Shop local: Stratford take away business started in 1966 defies pandemic to keep serving
PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 October 2020
The owner of a fish and chip shop business established in 1966 has vowed the pandemic will not stop them serving.
Tony Zeolla of Ifratelli in Tramway Avenue, Stratford, explained how a lot now depends on whether there is another full lockdown.
“We’ve been here a long, long time. We’re not going to let this stop us,” Tony said.
He added that much depends on the key winter months which should usually see customer numbers rise.
“It all depends on if there’s any future lockdown. We’re taking it week by week,” he said.
Ifratelli opened its first fish bar in Water Lane, Stratford, in the year England won the World Cup.
The name Ifratelli comes from the Italian for brothers. It is named in honour of siblings Giovanni, Frank, Mario, Peter and brother-in-law, Peter, who set the business set up after moving to London from their village outside Naples.
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From Water Lane the family opened takeaways in Upton Park, Plaistow, Chadwell Heath and Tramway Avenue where Tony’s 75-year-old mum Anna sometimes helps out.
While the original brothers have retired, the second generation went on to branch out, with gastro pubs in Milton Keynes and Café Mondo opening at Stratford Library.
Trade at the Tramway Avenue takeaway is picking up since restrictions eased, but with a lot of the business’s regulars working from home and many of Stratford’s offices remaining empty, numbers have halved to about 100 per day.
Tony said that a £10,000 grant from the government and the cut to VAT has helped, but the eat out to help out scheme drew people away as Ifratelli does not offer tables.
“It was a bit of a disaster for us,” Tony said.
As with many businesses, Ifratelli has adapted to the situation inside with protective screens, sanitiser and limits on the number of customers in at one time.
It is also offering deliveries through Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats.
“We’re doing our best to carry on,” Tony said. “You see empty shops about. We want to make sure people know what’s on their doorstep and take advantage of it. Otherwise it might not be there anymore.”
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