TAKE OUT TO HELP OUT: How lockdown inspired these two Wokingham businesses to launch

Picture: James Harris
Take Out To Help Out

THIS WEEK, Wokingham. Today has been learning all about launching a lockdown business.

Local takeaways Jerk From Home and Spesh-Tails have both welcomed our Take Out To Help Out campaign, and hope they can count on the borough’s continued support.

Wokingham residents Lavelle Bedward-Ona and Humzell Butt launched Jerk From Home just a few weeks ago, in a bid to “bring some spice” to the town.

The takeaway service delivers the taste of the Caribbean to people’s front doorsteps, in the form of Jamaican mac and cheese, jerk chicken and curried goat.

“We wanted to share a bit of Caribbean culture, Lavelle’s amazing cooking skills, and the flavours that are in her food with Wokingham,” Mr Butt explained. “There was no Caribbean takeaway in the town, so it was a gap in the market.

“Also, people are working from home, so why not Jerk From Home?”

Jerk From Home
A platter from Jerk From Home

Despite launching in the middle of lockdown, Ms Bedward-Ona and Mr Butt said their takeaway service has received an incredible response so far.

“We’ve taken things very cautiously, but we’ve had surprisingly positive feed-back,” they said. “We’ve found that Wokingham has been really supportive.”

Now, the duo are counting on the continued support of Wokingham’s residents to make their lockdown dream a permanent reality.

“I’ve been furloughed twice now, and Humzell has been furloughed once already, so takeaway orders are vital income for us,” Ms Bedward-Ona explained.

“Buying local helps us and helps the community, and most of the money we get is put back into the business to make it better for people.”

James Harris, founder of cocktail delivery service Spesh-Tails, also launched during lockdown after finding himself without any work last year.

“My background is in running bars, and then I started to run big events but they were all cancelled when covid hit,” he said. “I had all this stock left over and nothing to do with it, so I started making cocktails to deliver to people’s homes.”

Spesh-Tails brings cocktails to your home Picture: James Harris

He said business is very dependent on the time of year, so he solely relies on the support of the local community to keep going.

“Because I don’t have any actual work, this is my only income at the moment,” Mr Harris explained. “Not only does it help me, but it’s also nice to be part of a community where we help each other.”

Much like the owners of Jerk From Home, he is also hoping people will continue to order takeaway cocktails as lockdown continues.

“When people do place an order, it makes a massive, massive difference,” he said. “I appreciate every single order that has been taken, and it all really helps.”

Spesh-Tails and Jerk From Home also share a very similar philosophy of giving back whenever they can.

Picture: Bethany Chappell

At Spesh-Tails, Mr Harris has been going above and beyond to pay people’s kindness forward, sharing flyers for other local takeaways with his deliveries.

“It’s nice to support each other,” he said. “I’ve been working with Leona’s Bespoke Catering and Roast Wokingham, and we swap flyers.

“I don’t ask for anything from that because I just want to help promote local businesses, and if they want to do the same with my flyers that’s brilliant.”

And Ms Bedward-Ona and Mr Butt hope to start giving back to the community when Jerk From Home scales up too.

“With all the support we’ve received from people, who we don’t even know, ordering our food we’d love to be able to give that back,” Ms Bedward-Ona said.

Mr Butt added: “At the moment, when we have repeat orders, we try and throw something in for free without telling them because it’s so important to support those who support you.

“We will try and give back as much as we can.”

Spesh-Tails offers free delivery to all Berkshire customers, and delivers between 10am and 8pm daily.

Orders can be placed on Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp.

To order delivery or collection from Jerk From Home, contact the business on Facebook or Instagram.

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