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Meet your takeaway heroes: Just Eat shines spotlight on local restaurant owners going the extra mile during Covid-19 pandemic

  • Just Eat launches Good Deed Feed, an initiative championing local takeaways and restaurants supporting their communities
  • From feeding staff at local hospitals to delivering care packages to the elderly and vulnerable, takeaway owners and their staff are doing good deeds across the country
  • Just Eat calls on the nation to recognise their local takeaway #foodheroes

Just Eat, the leading food delivery app in the UK, has launched “Good Deed Feed”, backed by the British Takeaway Campaign (BTC), to shine a light on the restaurant and takeaway businesses across the country going above and beyond to support their local communities during the COVID-19 crisis.

With over 35,700 restaurant partners on its platform, Just Eat is using its network to share stories of local takeaway #foodheroes in towns and cities across the nation, to champion the businesses involved and help inspire and encourage others who want to help their communities too.

The Good Deed feed follows a £10m emergency support package which Just Eat launched last month to assist small independent Restaurants Partners maintain their operations and support staff.

As part of Good Deed Feed, Just Eat is calling on consumers to recognise their local takeaway heroes too. Send details of your favourite takeaway and the great work they’re doing to help their local community to @justeatuk with the hashtag #GoodDeedFeed.

From feeding staff at local hospitals to delivering care packages to the elderly and vulnerable, takeaway owners and their staff are working hard across the UK to help those in need, despite facing the impacts of Covid-19 themselves.

Andrew Kenny, UK Managing Director, Just Eat, said:

“At Just Eat, we’re committed to supporting our restaurant partners, many of which are small, often family-run businesses. The restaurant operators we work with are some of the most hard-working individuals you’ll ever come across.
“Whether it’s feeding people on the front line or delivering groceries to the vulnerable in self-isolation, takeaways and restaurants across the country are going above and beyond to help their local communities. To put others first during these uncertain times, shows true dedication and we want to champion that.”

Ibrahim Dogus, Chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, added:

“Takeaways and restaurants up and down the country are responding to the government’s call and stepping up to the challenge of keeping our nation fed under incredibly difficult circumstances, with many funding their efforts out of their own pocket.
“We want to say thank you to them all. Their ongoing support to their communities needs to be recognised and applauded. It’s a beacon of positivity during what is a very testing time for us all.”

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has also shown its support for the Good Deed Feed, with Environment Secretary George Eustice commenting:

“I want to thank all of the #foodheroes who are safely transporting food to doorsteps across the country - often to those who are vulnerable and need it most."

Delivering groceries to the vulnerable

Since the outbreak of Covind-19, Wasim Arshad, 41, owner of Mr Chef in Uddinsgton, has been delivering food packages to vulnerable people in his local area. So far, with the help of his staff, Wasim is donating 100 hot meals a week to those in need, and has delivered essential grocery items and toiletries. Wasim said: “We owe our success to our community and this is our chance to give something back. It’s important that we get food and essentials to those who need them, while also checking in, from a safe distance, to ensure they’re ok.”

Feeding the elderly in care homes

Last week, Jay Alom, 25, owner of Lime Pickle in Birmingham, who was named Best Takeaway in Britain in the 2017 British Takeaway Awards, announced a two-week scheme to provide meals to NHS workers in the local area. So far, the business has donated over 300 free meals. In addition to this, Lime Pickle is also providing free meals to local care home residents and staff, with almost all residents too vulnerable to shop for themselves. Jay added: “These are probably the most difficult times we’ll face in our lifetime. We’re just a small business trying our best to do the right thing for our community, and those that care for it.”

Closed for business, yet serving key workers

Even businesses who have been unable to remain open have been getting involved. Fabrizio Parella, owner of Divitos Chip Shop in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, decided to temporarily close his business, which he has run with his family for more than 20 years, but with the help of his staff, has continued to serve his local community by donating meals to his local hospital, police station, doctor’s surgery and chemist. Fabrizio said: “Although the shop is closed, we still feel like we have a part to play. We want to keep looking for different businesses around the community that we can help.”

Good Deed Feed is the latest in a series of steps Just Eat has taken to support the sector at this challenging time. As well as the emergency support package for independent restaurant partners, Just Eat is also offering financial support for qualifying couriers who fall ill as a result of Covid-19 or may need to self-isolate, and last month, launched a daily discount for NHS staff, saving NHS workers and their families £250,000 in the first week alone.

