Mike Bullard April 2020

As the country heads into its fourth week of lockdown with no definitive end in sight, individuals and businesses alike are having to change their offering to suit the new normal. The Butchers Social, an independent pub-restaurant in Henley-in-Arden, has adapted to life in lockdown by becoming a high-street shop, selling local produce and takeaway meals – including its famous chicken wings.

Following the government closure of eat-in restaurants, Mike Bullard, chef-owner of The Butchers Social, initially began preparing sous-vide ready-meals for the residents of Henley-in-Arden to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. Now taking it to the next level, The Butchers Shop is operating a full ‘click and collect’ service, sending shoppers a catalogue of products to order from, ready for them to pick up in-store.

Offering an alternative to the over-stretched supermarkets, the shop is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, the finest quality meats, essential supplies like milk and flour, a selection of beers and wines, and even household plants. Not only does it enable locals to stock up on their high-street; it also allows them to shop local and support the small businesses and suppliers hit hardest by COVID-19.

What’s more, The Butchers Social continues to serve up its signature dishes – but this time, to be enjoyed at home. Last week alone, The Butchers Social’s shop has made some impressive sales in its newly adapted operation, with Mike and his staff selling over 150 Sunday lunches, 3,600 eggs and selling out of the restaurant’s famous chicken wings by 6pm on Saturday.

Mike commented: “It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is struggling to adapt to the circumstances, but we are trying to make the most of the situation. It’s been a great few weeks in The Butchers Shop. I am so happy that I can continue to support my local suppliers and it’s been amazing to see so much support from local people. I cannot thank them enough for helping small businesses like mine and I hope we can continue to offer them the supplies they need through the coming weeks.”

Local people of Henley-in-Arden are living by the ‘shop local’ mantra and have been happy to shop with Mike. Not only is the restaurant helping to support local suppliers, but is also signposting the free crisis call lines being operated by West Midlands mental health charity Living Well UK, for key workers and members of the public who are anxious during the pandemic. Eager to ensure that no-one is suffering alone, Mike is including cards with the numbers on in the take-away and pre-packed shopping collections, so people know where to turn to in these unprecedented times.

To find out more about The Butchers Social and what it offers, call the team on 01564 792135 or visit www.thebutchers.social

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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