Bakery businesses are launching delivery services, either locally or nationally, to continue to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic. Here, they discuss how to get started.“Transforming our business into a food delivery service was something we never anticipated or planned for,” explains Sara Christey of Edinburgh’s The Beach House Café & Bakery.Like many bakery businesses, the bakery has adapted to trading under coronavirus and, with the help of volunteers, is providing essential groceries to consumers who cannot get to the supermarket.A small team are delivering boxes of food to doorsteps by bike, and the business is also offering a pick-up service that involves minimal contact.“Our local community have supported us for years and we thought this was an opportunity to give something back – we are on a very steep learning curve and adding new, high-quality products every day,”“Our local community have supported us for years and we thought this was an opportunity to give something back – we are on a very steep learning curve and adding new, high-quality products every day,” she adds.With vulnerable or self-isolating consumers unable or unwilling to leave their homes or visit supermarkets, many bakeries are working with their suppliers to offer groceries – such as cheese, milk, meat, flour and eggs – alongside their bakery products.Scarborough-based Cooplands (pictured) has combined some of its suppliers’ products with its own baked goods to create the Food Parcels service. Priced at £35 including delivery, the parcels contain a selection of essential groceries, bread and sweet treats such as flapjacks.It took Cooplands three days, working with agency Savvy Marketing, to develop a digital platform connected to its website that could take orders and payment online, with central management similar to how the business manages orders from its shops.“Partnering with delivery companies is expensive, so leveraging owned assets is important,” says Cooplands CEO Belinda Youngs. “Bakers are not delivering main meal solutions and generally have a lower average order, so efficient processes and restricted, densely populated geography are key success indicators.”Important things to think about are product ranges, how and when orders will be taken, the notice given for an order, delivery times and if businesses can produce the items ordered, advises Neville Morse, managing director at Janes Pantry.Bakeries also need to decide if they are local, regional or national, suggests Laurence Smith, owner of Fatherson Bakery. Options include using existing vehicles currently available in the business, working with a distribution partner or investing in a fleet.Smith says having a core project team and strong e-commerce platform was critical to his business launching its own grocery delivery website in a week.London-based Today Bread (pictured, right) set up online ordering through the Square Online Store system for a delivery and collection service.“It’s all about adapting and focusing on what’s possible or can be affordably accessed,” says Today Bread founder Alexandre Bettler. “Some of our team have brought in or sourced bikes to get orders to customers. You can either try to keep everything in house, or bring in third-parties to fill the gaps you can’t provide.”Working with a third party allows businesses to tap its customer base and expertise, adds a spokesperson from Just Eat. To work with an aggregator, however, businesses need paperwork to show proof of ownership, that the business address is registered with the council and Food Standards Agency (FSA) or Food Standards Scotland (FSS). To sign up with Just Eat, for example, they would need an FSA rating of three or above, or a Pass in Scotland.The decision to deliver on your own or go through an app is entirely individual, says Romy Miller, commercial director at Gail’s Bakery, which has an online shop selling produce and groceries for home delivery and click & collect.“There are benefits to retaining the end-to-end customer relationship, but there are also challenges with trouble-shooting last-mile issues, when they happen. Going through an app has fees attached to it, but there is a benefit in ready-and-waiting mass customer awareness.”But whatever approach a business takes, offering delivery can give bakers access to new custom.“The current Covid-19 period has given rise to a new delivery marketplace – there are so many great things available that we could never access direct to our homes in the past,” adds Miller.
Nik Greeley & The Operators have released a brand new video for their soul-rocking new single “Maybe There’s A Reason.” The track is the second song in a series of singles and videos leading up to the release of their new EP coming this Spring 2017. Watch their first release, “Stars,” here. “Maybe There’s A Reason” features Robyn Mello from the band Edenspore, alongside Philly’s own Swift Technique “The ST’s” horn section, and Zach LoPresti and Sam Gutman of prog-jam up-and-comers Out of the Beardspace. Together, and behind the musical maestro Nik Greeley himself, is a smooth-grooving collective that fully avoids staying in any one genre. Watch “Maybe There’s A Reason” live in the studio at Drexel University Philadelphia, PA below:You can download the track for free via Bandcamp or check out NG & The Operators in Philly on World Cafe Live with High & Mighty Brass Band or Camp Jam in the Pines May 18th-20th with Swift Technique, Big Sam, Main Squeeze, Cris Jacobs and Elise Testone. If ever there was a chance to see them live, now is it. The band’s power is unstoppable in delivering juicy tunes, dance moves, and good vibes all around.