As with any business where food is served, the health and safety of customers is of paramount importance to takeaway owners. In partnership with the BTC, Just Eat is providing information and guidance to all restaurant partners about how they can follow Government guidelines regarding social distancing and best practice health and safety standards.

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Case studies:

Mr Chef

Wasim Arshad, 41, Uddingston

“We came to Uddingston four years ago and the community was really supportive of our business. We owe them a lot and this is our chance to give something back. It’s important that we get food and essentials to those who need them, while also trying to have a chat (at a safe distance) just to check they’re ok.”

Wasim and the team at Mr Chef have always seen giving back and charity work as hugely important. This doesn’t stop at the local community – two years ago, they built a bakery in a village in Uganda to provide baked goods to local orphans after the civil war in the region. The bakery is still operating today.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, they started receiving comments on their Facebook page about delivering food to vulnerable people. In mid-March, they launched their food packages that contained essential grocery items as well as toiletries, which went to people who specially requested them via their Facebook page – all free of charge. They delivered 100 packages to vulnerable people in the community.

Since then, a local community group who heard about the initiative have brought in Mr Chef to deliver hot meals as part of a wider community support programme. Mr Chef now donates and delivers 100 hot meals a week to vulnerable people, with a different menu every day so that people get some variety. They are also set to relaunch the food packages by popular demand, with hundreds of people asking for support.

Mr Chef’s shop has remained open for delivery-only, however is reopening it’s takeaway collection service so that people have the option to collect their food due to high demand for delivery drivers. All drivers and chefs are working voluntarily and the business has put measures in place to ensure their safety. No customers are allowed into the shop to collect their food and are asked to stay two meters apart while queueing.

Delivery drivers always leave food at the door, however are encouraged to stand back but ask customers how they are, given some may not have any other human interaction throughout the day.

Mr Chef launched 9 years ago, and has been in Uddingston for 4 years. It has been with Just Eat since day one.

Monterary Jack's

Richard Fergin, 31, Glasgow

“We set up the scheme to help vulnerable people in the community, as well as frontline NHS workers, but also because the majority of our staff are young and able, and want to do something to help out.”

Monterey Jack’s closed all eight of its restaurants in response to coronavirus. Management have since worked with team members to set up a voluntary scheme providing free food and drinks to vulnerable people in the community as well as NHS workers. They have set up a soup delivery programme for vulnerable people that runs three days a week and coffee and cake service for NHS workers that runs two days a week. Monterey Jack’s also donates a selection of burgers, pizzas and hotdogs to NHS workers twice a week.

Staff participation is completely voluntary and they adhere strictly to existing social distancing guidelines. Staff are also provided with PPE.

They have been working with Just Eat for 6 years.

Zucca Ristorante Pizzeria

David McLaughlin, 38, East Kilbride

“We launched on Just Eat last week and the response from the local community has been incredible”.

Zucca Ristorante Pizzeria has been open for ten years, and last week began working with Just Eat to provide a takeaway menu for their loyal customers to complement existing work providing food to vulnerable community members and NHS workers free of charge.

Prior to this, they made the difficult decision to close their restaurant, distributing all of their remaining food to frontline NHS workers, including 300 ready-made sandwiches. After a deep clean of their restaurant and kitchen area, they’ve reopened and now provide pre packed sandwiches and freshly made soups, bread and pizzas to hospices and hospital staff.

They have limited the kitchen to two chefs to allow for proper social distancing between team members, with a third pizza chef working at an external pizza oven. Staff are working on a completely voluntary basis, and checked for symptoms every morning as well as being provided with PPE. All team members that are unable to work are being supported using the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

They have helped to deliver over 150 pizzas to local hospitals free of charge.

Prime Pizza

Nabeel Nazir, 36, Sheffield

“The hospital’s on our doorstep so we’re used to having NHS staff coming into our shop. It’s only right that we thank them for the amazing job they’re doing.”

Prime Pizza has been a family run business in Sheffield for over 30 years, based right on the doorstep of the Northern General Hospital. Nabeel Nazir, 36, is used to having doctors, nurses and paramedic coming in for meals every day, so felt it was only right to thank them for their bravery and hard work during this crisis.

Prime Pizza offers 50% off all food to NHS workers on shift, as well as 25% off when they’re off-duty so they can enjoy it at home. The business is now offering deliveries only, including to the hospital, so that staff can feel safe when working, and they’ve seen a steady stream of business while keeping front line workers fed.

