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Since its first site in Wimbledon Village was opened in 1997, Bayley & Sage has grown a portfolio of eight delis – in Parsons Green, Battersea, Fulham Road, Northcote Road, Turnham Green, Wandsworth and Chelsea – and has long been renowned for its focus on great food and exemplary service.
In 2020, when the vital role that independent retailers play in the community came to the fore, the investment Bayley & Sage puts into the customer experience was clear for all to see – and its Parsons Green outpost particularly stood out to the cheese retail community as worthy of note.
“It is paramount that all people feel safe, secure and happy when entering our stores, now more than ever,” says Jennie Allen, owner of the Bayley & Sage family of shops. The deli drastically evolved its retail offering as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19: “No more loose olives or loose dried fruit and nuts, all our bakery items are now wrapped. We closed the charcuterie counters and even the coffee machines in the first lockdown.”
Today, the boldest USP of Bayley & Sage is its absolute focus on maintaining the safety and enjoyment of the customers venturing into its stores. This takes two forms: physical safety tools, “Masks, visors, sanitiser, markers on the floor and screens are all new additions in the stores,” says Jennie; and an evermore conscientious effort to ensure that customers feel safe, secure and happy while on Bayley & Sage premises. “As well as a person by the door, greeting people and controlling the numbers in the stores, we do what we have always done, acknowledge people, chat to them, make them feel valued and comfortable by offering outstanding fresh food in a friendly and knowledgeable manner.”
Bayley & Sage has long been respected for the service and experience the passionate team offers, but Jennie’s professional pride reached a peak during the period of unprecedented challenge in early spring. “Never have I been as proud of the team as I was during March 2020,” she says. “When faced with enormous difficulties, uncertainties and challenges they continued to do what we do best: welcoming, helping and chatting with everyone that enters our stores. We continue our aim to have customers leaving our stores happier than when they arrived.”
As the loyalty that consumers within local communities continue to display for their most-loved independent retailers grows, Bayley & Sage’s invaluable efforts to keep their customers safe, secure and happy while in their shops shines through as an example to businesses across the retail spectrum.
Rachel, head of deli at Bayley & Sage Parsons Green, was specifically highlighted during Speciality Food’s research for Inspirational Cheese Retailers as a member of staff who particularly exemplified perfect customer service during these troubled times. Here, she shares her thoughts on the efforts we can all make so customers feel at home:
“We need to understand the customer and make them feel safe by doing simple things like wearing gloves, masks and keeping our distance. It’s important to be respectful, always, and try to have a laugh where we can. In a world where you can be anything, be kind. All of mankind is in the same boat for this pandemic, and we should, first and foremost, see each other as the people we are; doing this shows me that I have the best customers.”
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