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Takeaway lifeline looks set to stay as Havering pubs and restaurants get ready to reopen

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 June 2020

Co-owner of Upminster TapRoom, Bob Knowles, shows off how much the brewery sold in just a couple of days. Picture: Caroline Sheldon

Co-owner of Upminster TapRoom, Bob Knowles, shows off how much the brewery sold in just a couple of days. Picture: Caroline Sheldon

Caroline Sheldon

Restaurants and pubs are among the worse-hit in the virus fight after being ordered to shut on March 20.

Andrew's Catering, who normally do catering for corporate events have taken the opportunity to try out a Caribbean  food takeaway. Picture: Elisabetta AndrewsAndrew's Catering, who normally do catering for corporate events have taken the opportunity to try out a Caribbean food takeaway. Picture: Elisabetta Andrews

Now, there are concerns that many will not come back, with staff furloughed on jobs that no longer exist.

But in Havering, rejigging businesses a bit to serve takeaway has proved to be the saving grace.

So much so, that Upminster TapRoom, a micro brewery or mini pub that is normally buzzing, says its takeaway and delivery service is here to stay.

Selling more ale than ever, co-owner Caroline Sheldon says they have furloughed two members of staff but are able keep them on full pay.

Osteria due Amici has been sending off their fine dinining Italian food in takeaways. Picture: Kassy LowOsteria due Amici has been sending off their fine dinining Italian food in takeaways. Picture: Kassy Low

Caroline said: “Our deliveries have grown massively to approximately 30 or more per day, they’re extremely popular.”

Being limited to selling online ale and cider means it does not get the same mark-up as normal but it’s still more than enough to keep everything running smoothly.

Now, new procedures and safety measures are coming into place for the little TapRoom in Sunnyside Gardens to open next month.

Likewise, Andrew’s Catering, in Hornchurch has also cottoned on to a lucrative, pandemic-proof way of doing business.

Cosmopolitans and margaritas still made at the bar, Osteria sends off their cocktails in plastic cups. Picture: Kassy LowCosmopolitans and margaritas still made at the bar, Osteria sends off their cocktails in plastic cups. Picture: Kassy Low

Pre-lockdown, the catering company served buffets for corporate events for Havering Council, Newham Council and other high profile companies in the City.

With a passion project in mind, Gary and Elisabetta Andrews decided to reinvent themselves into a Caribbean cuisine takeaway.

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Gary has family from the island of St Vincent and although he’s been a chef for 35 years, he’s never had the opportunity to serve the food closest to his heart.

Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon, owners of the micropub.Bob Knowles and Caroline Sheldon, owners of the micropub.

Now that it’s proved a great success, the couple intend to keep the delivery option alongside the pre-lockdown service when things go back to normal.

Fine dining restaurant Osteria due Amici in Corbets Tey Road says the transition to takeaway has been difficult.

Kassy Low, who works front of house, said: “It’s something we’ve all had to learn on our feet because we can run a restaurant obviously, but doing a takeaway means logistics, drivers, and PPE which we didn’t have experience in.

“Upminster is such a tightly knit community and customers have been amazing, they understand that we’re not a takeaway, we’re a restaurant. Even so it’s worked out really well.”

Never compromising on quality, the restaurant has still been serving the finest cocktails from the bar, only in a plastic cup.

Kassy added: “Presenting the food in an appealing and fine dining sort of way, as is the restaurant’s brand, has been a worry for the kitchen because they take pride in how they present things.

“Dining at Osteria is also an experience as well as the good food, so that was a concern.”

Nevertheless, the plastic cup cocktails and boxed sourdough pizzas have been a hit with plenty of customers sending in pictures of their orders, enjoying the novelty of a posh drink in a plastic cup!

A sharp learning curve for the team, Kassy says it definitely could be here to stay.

Due to social distancing, the restaurant won’t be able to offer as many covers as it has capacity, so Kassy says the takeaway will likely still be offered.

She added: “It has been a good opportunity to see if it is something we can keep forever, we were just so busy before all of this at weekends, we didn’t have time to think about it.”

“Takeaway has helped us stay afloat, cover overheads and carry on Osteria long term. Who knows what would have happened if we couldn’t do this!”


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