Whether they are hosting taco parties or curry nights, these north-east businesses have kept community spirits up throughout lockdown.
Lockdown has proven time after time that food truly is at the heart of the community.
And while it may not have been able to bring our families together, it has certainly brought neighbourhoods closer.
Organising community drop-offs and delivering to areas they usually wouldn’t visit, as well as areas which have limited delivery options currently available, numerous firms across the region have been planning routes to drop off food to the masses.
Ensuring everyone is following social distancing rules, these businesses have safely delivered hundreds of meals to hungry customers.
Si, Muchacho HQ is looking a little different today! 😉 Our crew is gearing up for tonight’s Quaran-Taco Party in…
Aberdeen businessman Lee Brandie, owner of Mexican eatery Muchacho on Rose Street, is just one of those individuals bringing cheer to the local community.
Launching a TacoBox at the start of lockdown – a box full of tacos and a range of ingredients – Lee noticed a real appetite for the interactive meal-in-a-box, and soon after he was getting inundated with messages asking him to deliver large numbers to different areas across the region.
He said: “So far, we’ve served more than 15 communities around Aberdeen, with more dates in the pipeline. While being mindful of logistics, distance and so on, we’re trying to reach as many neighbourhoods as possible.
“Our ‘Quaran-Taco’ parties started with a simple enquiry from a customer in Bridge of Don. She told us a few people in her neighbourhood would love to place a community TacoBox order. By the time the order was finalised, we were serving more than 70 households.
“The response from this was amazing! Word got out and it sparked enquires from communities all over Aberdeenshire. We quickly realised these events would allow us to reach people beyond our usual delivery zone, and communities with very limited options in terms of takeaways and restaurants.
“Particularly during lockdown, this has offered a boost to individual and community morale. We love giving people something to look forward to and many have written to say the event was their ‘lockdown highlight’. This, in turn, has given our team a clear sense of purpose during a very challenging time. We get a real buzz out of doing these events and helping people to create a fiesta-style experience in their own home.”
Delivering more than 200 TacoBoxes in some communities, demand for the service has rocketed and events get booked up weeks in advance.
Lee added: “The demand has been incredible. We’ve had so many enquiries for our Quaran-Taco parties which we’ve slowly been trying to get through. We’ve had to invest in some infrastructure to help us deliver over 200 TacoBoxes in some areas.
“It’s really humbling to collaborate with each community. They usually begin with an enquiry from one or more people in the neighbourhood. So when we set a date, we get in touch with them personally, and they help to spread the word. We also create a Muchacho Facebook Group for the community. This sharing hub allows everyone to chat amongst themselves before, during and after the Quaran-Taco party. We’re also on hand to answer any questions as they arise.
Tarves, we are ready for you…. 💕 #MuchachoHQ #MexAddict #community #aberdeen
“The many positive responses we receive after each one is so uplifting. And we love to see people making the event their own. There are lots of snapshots of tequila-based cocktails, beautiful Mexican-inspired table settings, family dinners, dressing up, some play our Spotify recommendations, and people are using social media to share their Muchacho experience. Despite the challenges of lockdown, there’s still a real sense of community spirit!”
And Lee too hopes he and his team can continue to deliver this fun service which is a change from working in the city centre venue.
“We really hope we can continue it. Whatever is happening in our communities and beyond, our commitment at Muchacho remains the same,” said Lee.
“We want to bring Mexico’s bold, uncomplicated, flavours to our streets and customers’ homes. We’ll continue serving our loyal customers, in any way possible, wherever we’re in demand.”
So… Aberdeen one of Aberdeen hospitality group PB Devco‘s venues also offered community drop-offs for a period throughout lockdown, giving fans of the popular eatery the chance to enjoy one of their new offerings, a curry night.
Paul Clarkson, operations director of PB Devco, said: “Community food drops are a good way to get the community together and support local – that’s why we wanted to get them involved with our fantastic curry nights, by trying to promote community spirit and give them all something to talk about amongst each other on social media and messaging services.
“We wanted to ensure that communities were supporting a local business which is so crucial as we start to move through the post lockdown phases.
“Travelling to communities, I guess it mean’t we could hit areas that maybe were struggling to get deliveries and give them something to try at home instead of home cooking, which many people were a bit fed up of.
“The first week we went to Dubford, Bridge of Don one night and then we did Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber another. Then another week we did Cove, Kingswells, Westhill and Kintore, too.
“All of our orders were emailed in so that they all came into one place and then collated from there. Being a well-known local company there were orders coming in from other avenues but that did not phase us and it was just logistics to organise it all.”
While Paul and the team took great pleasure in fulfilling orders and supporting the local community, as we look towards Phase 2, the firm has had to reassess its offering due to organising for its nine venues across Aberdeen reopening.
He added: “I would love to have kept offering the service as we really enjoyed doing the community drops and the feedback was all amazing. However, as more and more places open back up and people have more offerings I am not sure that they will still work as well. I am of course more than happy to be proven wrong! We’re also in the process of preparing to reopen some of our venues and have had to put all our time and resources into preparing for this.”