Helping small catering businesses bounce back

Catering Blog

By Mitul Malkan, Product Manager for Commercial at ERS

It’s a big month for the hospitality industry as the Government’s month-long ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme goes live, offering diners a £10 discount at participating restaurants in a bid to get people eating out once again.

But is the very idea of ‘eating out’ changing as a consequence of Covid? Food lovers have spent months in lockdown, unable to visit restaurants and cafes or even entertain a table full of guests in their own homes. Consequently, eating habits have shifted., for many people, eating out now means literally ‘eating outdoors’.

As some lockdown measures are easing, people have begun sharing a bite or beverage together in outdoor public spaces, great news for the thousands of mobile catering traders that we insure.

We’re seeing many of these businesses bounce back strongly as the British public takes to the parks, beaches, promenades, town squares – anywhere they can congregate in a safe and distancing-compliant manner.

Like so many in the hospitality sector, mobile caterers were forced to shut up shop at the start of lockdown. Thanks to the flexibility of our Specialist Commercial Vehicles product, we were able to support traders by offering ‘Laid Up’ cover rather than comprehensive cover for this period of enforced inactivity. Today, we’re working harder than ever to help get these vehicles back on the road again.

The initial wave of market demand began from our policyholders who own ice cream vans. Once people were allowed to sit in the parks again, we saw a big increase in ice cream van policy renewals. Fast forward to the middle of June, and our team was busy turning around policies for modified catering vans to coincide with our high streets reopening. Now we’re seeing thousands of mobile bars and baristas getting out there to refresh the nation during what promises to be a summer of staycations and home-based holidaying.

We’re delighted to see so many specialist commercial vehicles back in operation again. And while we hope that Eat Out to Help Out proves a big success for on-premises dining, it seems certain that the trend for eating outdoors will continue as people seek to safely socialise against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic.

Supporting a vast range of catering vehicles

Our Specialist Commercial Vehicles (SCV) product includes seven different categories to serve a plethora of diverse vehicles that have been modified for a specific trade. Within the catering category alone, we can cover everything from modified tuk-tuks and ice cream vans to bespoke catering trucks.

Available via our eTrade portal, our SCV proposition works because we understand the nature of these modified vehicles. For example, some catering vehicles are riskier to insure than others, such as those transporting gas cannisters or containing deep-fat fryers. By focusing on each individual use case, we can price this risk properly and ensure no trader is left without a fair quote.

Our expert underwriters are always available to discuss the more complex risks or unusually-modified vehicles, or even answering questions about licensing and legal requirements.

SCV is a product for the thousands of commercial vehicles that would otherwise be left unsupported by the mainstream insurance market. In the case of mobile catering, their owners have spent months on the sidelines, unable to go about their business as normal. Now, as they seek to make up for lost time, we’re doing everything we can to protect their most vital assets and help to safeguard their future.

If you’d like to chat more about our Specialist Commercial Vehicles product, contact a member of the team today: commercialquotes@ers.com

Or sign up to eTrade here

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