The COVID-19 pandemic changed hospitality overnight, with almost all restaurants closing within 24 hours, the industry had to pivot fast to keep afloat. Throughout the lockdown, we have seen businesses reinvent quickly and adapt to a new dining world until they can open once more.
One of the people pivoting fast is Dave Critchley, Head Chef of Lu Ban in Liverpool and now the founder of LIDS (Liverpool Independent Delivered Services). We caught up with him to discuss the rollercoaster ride than has been 2020.
The pandemic has been lifechanging for so many, especially when it comes to health and business. The hospitality sector was one of the first sectors to be hit, and it escalated quickly over a few weeks. Many have had to adapt quickly. You haven’t taken lockdown as a time to nap. You have created LIDS (Liverpool Independent Delivery Service). What is LIDS?
LIDS stands for Liverpool Independent Delivered Services and is a collection of independent retailers that are now on one online supermarket available for people with at home delivery.
It’s the quickest way to get local products from the best independent retailers around delivered straight to your door – traditionally you’d either have to go to each of these retailers or order from them separately. We’ve now put them in one place and do the deliveries, making it much easier and as convenient to support local business as it is to use larger supermarkets.
Not only does LIDS offer access to fantastic produce, but it also keeps spending power in our region, aiding the local economy and keeping retailers in business. With LIDS you can also shop for someone else, so if you know someone who might be shielding or just struggling to get their shopping, then the option is there to send them whatever they might need.
How did the concept come about? Was it a wake up in the middle of the night moment, or had you seen a need for this prior to the lockdown?
I’ve always been a passionate advocate for supporting local business however when Covid19 hit it was evident that the impact across the hospitality sector would be huge. Suppliers were losing trade overnight, vulnerable customers were struggling to gain access to goods as the demand for supermarket delivery slots spiralled, and foodbank use spiked. In LIDS we came up with a solution, one that we now believe will continue to grow and sustain beyond this crisis – we’ve seen a huge desire for people to get behind local business and we hope they continue to do so even as lockdown eases.
Who is involved and what can people order?
On one site, you’ve got access to a range of products to make shopping locally your best option. Whether you’re looking for fish, meat, dairy, alcohol, freshly baked cakes, afternoon tea, bread or cleaning supplies and masks, you’ll find it all at www.thelids.co.uk and much more. Just a few clicks away and at great prices.
We truly have some of the best-respected local names available as part of our offering and we’re really proud of that.
How do people sign up?
It’s really simple – they just head to www.thelids.co.uk – take a look at the shop and pop whatever they like in their basket whether its from our butcher, fishmonger, baker or any of our other incredible suppliers – they can support numerous independents in one shop and we’ll have it with them, on their doorstep in 48 hours.
Did you come up against any obstacles?
Plenty! Being a tiny team and trying to get all of the logistics organised to begin with was a huge undertaking and not one without a few bumps in the road – however, a couple of months later and we now have a fleet of our own delivery vans, trackable deliveries and have developed a community arm to what we do alongside other partner organisations called Knowsley Kitchen. Donations paid when people shop with us, help us get fresh fruit and veg and packed lunches to some of the most vulnerable adults and children in our community. So shopping through LIDS really is much more than just a way to buy things – our customers are sustaining our region and supporting those in need.
It is growing very quickly, where would you like to take it next?
WORLDWIDE. Seriously. But for now, I’ll settle for getting our current offering spot-on – we’re already expanding what we do in Liverpool to encompass Lids Delivers which is essentially a local version of your more well-known delivery companies so people can book us to transfer goods around the city for a small fee – not just produce from our suppliers and there are a couple of other exciting irons in the fire but they’re top secret 😊
Find out more information by visiting: www.thelids.co.uk