Support local

Here at the Guild of Fine Food we have been supporting those who sell and make food for 40 years. Our industry faces an incredibly challenging time and we must ensure our own businesses survive, but it is in everyone’s interests to ensure that independent food retail is here in a year’s time.

There are huge demands on the sector, which are creating BOTH challenges and opportunities. There is also an awful lot of information circulating the internet and social media that generically helps business and individuals: all useful

We are working hard to put together resources to support all those involved in our sector during this difficult time:

  • Make sure you are signed up for our support bulletin: sent out at every fortnight, full of information specifically relevant to independent food retailers and the producers who supply them. It will give you practical business support.
  • To keep up to date of all news affecting our sector, remember to update your Fine Food Digest subscription to receive it directly to your home address by clicking here. If you are an independent retailer and do not currently receive a printed copy and would like to going forward, please apply here.
  • If you have or are looking for stock, check out the map below for the latest from the producers, distributors and retailers in our sector
  • Download helpful factsheets and printable signage for your business

In addition, the Guild of Fine Food is an affinity member of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). They are lobbying government on our behalf and have a large communications team constantly monitoring the situation.

We are constantly building on this dedicated – but simple – online presence that we hope is an invaluable tool for those in our trade during these times. A marketplace, a help desk, and a community: Many thanks to those who have taken the time to get in touch.

The Guild team have been on the phone speaking to retailers, producers, and wholesalers establishing what will immediately help their businesses. Please share any thoughts or ideas you have on how we can all survive the crisis via email so that we can share the best with our community.

John Farrand
Managing director, Guild of Fine Food

Brexit help page

As part of our support for small food & drink businesses, we continue to help you navigate the Brexit maze by picking out salient links and points that you should read and act upon.  Check out ourlatest advice on Brexit here.

Photo by Rocco Dipoppa on Unsplash

Map: stock available

As part of our commitment to supporting our community, we have started to gather information from producers, retailers and distributors who either have stock or need supplies.  You can search for information in the colour-coded map below. 

Producers, distributors, retailers and suppliers (of equipment/services) are marked on the map and if you click on each marker, further information on products available, delivery options and other useful details will appear.  Also listed are businesses that are currently looking for extra staffTo see full size map click here.  In the full size map, there is a search option (look for the magnifying glass) where you can search for specific words, e.g. “pasta” or “cheese”.

If you have or are in need of stock and would like your business to appear on this map so that other industry colleagues can contact you, please complete the relevant form below:

Please note: this map will be updated regularly throughout the day.  If you have submitted a form, it may take a short time for you to appear on the map.  Rest assured, our team is working hard to get your information out to our community as soon as possible.

Results of our business benchmark survey

‘The view from HQ’ – John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, reflects on the results of our business benchmark survey. See more videos from us over on our Youtube channel.

Many thanks to those of you that gave feedback in our recent business benchmark survey. 

The Fine Food Digest team have been busy taking a first dive into the results…

“While many independent food retailers are doing brisk business despite the coronavirus crisis, many producers have seen a sharp drop in sales since lockdown began, according to new research by the Guild of Fine Food.”  Read more here

Stay tuned to our social media and support ebulletins (sign up here), for more survey insights in the coming weeks.

Read the FAQs from our survey here

Updated resources - Working Safely

A list of tailored government advice for different scenarios has been updated, providing further examples of how social distancing and other measures might be implemented by employers to protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus, whilst still continuing to trade. Below are those we feel may be most relevant for you.

Working safely – Shops and Branches

Working safely – Takeaway and delivery

Working safely – Offices

Working safely – Factories and warehouses

Communicating with both your staff and customers how you’ve complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 is vital to build trust and keep customers loyal. The Craft Butchers Association has produced a simple 5 point poster to help you demonstrate your compliance clearly and succinctly.

Download the compliance poster here.

The HSE have published some online templates and case studies to help businesses complete revised risk assessments – case studies relevant to our sector include Butchers, Food preparation and service, Cold storage and warehousing, Convenience stores, and Poultry farms.

Covid-19 Risk Assessments – Templates and Case Studies 

ACS have issued further guidance specific to working in shops and branches.

Working in shops safely factsheet

Factsheets from the Guild

We have disseminated much of the commercial advice that has become a little overwhelming, and made it relevant to you.  Download our latest support factsheets below:

Finance & cash flow support factsheet

Funding support factsheet

Keeping staff and customers safe factsheet

Informing customers and community factsheet 

Customer collection from store

Home delivery services

How to prevent the spread of Coronavirus

Setting up an online shop

Labelling requirements for food businesses

Many retailers are turning to home delivery as an option to reach local customers in self-isolation or unable to travel to their local shop.

