Although bakeries can stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic due to being an essential service, business has naturally dropped off somewhat as a result of social distancing and isolation rules, forcing businesses to adapt to stay afloat. This little Central Coast bakery offered home delivery as an extra, but flipped to delivery-only when the service proved very popular.
Having opened Burnt Honey Bakery in Copacabana just four months before Christmas, partners in business and life Hayley Thorncraft and Jo Fairall have seen a lot in under a year of trade – from the wild Christmas trade period, to bush fires, and now a global pandemic – but have proven to be adaptable and resilient.
With many bakeries and cafes going the way of takeaway and delivery, Hayley and Jo decided to offer it as an option for their customers. Initially, it was just a couple of days a week, but the popularity of the delivery service was so great that they decided to close their shopfront and ride out the coronavirus crisis as a delivery-only outfit.
“To begin with when it all kind of started, we could see that delivery was the way that we were going to need to head, so there was one week where we did an overlap where the shop was open and we did delivery on two days,” Hayley said.
“We very quickly found that the demand for delivery was so high that we couldn’t do both; it was going to be too much, and we decided that the best thing for us and the community was to close the shop and just do delivery.”
Rather than electing to join an established big food delivery company like Uber Eats or Deliveroo, they did it all themselves and were even able to “repurpose” some staff members as delivery drivers to ensure they still had work to do.
“We had staff on hand that were working for us anyway, Hayley said.
“By closing for most of the time, we didn’t have the same roles available for them, but they were available to do the deliveries.”
In terms of challenges, Hayley said that getting the website set up for orders and deliveries wasn’t straightforward, and they needed to ensure appropriate insurance coverage for their drivers. Additionally, figuring out lead times and keeping up with emails, comments and messages has been tricky.
“We were very fortunate that one of the people working us has been working in web for a really long time and was so over-qualified that she’s had trouble finding work at her level,” she said.
“She’s familiar with Squarspace and has customised a lot of the reporting for us and hacked the system a bit in a sense so it works for us.”
While sales have dropped amid this crisis, Hayley says that the delivery orders are enough.
“We’re not worried about whether the business will survive this now or not,” she said.
“We know that it will.”