Last week I sent a small message about looking for the Silver lining. I really appreciated the positive feedback on how it encouraged so many of you. These times are tough for all of us and we need to help each other in whatever way we can.
When I was thinking of what to write, I remembered something I used to do with my children when they were young.
We live in the heart of the country and on a clear night, we get stunningly beautiful skies with no light pollution. We would lie out on the patio at the back of our house, wrapped up in rugs and sleeping bags, and stare at the sky for hours counting shooting stars.
Every time one of us saw one we shouted with an urgent excitement, hoping we would all see it before it disappeared. This was a childish excitement that we never got tired of. One of the things that I started to realise was, when we stared at the sky, more and more stars appeared until the dark sky was fully illuminated with millions of stars that we couldn’t see when we started….
… but were always there!
Never give up looking, a lot of the solutions are already there waiting for you to discover them.
Here’s a great story from one of our Trailblazer customers, I hope it inspires you!
APPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN
Andy (Appy Days Catering) has traded his regular market pitch for delivery boxes as he offers free home delivery.
“When we heard the UK was entering lockdown, we were apprehensive however tried to remain positive as we knew that it was for the greater good.
We only really started to panic when we heard that mobile catering businesses without a fixed premise weren’t eligible for the government business loan.”
Matters got even worse for Andy when the bank rejected his application for the three-month mortgage holiday. He was now left with no market pitch, no income & no mortgage payment breaks.
“When I got scammed with our previous catering van a few years back, we had to go to a mortgage payment plan. So, when the government announced they will freeze mortgages for three months, we got in touch with the bank only to be told that it didn’t include us because we were on the payment plan.
This was devastating news; we were at serious risk of losing our house!
Jo and I sat down and went over our (very limited) options. The next day I got in touch with a couple of friends, asking for their opinion on starting a delivery service. I decided that I had no choice, I needed to give the delivery service a shot, so I put it on Facebook and within a week the orders started coming in.
To be honest, I would say we are better off at the minute.
I open for three hours in the evening on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Believe it or not but I’m still able to make as much as when I was doing the markets.
Previously Jo & I were up at 4 am traveling to street food markets. Sitting in traffic for about 3 hours each day, spending £150 on fuel each week & £400 weekly on pitch fees.
Whereas now we are cooking on the Trailblazer at home two nights and go to a village one night a week. We have no pitch fee to pay, only spending about £20 on delivery fuel over the three days, not sitting for hours in traffic and we have a steady flow of orders. Last night alone we sold 85 meals!”
As it’s just Jo & I, (my wife) our process is working great! The fewer people that are involved in handling the food the better. We haven’t socially left the house in over 4 weeks to ensure we are keeping well away from any exposure.
Our contactless booking and payment system is very beneficial in allowing us to deliver as we currently aren’t accepting cash payments.
I simply send a payment link to a customer’s phone number and they pay through that. This morning, we already have 14 orders placed for next Thursday, 4 of those have already pre-paid for their meal.
Jo delivers all the orders. On arriving at the address, she rings the doorbell, sets the delivery box on the doorstep and stands back until the customer opens and collects their meal. That’s it, job done. No hanging around, no waiting for change and no physical contact.
The customer feedback we have been receiving has been first class. It’s great to hear how our delivery services have been helping the more vulnerable or letting people take a break from cooking. It’s smiles all round.
Since the deliveries have started, our Facebook page has doubled in page likes, so word is getting about.”
Appy Food, Happy Neighbours
“It was Jo’s birthday last week and as we couldn’t have a party for her, I decided to spark the Trailblazer up and get the neighbours involved in a distanced gathering.
They loved the idea. All the neighbours brought chairs out and sat in their driveway, soaking up the sun while I started the Blazer up and gave everyone free food to enjoy. It was brilliant to lift the mood & it also worked well as through that, this weekend we got 8 new orders.”
Andy certainly hasn’t had an easy journey within the street food & catering industry. Between scams costing him over £12,000, garage fires causing severe damage to his Trailblazer and Covid-19 potentially forcing him to close down. One thing Andy has had however is sheer resilience & it’s great to hear Appy Days are here again!
If you have a good story or idea that you would like us to share please let me know.