The Armed Forces of Guatemala and Mexico are cooperating to stop drug trafficking through the border the two countries share. In recent weeks, the Guatemalan Army has deployed 250 troops along the Suchiate River, which marks the western border between Guatemala and Mexico. The troops are part of the Tecún Umán Task Force, whose mission it is to stop drug smuggling and other criminal enterprises, such as human trafficking, along the border. The border is a major drug trafficking route for transnational criminal organizations, particularly Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, which is led by fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The Guatemalan soldiers assigned to the task force have been trained in to detect and stop drug shipments. The troops have also received combat and reconnaissance training, according to Guatemalan military authorities. These troops are equipped with heat sensors and night vision goggles, which allow them to operate at night. They also have armored Jeep J8 vehicles, which were contributed by the United States government. The U.S. is cooperating with Guatemala and Mexico in the battle against transnational criminal organizations. Guatemala’s National Civil Police (PNC) in recent weeks assigned dozens of officers to the border region, in departments such as San Marcos, Petén, Huehuetenango and Quiché. Binational meeting Security deployment In recent weeks, Mexico sent more than 2,500 soldiers and Marines to the border region. For Mexican military forces, the joint operation is known as the “Southern Border Plan,” which is being coordinated by the Mexican Navy. The operation was launched during the first week of September 2013. Mexican security forces are also being strengthened along the country’s border with Belize. In addition to the soldiers and Marines, the Federal Police (PF) is sending an additional 100 agents to the border region. Guatemalan and Mexican security forces are working to stop drugs, weapons, and humans from being smuggled into Mexico. The Mexican Army has established a military camp on the Tapachula-Talismán highway, near six border towns which are adjacent to the Guatemalan border. With the support of military dogs trained to detect drugs, soldiers are inspecting vehicles which pass through the highway. If organized crime operatives slip past the border, Mexican security forces will enforce additional checkpoints in Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Campeche. Additional checkpoints will be conducted in Veracruz and Oaxaca. Drug trafficking region Working collaboratively to strengthen security at the border makes sense for Guatemalan and Mexican security forces, according to Carlos Mendoza, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “The strategy to secure the border will inhibit the areas where transnational criminal organizations operate,” Mendoza said. “ It will certainly lead to a reduced flow of drugs, money, and weapons. Cartels will look for new routes.” “It’s a good partnership in terms of security,” the security analyst explained. “They are strengthening cooperation between both countries, as well as their cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against drug cartels.” Guatemalan and Mexican officials discussed security issues and other topics during the 11th Mexico-Guatemala Binational Commission meeting in Mexico City in May 2013. The two countries must cooperate to strengthen security in the border region, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera Castro said during the closing ceremony of the binational meeting. Guatemala and Mexico cannot allow organized crime groups like Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel (CDG) and the Sinaloa Cartel to operate freely, Carrera Castro said. During the past 15 months, Guatemalan and Mexican security forces have captured several important organized crime operatives who operated transnationally: • In May 2013, Guatemala’s National Civil Police captured Samuel Escobar, 20, an alleged high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel operative. Police captured Escobar in the department of San Marcos, near the Pacific coast. He was carrying a gun, jewelry, and more than $128,000 in cash. Escobar was with a gang which was threatening to kill police officers unless they stopped looking for him, Guatemala Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. National Civil Police also captured Deisy Vallagran, 57, a suspected drug trafficker who was allegedly hiding firearms, drugs, and a money-counting machine in her home, and Juventino Encarnacion Garcia, 44, an alleged drug trafficker suspected of working with El Chapo. • In September 2012, Mexican Army soldiers captured Sergio Armando Barrera Salcedo, an alleged Sinaloa Cartel operative who is known as “El Checo.” He is suspected of receiving drugs that were smuggled through the Guatemala-Mexico border and transporting them throughout Mexico. • In July 2012, Guatemalan National Civil Police agents and Army soldiers captured 27 alleged Los Zetas operatives in the suburb of Quetzal, near Guatemala City. The suspects were all Mexican nationals. They were suspected of engaging in killings, extortion, kidnappings, arms smuggling, and drug trafficking. Improving security By Dialogo October 09, 2013 Important captures For years, Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, and other organized crime groups have used the 1,000-kilometer long Guatamala-Mexico border for drug trafficking and other illicit enterprises. While some drugs are smuggled from Central America to Mexico and the United States in boats and planes, the vast majority of drugs – 76 percent – are trafficked through the Guatemala-Mexico border, according to security analysts.