Hospitality & Tourism

Published: April 30, 2020 | Updated: April 30, 2020

Hugs all round! Entrepreneur ‘Cribby’ is back in town trialling new drive-thru takeaway service

Mark Cribb, Managing Director, Urban Guild.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

He’s back!

One of Dorset’s most high-profile, and successful, entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry is trialling a new drive-thru takeaway service tomorrow, Friday May 1, and Saturday.

For many one of the most abiding images of Mark Cribb was a LinkedIn video at the start of the lockdown.

He was walking along a deserted beach and close to tears after furloughing his 110 staff and facing the collapse of his £4.5m turnover business.

But now the Managing Director of Urban Guild – known to many by his nickname ‘Cribby’ and for signing off his posts with the words ‘big hugs’ – has returned with a takeaway service involving contactless order, pay and pickup.

Two volunteers are assisting Mark with the pre-booked service which will operate from designated bays in the car park of his Urban Beach boutique hotel in Boscombe.

Customers can pre-order from a choice of up to seven main dishes, including fish and chips, pies and burgers, as well as sides and a range of drinks from fruit juices to ale, wine and prosecco.

They then choose a day and approximate collection time and pay online.

Customers are sent a text 30 minutes before the food is ready with a confirmed collection time and bay number.

Collections take place at the designated bay and time with the food placed in the boot of the car (or bike).

Mark said: “It took some time to come up with a way to offer completely contactless order, payment and collection but I’m very excited to launch the Urban Guild drive-thru.

“We’re trialling it but the plan is to do it every Friday and Saturday evening directly from Urban Beach Hotel in BH5.

“You don’t even need to get out of your car.

“With an allocated time and car park bay number we’ll pop the food straight in your boot and off you go.”

The Urban Guild business includes the seafront restaurant Urban Reef, The Wood Oven, Urban Garden as well as Urban Beach.

Mark, who is also known for hosting his ‘Humans of Hospitality’ podcast, said the takings from the new drive-thru were likely to be around one per cent of a normal Friday and Saturday night in his establishments.

But, he said: “I can’t sit here watching the business float into the sunset.

“If the trial is successful then we’ll continue.

“It’s what we do.”