The husband and wife team running a food delivery app just for businesses in RCT

Meet the husband and wife who felt so strongly that independent takeaway businesses needed support following the pandemic that they launched a food delivery app specifically for their county borough.

Ryan Hughes, 28, and his wife, Kimberly Hughes, 31, know all too well what it’s been like to keep a business afloat during the pandemic as they run their own fish and chip shop.

The pair own Ship Deck, in Caerphilly, but they live in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), and decided to launch an app to support the independent businesses in the area who need a helping hand the most.

Ryan has worked in the takeaway industry since he was around 16 years old, and he eventually opened his fish and chip shop in 2019.

After a challenging two years the husband and wife decided they wanted to make a difference in the area by supporting local businesses and families, so they decided to launch a brand new online ordering app exclusively for RCT eateries called RCT Eats.

As so many businesses focused more on having an online ordering presence during the coronavirus pandemic, they knew this was something they needed to consider, but explained it can cost a lot to join the leading online platforms.

Read more: You can find more stories from across Rhondda Cynon Taf here.

Ryan Hughes and Kimberly pictured with their children, Ellie and Charlie

They say getting a presence on a well-known app can leave local businesses with very little profit – if any at all – due to the high commission that leading platforms take.

This is why the pair decided they wanted to help stop businesses being over-charged by the national ordering apps, and to create something that could really help support local people.

Ryan said: “It’s the amount of commission they take – like with Just Eat – the lowest I have seen is something like 13%, and it can go up to anything to around 30%.

“With VAT – that’s another 20%. These businesses are left with very little. That’s the reason really.

“When lockdown hit people had no choice but to go online so we were doing contact collections. We employed staff to answer the phones from home. We had to go online, but a big chunk of money was going to the online order. We realized we could do something to support local businesses.”

RCT Eats officially launched this week and the couple describes it as a “transparent company with commission rates of at least half compared to competitors”.

The app’s aim is to advertise each individual business where it’s most effective, so the local community can also benefit from using the app.

As part of the scheme they will also be hosting weekly giveaways, competitions and vouchers, and 100% of profits made will be going back into marketing each business and the community for at least the first 18 months.

Ryan Hughes pictured with his wife Kimberly

Ellie, aged 4, and Charlie, aged 9, showing off the new app

“It’s basically about keeping everything in RCT – we are supporting businesses and families in RCT,” added Ryan.

“We are going to keep going more and more.

“Takeaways definitely boomed during lockdown, but it’s hit and miss at times. As people have gone back to work it has dipped off a bit. At the start of lockdown takeaways were definitely booming. At the moment it’s product availability which is an issue.

“This is about doing as much as we can to make sure they are around for a long time.”

So far more than 30 businesses have already signed up to feature on the app. Each business is responsible for dispatching and delivering the orders, which means as much work is created for each business’s employees as possible.

The big aim of the app is to encourage people to keep shopping locally, and supporting the businesses that have worked hard to keep providing for customers when times got particularly tough during the pandemic.

Ryan said: “We have seen many shops close throughout the pandemic because of footfall issues.

“We want to support local businesses, and we hope the community gets behind it, and realizes keeping it local is keeping small independent businesses open and keeping local families in work.

“It’s all about keeping everything within the local area.”

More information about RCT Eats can be found on their Facebook page.

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