Hanbury’s Fish and Chips in Babbacombe, Devon, has permanently closed its restaurant to focus on its growing click and collect and delivery business launched during lockdown.
The 50-seater restaurant reopened in December 2021 after an 18-month closure due to Covid, however trade was slow to come back and with Omicron halving its turnover, owner David Hanbury has called time on the restaurant he has run for 40 years.
David comments: “The restaurant is hard going these days. People have changed their attitudes to eating out, they don’t want to go out as much, they want to sit at home and have their food delivered.
“You’ve got to go with what the flow is.”
The closure means the team can concentrate on the click and collect and delivery service, which can do around 65-70 orders on Friday and Saturday nights in the winter and even more in the summer, making up for some of the lost turnover from the restaurant.
The biggest growth is in the delivery side of the business with Hanbury's operating its own click and delivery service via four Toyota Aygos that transport food in heated bags. Food is charged at a 10% premium on Hanbury's takeaway prices and orders incur a delivery fee of between £3 and £5.
David adds: “We’ve found that with the restaurant, although you get a better margin, we needed a lot more people to staff it. With click and collect and delivery we can have less than half the people working it and even though the margin is smaller, we still do okay.
“So we’re doing the most sensible thing for our business and our team and I think even if we are smaller, our future will be bright.”
Hanbury’s will also remain open for walk-ins, operating six days a week, Monday to Saturday.
David plans to utilise the restaurant for click and collect and delivery until the end of this summer when work will begin to convert the space into two holiday cottages, providing an additional revenue stream.
At the same time, changes will be made to the existing takeaway so that in 2023 it will be able to cope with more capacity.
David adds: “I’ve really enjoyed meeting people in the restaurant and having sit-downs with personal friends, so I will miss it a lot. And it’s a great building, it has a fantastic kitchen that is fully air-conditioned, although I’m not envying emptying it out and trying to sell all the equipment!"