My visit to Webbe’s at the Fish Cafe in Tower Street was supposed to be a formal interview with Rebecca Webbe, who with her husband Paul, are owners of the restaurant, one of a trilogy they own and manage which includes Webbe’s Rock-a-nore in Hastings and The Wild Mushroom in Westfield.
But I felt at ease the moment I walked in as it was obvious that the appropriate safety measures had been put in place to protect customers and staff, and both of us, wearing protective face masks, went upstairs where we sat two metres apart to have our ‘chat’ whilst the team in the restaurant were busily preparing for the lunchtime diners – hot work when wearing facemasks and protective visors.
Owning and running three established and successful restaurants is not without its challenges in ‘normal’ times, let alone at the moment when ‘normal’ is a distant memory. Measures put in place take thought, time and a big investment. So many questions, changes to routine, redesigning of public areas and menus, new signage, opening times and staff rotas. A period of huge adjustment, and adapting quickly and efficiently is not just to comply with government guidelines, it’s a case of having to – for survival and self preservation.
But, after a very stressful few months, the ‘not knowing’ is beginning to crystallize. Guidelines and information are at last available from government, there is direction and the light at the end of the long tunnel has been switched back on.
Rebecca and Paul have many very loyal diners who they would like to thank sincerely for returning once more and, despite the changes, they have been very receptive. Bookings are increasing daily, customers are coming back to somewhere they enjoy and, despite a degree of nervousness and with questions being asked, they feel safe, and know the food is very good quality and its origin is known and can be traced.
Throughout my chat with Rebecca, it was obvious that whilst the diners are essential to the business, the well being of her staff was equally important. Those returning to work have had to adapt to all the changes, wearing masks is not particularly comfortable, but those who have been furloughed will now be able to top up their earnings and the tips they receive make it all worth while, the icing on the cake.
All three restaurants are taking part in the Eat out to Help Out campaign which runs from 3 to 31 August, as covered last week in Rye News and bookings are being accepted now at all three. If you want good quality, locally sourced food in a safe and friendly environment, Rebecca, Paul and their teams are looking forward to welcoming diners old and new.
For more detailed information, current menus and availability, log on to www.webbesrestaurants.co.uk and if the customer reviews are anything to go by you will enjoy a lovely meal, professionally prepared and with fresh, local ingredients.
My interview was made very easy and it was obvious that Paul and Rebecca are going to ride this storm and come out the other side despite all the challenges along the way. They have a lot of support from customers of all ages, local and from further afield, many of whom have been coming here for years.
My interview finished, I tried to sum up my visit and found myself likening my impression of Rebecca to a bespoke recipe. Large helpings of positivity and determination in equal measures, a good splash of enthusiasm mixed together with a proven work ethic, a dash of good luck, plenty of hard work, a sprinkling of hope, and a huge will to succeed. A recipe for success and one from which others could benefit hugely by emulating.
Image Credits: Nick Forman , Rebecca Webbe , HM Government .