Branching out – how Piptree survived lockdown
A year ago, with all their contracts cancelled due to the pandemic, Piptree Catering faced a big decision – go big or go home.
Richard and Alice Perry, who run Piptree, took out a bounce-back loan and made some radical changes – launching Piptree Delivers, selling afternoon teas, barbecue kits, grazing boxes and canapes London-wide. And they set about helping their community – making and delivering £5 roast dinners to vulnerable residents and making Christmas dinners for elderly parishioners at their local church.
It has been a monumentally challenging year for the husband and wife team from Isleworth who have two children (aged 18-months and five-years). But, as Covid restrictions begin to lift, the investments they’ve made in marketing and adapting the business are standing them in good stead and the catering bookings are returning.
Richard said: “When lockdown hit, we had to decide whether to keep going – we took out the loan, invested everything back into the business. If it wasn’t for the pandemic Piptree Delivers wouldn’t have existed – but now it’s a vital part of the business and it’s here to stay. Now there’s a massive backlog of weddings, we are getting quite a few bookings and the investments we’ve made are starting to pay off.
“We owe thanks to the Bushy Park Sports Club in Teddington where our kitchens are based - they lowered our rent in lockdown and have been really understanding. And our chef Seth Jackson has been integral to Piptree Delivers – coming up with ideas for a range of amazing pastries!”
The company name was inspired by their son Matthew (nicknamed Pip when he was in the womb). Alice and Richard met 20 years ago at the White Cross in Richmond – Richard trained as a chef and launched his own catering firm and Alice worked in events. She joined Piptree a year ago after being made redundant.
She added: “I’ve always helped out with Piptree’s admin and have wanted to get more involved. Richard and I work well together – I really enjoy it and I enjoy the freedom of being able to take our son to school and work flexibly. We’ve come a long way this year, we’ve spent time improving the menus and we have a great team.”
Piptree Catering give classic dishes a makeover. Among their most popular canapés are Bang Bang Chicken, profiteroles filled with salmon, dill, chive and lemon mousse, soda battered cod with triple fried chips and fillet of beef on bamboo. They also have an extensive vegan menu. They’re getting rave reviews – consistently five stars across Google and Trustpilot. Local Buyers Club members save 10%.
To order afternoon tea, a delicious grazing box or amazing barbecue food delivered to your home or a friend, visit www.piptreecatering.com/piptreedelivers
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