2020 has been quite a funny year for everyone. Before Bluebell Cottage even had a chance to get back to our regular Sunday market at Stratford Upon Avon, the whole country was thrown in to chaos. Market days were missed, bank holidays passed us by and we wondered if we would ever be able to get out again to serve you lovely people with our authentic fudge and nougat. Fortunately, time has passed, restrictions have been eased and for the last few months we have been able to get out again. In this blog post I thought it would be good to detail some of the changes that we have made to keep you all safe when buying Bluebell Cottage fudge & nougat.
Firstly, the lockdown gave us time to reflect upon our own, already high, hygiene standards. With markets and shops closed an influx of online orders to our fudge & nougat website gave us a chance to reassess things. Deep cleans were implemented and procedures tightened even further. It also gave us the time to complete our brand-new custom-built kitchen which enhanced our safety standards even further.
When we finally managed to come back to the markets, the first thing that was noticeable was the size of the stall we were allowed. If you are familiar with Bluebell Cottage market stalls, they are ordinarily a double sized stall. A condition from the local council to allow the market to commence was that a single row of stalls only could be used so to accommodate all the traders, all stall sizes were halved. We could obviously not allow the public to use tongs to pick their own fudge & nougat, as tongs would become contaminated as they were used. We also couldn’t allow our customers to get too close to the food on display so a decision was made very early on, during lockdown, that clear screens would be installed. These now separate our customers from our products, but still allow them to view and choose. Our own staff now pick the fudges that are chosen using latex free gloves, which are changed every 30 minutes as an additional layer of hygiene control. Although adding a slight delay to our customers wait time to be served it has still proven to be very effective.
We now actively employ a cashless mindset with our sales, promoting contactless card payments quickly and efficiently with brand new, high speed, card reading equipment. This has been highly successful. So much so that not a single coin has been handled by a member of staff since lockdown was eased. Our Izettle card readers are handily located at the front of our stalls, meaning our customers don’t need to come to a member of staff to pay, further reducing the risk of contact.
Our hot water cleaning station behind the market stall ensures that items are kept clean and tidy, as it always has, and hand sanitiser has been positioned around the stall which is used frequently. We have also increased our ‘sealed-product’ output and range. Pre-sealed 100g bars of both Nougat and fudge have been extremely popular, along with our original sealed giftbags. Manufactured and packaged in our new kitchen, these particular products are created with the highest possible hygiene standards in mind.
The market operators at Stratford upon Avon have created a one-way flowing system to ensure social distancing is upheld and we are pleased to report that our customers so far have all queued in an effective and patient manner following all the guidelines. In short, Bluebell Cottage fudge & nougat have done literally all they can to keep both our customers and staff safe and we look forward to seeing and serving you again sometime in the near future.