffordd o ddosbarthu’r un faint o fwyd i gartrefi ein cwsmeriaid. Roedd angen i ni ddosbarthu bwyd i barhau ar agor yn ddiogel.

Fe wnaethon ni feddwl am bob elfen a sut y gallen ni ei wneud yn ddiogel ac yn effeithlon. Fe edrychon ni eto ar ein bwydlen a'i lleihau fel ein bod ni’n gallu ei choginio a chadw'r staff yn ddiogel hefyd. Fe dynnon ni unrhyw beth oddi ar y fwydlen a oedd yn cymryd llawer o amser i'w baratoi, fel cebabs a byrgyrs. Roedd gofyn i ni feddwl am gyflenwadau hefyd gan ei bod yn anodd cael gafael ar rai cynhyrchion ar ddechrau'r cyfnod clo. Fe ddefnyddion ni holl ofod y siop, gan gynnwys ardal y cwsmeriaid gynt, i roi'r gwasanaeth dosbarthu at ei gilydd.

Yr wythnos cyn y cyfnod clo, fe wnaethon ni bostio taflenni o gwmpas y pentref. Roedd hyn yn arbennig i unrhyw un a oedd yn agored i niwed, i roi gwybod ein bod ni’n gallu cynnig gwasanaeth dosbarthu bwyd am ddim gydag archeb o unrhyw faint. Roedden ni hefyd yn cynnig eitemau hanfodol fel llaeth, wyau a thatws gan ein bod ni’n gallu cael y rhain o’r cyfanwerthwyr.

Dechreuon ni werthu pasteiod oer, yn barod i’w coginio, a physgod ffres yn ogystal â chasglu meddyginiaethau i gwsmeriaid os nad oedden nhw'n gallu mynd allan.

Fe wnaethon ni sefydlu swyddfa i gymryd archebion dros y ffôn yn ogystal ag ar-lein. Roedden ni’n gwybod y byddai rhai o'n cwsmeriaid eisiau ein ffonio ni yn hytrach na mynd ar-lein, ac felly fe wnaethon ni gynnig y dewis hwnnw. Yn y mis cyntaf, roedden ni’n fusnes dosbarthu yn unig, ac roedden ni’n eithaf prysur. Fe wnaethon ni gau fel arfer ar y dydd Sul ac aildrefnu'r siop er mwyn i ni allu aros ar agor. Bryd hynny, goroesi fel busnes oedd y prif nod!

Fe wnaethon ni gynyddu o gael tri aelod o staff yn dosbarthu bwyd i ddeg yn ystod y cyfnod clo, er mwyn gallu ateb y galw. Defnyddion ni aelodau'r teulu i wneud hyn gan nad oedden ni am ddod â chartref arall i mewn i’r busnes am resymau diogelwch. Fe gefnogon ni ein staff rheolaidd a rhoi eraill ar ffyrlo, hyd yn oed un a oedd yn byw gyda pherthynas oedrannus i'w cadw nhw'n ddiogel. Fe wnaethon ni hefyd anfon parseli bwyd am ddim i'w cartref er mwyn cadw mewn cysylltiad a chynnig help llaw.'

Y tri pheth a'n helpodd ni i oroesi oedd:

  • roedden ni eisoes wedi ein sefydlu ar-lein ac yn barod i fynd gyda Just Eat
  • mae gennym ni bresenoldeb mawr ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasu
  • mae gennym ni bresenoldeb cryf yn y gymuned.

A wnaethoch chi wynebu unrhyw heriau?

Roedden ni eisiau sicrhau ein bod ni dal yn gallu gweini bwyd yn ddiogel i'n holl gwsmeriaid, er bod ein model wedi addasu.

Mae ein gwefan yn atgoffa pobl, gyda phob archeb, i roi gwybod i ni os oes ganddynt alergedd neu anoddefiad. Fel arfer, mae gennym ni fwydlen ‘heb glwten’ helaeth ac rydyn ni wedi cadw rhai o'r eitemau hyn wrth gwtogi ein bwydlen.

Mae ein staff, gan gynnwys aelodau'r teulu sydd wedi helpu, wedi'u hyfforddi'n dda. Does gennym ni ddim cnau ar y safle ac rydyn ni’n labelu alergenau eraill yn glir. Mae gennym ni ardal becynnu ar wahân i osgoi unrhyw groeshalogi.

Yn ystod yr wythnosau cyntaf, daeth ton enfawr o archebion. Roedd yn rhaid i ni weithio'n galetach i ateb y galw. Gan weithio'n agos gyda Just Eat roedden ni’n gallu troi’r gwasanaeth archebu ar-lein ymlaen ac i ffwrdd ac yna cyflwyno system giwio ar-lein a slotiau amser fel nad oedd yn rhaid i gwsmeriaid aros yn rhy hir. Fe ddefnyddion ni’r cyfryngau cymdeithasu i annog cwsmeriaid i archebu yn gynharach yn y dydd a dewis amser dosbarthu. Fe wnaethon ni barhau i addasu'r broses nes i ni gael pethau'n iawn.

Pan newidiodd y canllawiau, dechreuon ni gynnig dewis casglu er mwyn lleddfu'r galw ar ein gwasanaeth dosbarthu, a bydden ni’n mynd â'r bwyd allan i geir cwsmeriaid yn ddiogel. Sefydlon ni ‘fan casglu’ ychydig wedi hynny o dan ganopi mawr gyda rhwystrau.

