Deep Blue Restaurants, owner of the Deep Blue and Harry Ramsden’s brands, has been working on plans to reopen its fish and chip restaurants with social distancing measures in place.
It will begin with just one of its 50 locations, The Bedhampton store in Havant, Hampshire, opening for online orders for delivery and collection on 6th May. A gradual reopening of the remaining locations will follow over the coming weeks.
David Ellison, Deep Blue’s chief operating officer, explained that the Deep Blue management team has been cautious about opening too early because the safety of staff and the public is the number one priority.
David says: “Our Bedhampton store has an active community of customers who are well versed with ordering online for collection or delivery, so we will be encouraging the use of our website and delivery drivers where possible.
“We have also taken a number of additional precautions to keep our team and customers safe. These include floor stickers to indicate a 2 metre distance between customers, sanitising stations for customers entering and leaving the store, team hand washing and regular surface sanitising between tasks. There will also be temperature tests for staff members at the beginning of every shift. While we anticipate that the majority of transactions will be contactless, if customers need to pay by cash, there will be one team member whose role will be dedicated to completing transactions at the till, so a reasonable social distance can be maintained between team members behind the counter.”
Results from this controlled reopening will inform future openings to ensure the gradual and safe operation of all 50 Deep Blue and Harry Ramsden’s locations.
CEO and founder, James Low, adds: “The decision to close all locations completely was obviously a difficult one as we could have continued to operate for delivery and collection, but the safety of our teams and customers was, and remains, our top priority. We are also very mindful of the dangers of a second wave of Covid-19. There are complexities of opening with social distancing rules in place which is why we have decided to take a more cautious and gradual approach than many others.
“We will learn from the experience of opening Bedhampton on 6th May and use this knowledge when implementing our reopening programme.”