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Could you start by telling us how the last few weeks have been for you?

For us, things have actually slowed down noticeably since some of the restrictions have been relaxed in the past two weeks. A little surreally, we celebrated our first birthday among the socially distanced VE Day celebrations on Friday May 8. That wasn’t quite in the plan!

What positive steps have you taken to get through the lockdown?

The main step we have taken is to find a good, reliable courier for our small business needs and establish a UK Mainland delivery via our online Durban Street Food shop. We have also (and are busy with now) established some new products. Our bundles, such as our new Johannesburg Bundle (2x 500g Beef Stroganoff, 2x 500g Chicken a la King, 2x 500g Lamb curry, 2x Tipsy Pudding and 1x 300g Koeksisters), have proven popular. We have provided a free delivery for our local customers – local being a mile radius of our shop.

Are there any innovations of which you are particularly proud?

I think being able to share our food with anyone, anywhere in the UK Mainland, as well as provide discounts on delivery. We occasionally saw people order for themselves and their friends, so they could all enjoy a Zoom supper club together. A great idea in the circumstances.

How have your customers been supporting you during this time?

We have had fantastic support from local customers and have had a steady flow of local people coming to our shop since the lockdown began.

Are there any special measures you’ll be bringing in once you re-open again?

We have been open throughout the lockdown, with our door blocked so people stand outside and order with a menu up on the wall. It has worked well as we’ve got a very wide pavement outside our shop and there is plenty of space for people to feel comfortable with social distancing. Our shop is mostly a kitchen, so the customer area is smaller. So, no changes to be made with that system for a while.

Why is it so important that people ‘Stay Loyal to Local’ going forward?

Supporting local businesses makes all the difference to building a close community of people who look after one another and often build up friendships through that. The quality of local business services and products, in most instances, is far better as shop owners like ourselves know that if you do not do your best all the time you will lose your customers and credibility as a business. If you live and work in the community, you have to face these same people every day. Local businesses usually will not let you down and go the extra mile for their local regular customers. Something you would not be able to create/develop not supporting independents.

What’s the best way that our community can do that for now?

Keep looking after your local businesses so they can keep looking after you, especially when the chips are down as we have just experienced.

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