For the first, in a series of interviews with a Hospitality business, we spoke to Impact Catering and Albert Street Bakery, to hear how business has been throughout the pandemic. They’re simultaneously family-run businesses based in the Manchester area, and like most, they have had to adapt to a new business model since restrictions began in March 2020.
Before the pandemic, what was the nature of your business and what was your client base?
Prior to the pandemic, myself, my two brothers Will and Joe and our cousin Jude worked alongside my parents at the family business Impact Catering. Up until the start of last year, this had been a very successful company with local customers including the University of Manchester, the BBC, LadBible and numerous private events and weddings. The majority of our work was large corporate events such as conferences and education-related events such as graduations.
How long have you had your business?
Impact Catering was formed back in the 80s by my parents Sarah and Gary who are both bakers/chefs by trade (they met whilst working in a restaurant together)!
How has the pandemic affected your business and what have you had to do to secure your business during the pandemic?
As you can imagine, the pandemic has had a huge impact on the business and the bookings have practically dropped off a cliff. Our biggest client was the University of Manchester who accounted for over 60% of our business and they obviously haven’t had any students or staff in so have stopped using us. My mum and dad have both had to get other jobs for the meantime whilst myself, Will, Joe and Jude set up Albert Street Bakery, offering artisan Sourdough Bread and cakes etc to the public and to local businesses in Monton and Eccles. We have been truly bowled over by the support we have received from the local community and from local businesses who have begun stocking our products and it’s heartening to see how people have come together to support small businesses like ours during the pandemic.
How has the pandemic affected your headcount?
We have had to let go one member of staff, unfortunately. Another staff member was beginning mat leave when the pandemic began and everyone else is on flexi-furlough.
Last summer and towards the end of the year, restrictions were eased in some places for hospitality businesses. Were you busy during this time? Did you see a bounce back?
We didn’t really see any difference as most of our work is for large corporate events/office catering/weddings so none of that returned.
What are your predictions for the hospitality bounce back?
We are expecting things like weddings and private events to return quite quickly as people have had to delay these kinds of events and are very keen to begin having them again. With the corporate side of things, whether or not offices will start to have staff back in or not will have a big impact on us. I think the pandemic has changed how businesses view the workplace and working from home etc so it’s likely that there will be less face-to-face meetings and things like conferences might stay as virtual events for some time. I think for bars and restaurants, they will return to normal eventually.
With the re-opening of hospitality over the coming months, what changes do you anticipate you will have to make to your business? Will you revert to your old business model or maintain your new model or will it become a hybrid of both?
At the moment we are juggling the Bakery and a small number of Impact Catering bookings but we anticipate that once restaurants etc. open up then the Bakery will be less busy as people will have more options in terms of where to eat out. With Impact Catering, I expect we will be looking to book in more weddings and private events as we aren’t expecting the corporate side of things to return for some time.
You can find them:
Instagram: @albertstreetbakery Facebook: Albert Street Bakery
https://www.impactcatering.co.uk/ Instagram: @impactcatering