Prime Pizza has been on the Just Eat for over 15 years.

DiVitos Chip Shop Burnbank

Fabrizio Parella, 51, Hamilton, Scotland

“Although the shop’s closed, we still feel like we have a part to play. We want to keep looking for different businesses around the community that we can help.”

Fabrizio and his family have been running his pizzeria and chippie in Hamilton for over 20 years, where they serve two of the UK’s favourite takeaway meals: pizza and fish and chips. Fabrizio chose to close the business, however was eager to keep helping the community as much as possible while the shop was shut. So far, they’ve donated meals to local front line workers and several businesses in the community. It started with pizzas and free lunches at Hairmyres hospital. Since, they’ve donated more food to a local care home, police station, doctor’s surgery and chemist, all playing a vital role in helping to fight coronavirus. Though the business is closed, his staff have been volunteering when needed to help with the food donations. They’re looking for further opportunities to do their bit.

Di Vitos has been on the Just Eat platform for eight years.

Lime Pickle

Jay Alom, 25, Birmingham

“These are probably the most difficult times we’ll face in our lifetime. We’re just a small business trying our best to do the right thing for our community, and those that care for it.”

Lime Pickle has provided NHS workers in their local area with over 300 free meals since announcing the two week long scheme last week. In addition to this, Lime Pickle is also providing free meals to local care home residents and staff, with almost all residents too vulnerable to shop for themselves.

At one stage they did want to close, but feel they have a duty to remain open to continue to support their community.

Lime Pickle has been on Just Eat’s platform for seven years.

Bombay Barn

Arif Sheikh, 42, Washington, Durham

“It was important for us to do our bit to support the community, helping to ensure that vulnerable people in Washington get the food they need during this crisis.”

Bombay Barn has been hosting a food bank and food donation point for vulnerable people in the front of his takeaway, which is now closed for sit-in meals as per Government guidance. Additionally, the business is delivering free hot meals on request to the elderly, the vulnerable and key workers. The business has been on the Just Eat platform for four years, and is continuing to use the platform to serve takeaway food for delivery. It is also keeping all staff on at full pay and at full hours as before the coronavirus pandemic, and all staff are happy to help out with deliveries as the business supports the most vulnerable members of its community.

Café Pizzeria Express

Clare Cam, 31, Harlow, Essex

“We just wanted to do our little bit to show our appreciation to NHS workers and give back to the town who have given us so much.”

Clare and her husband have had a takeaway business in the town for over 10 years. In January, they opened a new premises and Clare also gave birth to a new baby. Throughout the coronavirus crisis they have been delivering free pizzas to their local hospital on a weekly basis, and have also been delivering hot food free of charge to the elderly, vulnerable, and those who cannot afford meals. They have seen an uptick in orders as the community supports their small business through the pandemic, and have had to draft in extra help in the form of Clare’s dad to keep delivering meals.

The Meal Factory

Imran Ghani, 35, Blackburn

“Our staff are working harder than ever to help those who need it most. It’s important that they get hot meals, but also the essentials in our parcels for those that can’t make it to the shops.”

The Meal Factory has been providing deliveries of free food – both hot meals and food parcels – to elderly and vulnerable people in the community free of charge. The takeaway is now delivering over 450 food parcels per day, and estimates that they’ve delivered almost 5,000 meals so far. All staff have been maintained at full pay and wages, as many are kept busy parcelling up food for vulnerable customers. When dropping off food parcels in their local community, staff are encouraged to adhere to social distancing guidelines to ensure that recipients of the parcels are protected.

Daizy's Kitchen

Hebburn, Newcastle

Colleen and Hannah Day-Jarvis, 38 and 37

“When the outbreak first happened, we thought about shutting down. But Daizy’s Kitchen has always been a place for our community and many of our customers are elderly and we needed to be there for them. We decided to stay open so we could continue delivering meals but also do the grocery shop for those that can’t leave their homes.”

Hannah and Colleen have been running Daizy’s Kitchen for 5.5 years and have always tried to make the cafe a community space, where customers can come and meet regularly. With many of their customers being elderly or vulnerable, they decided to keep running a delivery business when the outbreak started to spread. As well as delivering food, they’ve been offering to do grocery shopping for those that are unable to leave their homes. They are now doing approximately 270 orders a day. As well as this, they’ve also created food packages for their local care homes a few times over the past few weeks.

Daizy’s kitchen has been operating on Just Eat for 2.5 years

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