ACS have issued guidance for retailers on how to start a home delivery service.

Learn more >

Printable signage to keep staff & customers safe

Government guidelines on social distancing is due to be published shortly.  In the meantime, through our affinity partnership, you can use these ACS resources:

Printable signage to encourage 2 meter distancing at tills
Printable signage to encourage contactless payment & responsible tillpoint behaviour
Printable signage to encourage 2 meter distancing whilst queuing outside shop

The key rule is a 2 meter distance between each customer and between customers and your staff.  The best way to do this is with floor markings and signage.

Please also consider:

  • Number of people in store at busy periods
  • How you restock safely (consider closing aisles, closing store to restocking period, using bollards/markers to separate customers & staff)

The full government list of essential retail businesses can be found here. “Supermarkets and other food shops, petrol stations, corner shops, newsagents and post offices” can remain open as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

In the Press

As part of its wide-ranging support for small retailers and producers during the COVID-19 crisis, the Guild of Fine Food has been working hard to connect with the press to champion the work of the independents, sharing innovations and success stories from across our food and drink community.

See the latest activity over in our press room here.

Communicating your message

You’ve taken in the situation. You’ve adapted your business.

Now you’re keen to get your message out there, but you’re not sure how.

Finding the time to market your business can often be a challenge when you are busy with customer orders, coordinating supply issues and managing staff. Now, more so than ever.

Your regional press will want to spread the word about local businesses going the extra mile, so a press release can be a great way to get your message out to both new and existing customers. We’ve created a DIY press release template, where you can add in your details and initiatives, along with a factsheet on some tops tips for finding and engaging with press contacts.

Download the Factsheet

Download the Press Release template

Small business loans announced

For smaller businesses that have found it difficult to apply for CBILS, the government has announced that small and medium-sized businesses will be eligible to apply for bounce back loans worth up to £50,000. It is a new scheme that allows businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 to help them through the Covid-19 crisis. The loans will be 100 percent backed by the government, unlike under the CBILS which is 80 percent.


The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4th May and businesses will be able to apply after filling out a short online form. The government has said that funds will be deposited into bank accounts within 24 hours. Find out more here. 

Compensation for small businesses

Information for Business Rate Relief, Cash Grants, Loan Schemes, HMRC Payment Delay and Insurance Claims can be found on the dedicated government website and ACS fact sheet.

Learn more >

Latest updates affecting our sector

To keep up to date of all news affecting our sector, remember to update your Fine Food Digest subscription to receive it directly to your home address by clicking here

If you are an independent retailer and do not currently receive a printed copy and would like to going forward, please apply here.

  • Only essential retailers may now stay open ( full government list of essential retail businesses here). “Supermarkets and other food shops, petrol stations, corner shops, newsagents and post offices” can remain open as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • The PM said we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks, but only if we all take the steps government has outlined to reduce the peak of the virus.
  • Extension of interest free period on loans: now 12 months (previously 6 months). Loans available from Monday 23 March.
  • Deferring on VAT payments: no business will pay VAT from now until end of June. We will then have until the end of the year to pay those bills.
  • Companies can apply for a three month extension to file accounts. Those citing issues around Covid-19 should be automatically and immediately granted an extension. More information here.
  • Details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have now been published by the government: Any employer is eligible and can apply for a grant to cover 80% of retained workers up to £2,500 per month. Initial three month period, with no limit on amount of funding available.
  • Government will pay self-employed a taxable grant worth 80% of average income, up to £2,500 a month, calculated using average monthly profits over last three financial years, accessible by beginning of June and limited up to £50k of trading profits and to people who make the majority of their income from self-employment.
  • ‘Key worker’ definition includes those working in food retail, distribution, and manufacturing. This means that the children of people working in those businesses (without other means of childcare) can still send their children to school.  It is the responsibility of schools to validate and implement the measure with the support of government guidance.
  • Contactless payment limit will rise to £45 (from £30) on 1st April 2020 – retailers are encouraged to use contactless wherever possible.
  • Public Health England have published advice on social distancing for food businesses: find it here

'Good News' stories from our sector

There are some amazing innovations and partnerships being formed in our industry right now.  We’ve collated some of these ‘good news’ stories here

Please continue to share your stories with us – they are helping other businesses with ideas and are a support to all during this difficult time.  You can share them by email to and via our social media pages (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).

How to contact the Guild

The Guild of Fine Food team are currently working from our Gillingham and London offices, and from home, depending on department.

Please contact the team via the following email addresses:

All inboxes are monitored Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm.



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