Rick Rayner has fed the good people of Bognor Regis for more than 40 years. In that time, he has earned an almost legendary status among Bognorians for serving exceptional, home-cooked style food at affordable prices at his family-run Rick’s Cafe in the town’s busy Queensway.
So, when confronted with the coronavirus crisis and the reality of having to close his eatery, Rick was never going to simply close down his operation and abandon the many customers, vulnerable and elderly included.
Now Rick, who runs the cafe with wife Colleen and a dedicated team, is gearing up to launch a free delivery service to ensure those who have come to rely on the popular cafe can still enjoy wholesome meals — from traditional English breakfasts to tasty lunches.
Rick, who started work in the industry as a teenager at a cafe run by Terry Turner (brother of Pip Turner, he of Turner’s Pies fame), explains:
“It’s far more than a cafe. Yes, the main reason people come in is for the food, of course but there is a strong community feel here and we see lots of regulars who enjoy not just the meals but the social side, too.
“We have been supported over the years by these people and feel duty bound to try to help them out in this time of need and thought the free delivery service was a great way to do this.”
The cafe has closed after new government rules announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson banning social premises such as pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, gyms and sports centres in a bid to halt the progress of the Covid-19 virus.
And Rick added:
“Of course, we are happy to comply with the government policy of closing places where people congregate and this is absolutely the right thing to do. But we can deliver takeaways and from Monday, March 23 we will do that, as well as delivering to those who need us most.”
Long-standing customer Kevin Welling, a plumber from Aldwick, says the service is a fantastic idea. He added:
“Not everyone has a ready-made support network and the old and vulnerable need to self-isolate this is a great way of ensuring they get the nourishment they need. The grub at Rick’s Café is delicious and inexpensive, too.”
Colleen says the deliveries will be first and foremost for the elderly and vulnerable while other people can collect takeaway orders. She added:
“We will be opening only for takeaways and deliveries. Please phone ahead and place your order on 01243 842598. We appreciate all your support and know that along with other local businesses with everyone behind us we will get through this!”