London gastropub the Camberwell Arms has successfully deployed a new food deliveries business with the help of the Mercedes-Benz Vans loan scheme.
The pub, which has had five successful years in the capital, turned to deliveries early in lockdown to help service the local community and ensure the produce normally used in the pub and restaurant went to a good home.
Director James Dye and the small team set up an ordering service, also including the ready-made meals that the pub would normally serve, and fast-rising demand saw the team turn their hand to deliveries, as well as collection.
They quickly realised they’d need to expand beyond the bike service offered by one team member who was a former courier, and so the business decided to take advantage of the Mercedes-Benz Vans loan scheme.
Run at the peak of the pandemic, the loan scheme enabled independent businesses with less than 20 employees to apply for a Mercedes-Benz van for three months to adapt their current business model and help them navigate the pandemic.
The Camberwell Arms applied through dealer Rygor Commercials and was approved, enabling it to deploy a Vito van for the three-month period.
James Dye said the van has been a “game changer” and had proved great for the city and much more efficient for deliveries.
He added: “Although we hope to re-open the pub and restaurant in line with COVID-19 guidelines in the next couple of weeks, we plan to continue to run our grocery shop alongside. Not only have we really enjoyed running this part of the business, we have seen the positive impact it has on people – locals still want to have access to quality food and drink. What’s more, the future is still very uncertain, and this business model offers us flexibility, which has never been so important.”
While the van loan scheme has now closed, Mercedes-Benz Vans is still working with some of the small businesses that applied to get them into vehicles. It’s also taking the experience from the scheme and looking to see how it might run something similar again in the future.
John LLoyd, van sales manager at Rygor Commercials Heathrow, said: “As a Mercedes-Benz Vans dealer, it has been great to be able to work with the manufacturer to offer James and the Camberwell Arms team this van for three months, to help keep their grocery delivery business on the move. We are always committed to keeping our customers on the road, especially during these difficult times.”