Agriculture and Food
We are reopening to a new world says well-known family food firm
As family bakery and café chain Janes Pantry begins to reopen its shops and cafes its owner said it is certain of one thing – it is opening to a ‘new world’.
It could have stayed open throughout the coronavirus pandemic lock-down, but with nine shops and 100 staff boss Neville Morse opted for safety first.
It was not a move he took lightly, and neither was the decision to re-open, but with the support of his start he used the time to consult, re-assess his business, plan and for a brief period become a home-delivery service.
Finally confident he had a strategy in place, refitting his businesses with plastic safety screens “for the long term” to protects staff and customers alike, the business began re-launching its shops on Friday, May 1.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This little man visited us at Orchard St Market at <a href="https://twitter.com/GloucesterQuays?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GloucesterQuays</a> this morning - he says our shortbreads are "Absolutely scrumptious!" 😍 <a href="https://t.co/jdLkhqLFMf">pic.twitter.com/jdLkhqLFMf</a></p>— Janes Pantry (@pantry_janes) <a href="https://twitter.com/pantry_janes/status/848141215828766720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
“Hucclecote is first and then next week other stores will follow. We will do two a week, assessing everything as we go. The city centre ones will stay shut for the moment. I think the city centres will take longest to recover,” said Mr Morse.
“We are a long, long way from ‘normal’. We just have to adapt. We are opening up into a different world.
“When Boris (Johnson, the prime minister) announced the lockdown on the Monday (March 23) I spent the whole night talking to bakers up and down the country.
“At that time, for us, it was about protecting our staff, our customers and the NHS. And we took a decision on Tuesday to close.
“We could have stayed open, but we wanted to take stock. We have not rushed it or bodged it.
“When we put the announcement out on social media about Hucclecote re-opening we watched it, and there were 40 comments and they were all positive.”
He added: “We shut for three weeks from may 25. The Government were very helpful when this was first emerging – because it was a bit like ‘holy hell, what am I going to tell all my staff?’. We have 100.
“When the Government announced the furlough scheme, that was a lifeline for us and the business rates grant was also ahelp.”
Staff, he said, had been brilliant.
“We gave them all a fact sheet when we furloughed them – which gave them financial planning advice and suggestions on how they might get help with their mortgages and budgeting.
“We have sent an email every two weeks. We didn’t want to say more if nothing was happening.”
He added: “I have spoken to bakers up and down the country. One has reopened as a self-service baker. He does not ever think he will open again in the same way or ever make sandwiches again. He thinks they will all be pre-made.”
The idea being to get customer served as quickly and efficiently as possible while everyone deals with a social distancing when shopping.
Janes Pantry’s Hucclecote business on Grenville Parade opened from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 2pm selling “fresh bread, cakes, hot savouries, limited range of pre-Made Sandwiches, free range eggs”.
The popular baker also has sites in Kingswalk, Tuffley, Matson, Brockworth, Westgate Street, Holmleigh and Bath Road, Cheltenham.
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