Blayne-Anthony Dalley, Director of Far Out Fish Hut shares their business journey and how the support of Big Up Small Business has helped them.
Far Out Fish Hut was established in 1985 as a little fish hut at the border of Trelawny & St James. It offers delicious, freshly caught seafood prepared with local herbs and spices on a charcoal grill, right by the sea.
Far Out Fish Hut has seen many ups and downs including Hurricanes Ivan and Gilbert (the latter flattened it) and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a severe impact on the business. No customers were allowed in during lockdown, causing trade to grind to a halt. When we were eventually allowed to re-open, the protocols that had to be put in place for face-to-face interaction put an additional financial strain on the business. We had to rotate staff, re-train for the new paradigm, and pivot to stay afloat.
The support received from Big Up Small Business has been great. The training sessions and guidance have helped us to consider all aspects of the business through a new lens and, while some of the recommendations are yet to be implemented due to infrastructure constraints, they have been practical and meaningful nonetheless.
As a result of Big Up Small Business we have improved employee communication and developed a plan to expand the menu to include additional soups, sides, desserts and a kids’ menu. We received training in COVID -19 protocols and obtained the certification required from the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) to reopen. We have installed concrete perimeter fencing and reinstalled cameras to improve security. We have embarked on a third-party promotional campaign leveraging accommodations providers in and around the area to improve footfall and diversify clientele and we have also set up an Instagram page to help promote the business. Our plans for the future include hosting a monthly event, curating our own website and introducing an enhanced drink menu.
We were very fortunate to win the Big Up Small Business Risk Assessment Competition. The prize money was used to increase our cold storage both on and off-site, to reduce any threat of spoilage, and put up signs to alert customers of any potential dangers such as trip hazards. We also carried out some minor fixes to improve the entrance to the facility. Some of these risks were taken for granted prior to the competition, but we realized through doing the actual risk assessment exercise that these actions would definitely reduce risk to our patrons.
We are proud to be 36 years old. Not many small enterprises can boast such longevity. Thanks to the Travel Foundation, TUI Care Foundation and TPDCo for this wonderful collaboration which has not only provided insights, but also through Coral Purvil-Williams, Jamaica Programme Coordinator and Rebecca Armstrong, Sustainable Tourism Specialist at The Travel Foundation, a willingness to hold our hand to ensure sustainability and another 36 years of successful small business operations.
Free resources on marketing, pricing, health and safety and more are available to download free here.