Ar ôl cryn dipyn o drafod, penderfynon ni leihau'r pellter yr oedden ni’n dosbarthu bwyd ar benwythnosau o 3 milltir i 1.5 fel y gallem flaenoriaethu ein cwsmeriaid lleol a chadw ein gyrwyr yn ddiogel. Gallai'r gyrwyr hefyd ddod yn ôl yn fwy rheolaidd a golchi eu dwylo. Fe wnaethom ni gynyddu’r pellter unwaith eto cyn gynted ag y roedd modd gwneud hynny.

Aethon ni ati i gwtogi ein horiau agor hefyd gan fod angen yr amser ychwanegol arnom ni i lanhau'r siop. Doedden ni ddim yn cael archebion ar ôl 8pm gan fod pobl yn dueddol o fwyta yn gynt. Fe gynigion ni’r dewis i gwsmeriaid lleol dalu gydag arian parod, ond roedden ni yn ei roi mewn bag wedi'i selio a ddim yn ei gyffwrdd am dri diwrnod, ac roedden ni’n atgoffa’r holl staff o'r angen i olchi eu dwylo yn rheolaidd.

Pan gafodd y mesurau cloi eu lleddfu ac roedden ni’n gallu agor eto, roedden ni eisiau sicrhau ein bod ni’n gwneud hynny yn ddiogel a'i fod yn dryloyw i'n cwsmeriaid. Yn ffodus i ni, mae gennym ni ddau ddrws ac mae'r cownter yn 10 metr o hyd, felly roedd cwsmeriaid yn gallu ciwio gan gadw pellter diogel. Fe wnaethon ni gadw ein bwydlen lai, felly doedd dim rhaid iddyn nhw aros yn hir. Dechreuon ni hanner coginio ein tatws ymlaen llaw, fel eu bod nhw’n coginio'n gyflymach. Roeddent yn aros yn fwy ffres wrth i ni goginio sypiau (batches) llai.

Roedden ni’n gallu tawelu meddyliau ein cwsmeriaid trwy:

  • symud unrhyw eitemau diangen o'r siop
  • defnyddio cwmni arbenigol i osod sgrin wal i wal ar hyd y cownter cyfan fel bod pawb yn teimlo'n ddiogel
  • gosod posteri clir wrth y fynedfa a’r allanfa gyda glanweithydd (sanitiser) dwylo
  • marcio gofodau 2 fetr ar y llawr y tu mewn a'r tu allan i'r siop
  • ychwanegu sticeri cyfeillgar i'r sgrin i wneud iddo deimlo'n fwy normal
  • profi ein dull gydag ychydig o gwsmeriaid yn gyntaf
  • creu ffilmiau i'w rhannu ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasu fel bod y cwsmer yn gwybod beth i'w ddisgwyl
  • gofyn i gwsmeriaid archebu ymlaen llaw fel y gallent gasglu yn syth bin

Beth sydd ar y gweill dros y 6-12 mis nesaf ar gyfer eich busnes?

Byddwn ni’n parhau i fod yn gall ac yn ymarferol. Rydym ni wedi buddsoddi mewn popty newydd fel y gallwn ni ymdopi â’r galw yn y dyfodol nawr ein bod ni wedi ehangu ein sylfaen o gwsmeriaid. Byddwn ni’n buddsoddi mewn hyfforddiant newydd i’n staff ac yn defnyddio'r holl adnoddau sydd ar gael i ni. Byddwn ni’n parhau i rannu ein syniadau o fewn ein rhwydwaith o siopau ’sgod a sglods rhag ofn y bydd ail don o COVID-19.

Fy nghyngor i yw cymryd cam yn ôl a pheidio â bod ofn gwneud newidiadau a fydd yn eich helpu yn y tymor hir. Rydyn ni wedi gweithio'n ddiflino, ond wedi ffynnu o’r herwydd, ac mae’n trosiant wedi treblu.

Cefnogaeth y cyngor

Meddai’r Aelod Gweithredol dros Iechyd yr Amgylchedd yng Nghyngor Bwrdeistref Hinckley a Bosworth, y Cynghorydd Martin Cartwright:

‘Rydyn ni'n gwybod bod y cyfnod yma wedi bod yn un anodd iawn i fusnesau bwyd ledled yr ardal, a dyna pam rydyn ni'n arbennig o hapus i weld y busnesau bwyd hynny, sydd wedi addasu a pharhau i fasnachu'n ddiogel ac yn cydymffurfio yn ystod y pandemig, yn ffynnu.

Hoffwn longyfarch busnes Chris's Fish 'n' Chips am eu llwyddiant cyn ac yn ystod y pandemig yn ogystal â'r holl fusnesau bwyd eraill sy'n parhau i addasu er mwyn darparu gwasanaeth bwyd o'r radd flaenaf i drigolion yr ardal.

Mae ein tîm Iechyd yr Amgylchedd yn awyddus i gynnig gwybodaeth a chanllawiau i unrhyw un sydd eu hangen, felly peidiwch ag oedi cyn cysylltu trwy ffonio 01455 238141. Rydyn ni wir eisiau cefnogi busnesau i wneud pethau’n iawn.'

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