Vicky Plaistowe & Darren Blackwell
"Our purpose is to play a genuine role in inspiring and supporting a healthier NZ through the food we provide, education of staff and customers and our social media."
Who you are and what type of business do you own?
Sip Kitchen Wholefoods is a progressive organic nutrition focused eatery established in 2014 by owners Vicky Plaistowe and Darren Blackwell. Sip Kitchen is known to provide a knowledgeable and authentic offering, the go-to place the ‘hard to feed’ can rely upon. For us our business is a passion! Our purpose is to play a genuine role in inspiring and supporting a healthier NZ through the food we provide, education of staff and customers and our social media.
We have been in business since March 2014, opening our first site at 25 Apollo drive, Rosedale and our second eatery in Newmarket August 2016.
What was the first thing you did when you realised the Covid-19 pandemic was about to affect your business?
Buy up Avery labels and a printer from The Warehouse Stationery & engage a website developer!
We have set up an online shop for delivery of meals, baking mixes and pantry items and have also set-up grab and go Takeaway ordering during Alert Level 3.
What are you doing now that you weren’t doing a month ago?
Operating a business website shop, preparing home frozen meal solutions and delivery.
What challenges are you concerned about in the weeks and months ahead?
In the next few weeks if we can rebound our sales back to a level that will enable us to keep all our staff after the wage subsidy runs out. Many cafes no matter what they are trying to offer through Alert Level 3 are trading at 15-30% of pre Covid-19 levels. In particular - due to lack of clarity around what operating constraints we will face through various levels and the duration of each level.
Ongoing we are thinking about the challenges arising from an extended economic recession, lack of consumer confidence and spending cutbacks, changing patterns of behaviour and the new day time location of people... many more people will remain working from home hence lunchtime trading for eateries located in commercial districts will be impacted.
What opportunities do you see coming out of this situation?
The Covid-19 situation has made us look hard at what we need to do to diversify our revenue streams and future proof the business. We are very exposed if we stay operating two eateries just in commercial/retail areas. Moving online, implementing delivery, expanding our day part offer into frozen meals and looking to develop eBooks and online cooking courses will all be part of a stronger future for us and our team.
How can the community support your business?
We would love the community to get in behind all their local eateries! Cafes and restaurants are cashflow reliant and are labour intensive, having high overheads with equipment rentals, power costs and Health and Safety compliance. The community can support Sip Kitchen through ordering from our online shop, our Takeaway ordering system and through SOS Cafe.