From the wet fish display and open kitchen to the award-lined walls, it’s immediately obvious that Henley’s of Wivenhoe is not your run of the mill chippy. In a picture-perfect Essex fishing village, where you can hear the masts of small boats clinking gently on the estuary, David Henley has been perfecting portions of fish and chips for 40 years.
A regular place in UK Top 20 award lists (not to mention a bona fide Guinness World Record: humble spud to served chip in just 3 minutes 42 seconds) are testament to both the graft and craft of David and his team, some of whom have been with him for decades.
For locals and food critics alike, the results are well worth savouring. Tom Parker-Bowles, one of Masterchef’s more demanding judges, said: “I have to tell you I think I’ve found perfection – Henley’s fish and chips.”
Increase in turnover
“The process was simple and transparent, the application was written in layman’s terms, and the support was really good. I think the money arrived the next day.”
With a successful shop, happy customers, a settled place in the community and no shortage of plaudits, David’s reasons for looking to Worldpay Business Finance for funding support say a lot about the changing landscape for small businesses. His story also provides some useful takeaways for other creative merchants.
“I can’t help but look for new opportunities, always have,” says David, “and then there are the things you need to plan for. We use quality kitchen equipment, but it doesn’t last forever, so we’re looking at a refurb every five years or so.”
As a Worldpay customer, David’s first funding arrangement came several years ago through Worldpay Business Finance, in partnership with Liberis. This funding enabled him to renovate his shop. The experience was a good one: “The process was simple, transparent, the application was written in layman’s terms, and the support was really good. I think the money arrived the next day.”
David contrasts his experience with another finance supplier which “was a bit of a nightmare to be honest. They weren’t set up properly, the communication was terrible. There’s obviously a lot of competitors in the field now, but I think Liberis were around at the beginning and it shows. They’re well organised.”
During the pandemic, unlike many in the hospitality industry, Henley’s actually experienced a spike in sales. “It’s no surprise really”, says David, “fish and chip shops are not like sit down restaurants or pubs. We come into our own and the community relies on us during times like that. But because we are pigeonholed within hospitality, it can be harder to get finance.”
Another round of funding helped pay for an outside pick-up station. While helping reduce queues and keep the shop from being overcrowded with Deliveroo and JustEat couriers, it also proved perfect for customers during Covid. “During the pandemic, people just felt safer paying by card and picking up food with a bit of distance, but card sales are now increasingly becoming the norm. We have Essex University nearby and with students it’s cards every time.”
The increase in card use makes Worldpay Business Finance a very attractive option, allowing David to cover his funds quickly and without any fuss, as payments are made automatically as a simple percentage of card sales.
David tells a tale that will be familiar to many small business owners: “These days, the amount of admin in running the business is incredible. I spend a lot more time in the office now. I’m really passionate about sustainability and we have a MSC certification. I’m proud of it, but it takes a lot of paperwork.”
Not one for rose-tinted specs (“I was around when interest rates hit 15%!” he says), anything that reduces David’s admin time is nonetheless a definite win. “It costs a little bit more than some other options and I understand that, but I don’t carry the risk – but it’s definitely worth it not to have to worry about monthly direct debits and other admin. With this arrangement, Liberis takes care of everything.”
David’s creative thinking and eye for an opportunity found a perfect match in Liberis, and business has never been better. “The funding from Liberis was a game changer for us. It allowed us to expand our business and capitalize on this, as our competitors were downsizing or reducing their services. We’ve seen an increase in turnover of over 20%.”
David spoke highly of the service received from Liberis, in particular Liam, a Senior Sales Executive. “He was very professional. From an online enquiry Monday evening, to having the funds in my account virtually the next day. Amazing!”
With four funding rounds wrapped up, David says “I’ve had a great relationship with Liberis, I like the continuity of it. It’s very transparent, straightforward, nothing’s hidden away. It’s been a very positive experience for me.”
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