James and Fjona Hill, owners, Hampton Manor
Peel’s on Wheels
Within a week of the first lockdown in March, Fjona and James Hill, owners of Hampton Manor in Solihull launched Peel’s on Wheels, a delivery service from its Michelin starred restaurant.
Within seven days the first deliveries were being rolled out, helping to save jobs prior to the furlough announced. A website was also created in this short time frame.
The business discovered that the service filled a gap for people looking for ways to celebrate during the national lockdown, and built up a legion of new fans in the process.
In the first month of the launch of Peel’s on Wheels, the service sold out within five minutes every week, with enquiries continuing after the sell out. Fjona told BH that the service was initially created to reach the local community but has had a knock-on effect on bookings for Hampton Manor’s staycation package, launched after lockdown.
Peel’s on Wheels also helped to develop loyalties and new relationships with local people.
Fjona says: “PoW was never really created to make money, we wanted to do it because we wanted to react to the community at the time, and every time we sent one out we’d send one to someone on the breadline. We worked with a disadvantaged local community and then we also supported our local village. We did the NHS for a while until they said no more meals please! If we continued PoW the social justice element of it would be a really strong part of it. But it’s hard work; it’s much more logistically difficult than traditional hospitality!”
After the lockdown lifted in July, Hampton Manor launched the Great British Staycation.
Pivoting from a seven-days-a-week operation to a simpler model allowed the couple to focus on creating exceptional experiences for guests that are so much more than just an overnight stay. Lockdown gave the Hills the opportunity to assess the longer-term strategy for the business and decide on a new direction that would open the door to more ideas, more flexibility and greater connections with the local community.