Following updated guidance from Government that restaurants may reopen in July, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, Dobbies Garden Centres, is gearing up to reopen its 68 restaurants across the UK.
In light of Government advice, the first restaurants to open will be in Northern Ireland (3 July), with England reopening next (4 July), followed by Wales (13 July) and Scotland (15 July). Scotland will open outdoor seating areas for takeaway from 6 July.
The news comes after Dobbies reopened its stores across the UK in May and June, with strict social distancing measures in operation. Now, in the next phase of easing restrictions, customers will be able to enjoy their Dobbies’ favourites including freshly-made scones, fish and chips, toasties, and hot and cold drinks.
The safety of team members and customers remains Dobbies’ number one priority, and a number of additional social distancing measures have been put in place.
There will be a dedicated Safety Champion in each restaurant who will be solely responsible for ensuring all measures are being followed. The Safety Champion will be on hand to answer any questions and ensure team members and customers feel safe at all times. In line with Government guidance,
team members will be required to collect contact information from customers for NHS Test and Trace.
Tables and chairs have been laid out in the restaurants to ensure there is a safe distance between diners. There is a combination of table and counter service across the restaurants. In counter service restaurants, customers will select their food then collect their covered meal from a dedicated food collection area, along with cutlery, wrapped straight from the dishwasher.
Self-service coffee machines will not be in use, but baristas will be on hand to serve hot drinks.
Dobbies will also be continuing with rigorous hygiene routines, with all trays and tables sanitised after use. Each restaurant has also taken additional steps when working with suppliers, with contact free and sanitised deliveries.
Graeme Jenkins, CEO of Dobbies, said: “Following the successful re-opening of our garden centres from May, we are well-placed to restart our restaurant operations. Customers will be able to enjoy all of their Dobbies favourites again, including our bespoke blend coffee and famous scones.
“The safety of our team members and customers remains Dobbies number one priority, which is why we have introduced the new role of Safety Champion. Not only do we want customers to feel safe, but we want them to have an enjoyable experience.
“We look forward to welcoming customers back into our restaurants and would like to thank our team members and customers for following the safety measures in place.”
Customers visiting the Huntingdon and Gloucester stores will also be able to experience the newly refurbished restaurants for the first time. Following the design first seen in the company’s Cirencester store, the two new restaurants use a high standard of materials and finishes to enhance the customer experience.
Barry Perkins, director at ISG’s Retail business, commented: “The investment Dobbies is making in its new restaurants highlights the company’s absolute focus on placing customer experience at the heart of its retail offer. Our collaboration is bringing new standards of quality design, innovation and delivery excellence to the garden centre sector, helping drive footfall and adding to the destination shopping formula that is at the core of the Dobbies’ ethos.”
Dobbies continues to follow Government guidelines across the stores, with a limited number of customers permitted at one time. A queuing system remains in operation outside the store, with markers in place to help maintain social distancing. Hand sanitising and trolley cleaning stations are available at the store entrances.
Protective screens remain installed at tills and customers are asked to pay with card or contactless. Appropriate PPE has been provided for team members who are also receiving training and regular briefings on how to keep themselves and customers safe, with rigorous hygiene routines continuing throughout the stores.