Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus statement & updates

Original statement - 12th March 2020

With many of our customers understandably concerned about COVID-19 developing in so many countries, we want to let you know that we are committed to adhering to the strictest protocols advised by the World Health Organisation, the UK government, the Scottish government and local authority Environmental Health departments.  As you probably already realise, this advice is not always absolutely clear and can even appear contradictory on occasion.  We are therefore erring on the side of caution.

All Cake Stuff employees are fully aware of the current requirements and have been practising extremely high levels of health and safety procedures over the past few weeks to ensure that the highest possible hygiene standards are maintained throughout every aspect of our business.

The Cake Stuff warehouses are already highly maintained hygienic environments but, even so, we have instructed warehouse team members to wash their hands and use sanitiser gel every 30 minutes.

Our teams are also carrying out additional cleaning of all packaging arriving into the warehouses (the outer packaging from orders being delivered to us) and we are not re-using any packaging that has arrived within the past 6 weeks.  We will recycle this packaging material but we won’t re-use it to ship out a customer’s order, so all packaging we are using is brand new.

Although we stress that it has not happened yet, should any member of the Cake Stuff team return from an affected area abroad (or should any member of their family or household return from such an area) they will automatically have to self-isolate for 14 days.  Similarly, should any member of the Cake Stuff team develop symptoms that cause concern, they will automatically self-isolate.

Our delivery partners have put similar measures in place so that all vehicles and equipment are cleaned regularly.  Hand-held scanners are sanitized throughout the working day but we advise all customers to wash their hands thoroughly after accepting and unpacking any delivery (whether from us or anyone else) in line with current government advice.

Please be aware of possible delays to deliveries in some countries where additional restrictions on travel and deliveries may be in force.  There are no delays in shipping orders.  There are no delays in delivering orders within the UK apart from in areas still being affected by flooding.  There are still around 100 active flood warnings in the UK – please bear this in mind now that Coronavirus has knocked flooding off the TV and radio news spots.

We will update this page whenever necessary.

 

Update - 17th March 2020

We have been pretty shocked at some of the ridiculous price increases we've seen recently and at the absolutely exorbitant prices being charged for hand sanitiser and cleaning chemicals.

To some people it's a simple matter of supply-and-demand but, to us, this kind of practice smacks of 'price gouging' - an exploitative pricing policy that during a time of national emergency is downright unethical.  Some of these price increases are caused by manufacturers, so the increased cost is passed down through various levels of distributors, wholesalers and retailers.  In other cases, retailers are simply hiking up their selling prices to profit from the increased demand.

Cake Stuff are totally opposed to that kind of pricing so we are publicly committing to hold our prices at normal levels - we have no intention of profiteering from the current situation.

The only possible exception to this is where our suppliers increase their prices dramatically, leaving us to decide whether to run out of stock of a product or continue to offer it, but at a higher price.  It hasn't happened yet, but should this have to happen we will make it clear in the Product Details why the price has increased and we promise that the increase will only be what's needed to recoup the actual increase from the supplier.

Although we feel that not increasing prices because of increased demand / shortages of stock is the ethical thing to do, this potentially creates another problem . . . we are more likely to sell out of a product because (a) our price is lower and (b) we have stock.  Rationing stock or limiting what customers can buy is not something we want to consider - we're not dealing with essential everyday products so we really don't think it's our place to impose restrictions on loyal customers.  All we can do is gently advise that we may (may!) sell out of certain products a little faster than normal and may (may!) have to pass on moderate price increases where our suppliers increase our prices.

When this all ends (and it will end!) we hope everyone will remember those companies who profiteered and those who tried to support cake making community.

 

picture: Chocolate Coronavirus 'Easter Eggs' by French chocolatier Jean-Francois Pré.  Jean-Francois, from Landivisiau in Western France's Finistere region, created the chocolate shells sprinkled with red almonds for his customers as he says "it makes them smile in these difficult times."

 

Contacting Us - 17th March 2020

In line with the latest advice from the UK Government regarding pregnant women, we have made provision for most of our Customer Service team to work from home with immediate effect.

The months ahead are going to be extremely challenging but we will protect and support our colleagues to the very best of our ability.  We will continue to answer as many phone calls as possible but would ask our customers to understand that this may become impossible due to the entire Customer Service team working from home.  Please be assured that colleagues working from home are in continual contact with the office, warehouses and delivery partners, and will be able to offer you the same fast, friendly help we are known for.

For any Customer Service enquiries please email the team direct at [email protected]

 

 

Stricter Restrictions - 24th March 2020

Following yesterday's announcements by both the UK and Scottish governments regarding the closing of shops, pubs etc and stricter restrictions on everyone's movements, we've spoken again with our team to decide the best way forward.

At the present time it is our intention to carry on accepting and shipping orders for as long as we possibly can.  All colleagues who can work from home are now doing so and no colleagues in the higher risk group (eg pregnant women) are at work.  We are not a shop - we have no contact with customers at either warehouse, so government instructions re closure of retail premises do not apply.

Both warehouses are operating with small teams who have volunteered to come to work and we have very strict controls in place to maintain social distancing - each team member is working on their own and far away from anyone else, plus we have everyone wearing PPE gloves, regularly washing their hands and cleaning down all surfaces.

We're working very hard to ensure continuity of supply without asking customers to pay any more for products, but we are relying on dozens of manufacturers to also carry on as normal.  Some will decide to close so please understand that some products will become out-of-stock.

Royal Mail have already suspended the Special Delivery guarantee - which is a sign that other couriers will very shortly suspend their guarantees too.  We may therefore have to suspend certain services such as Express Shipping as courier delivery times increase but we are shipping all orders as quickly as we possibly can.

We don't feel that 'panic buying' is a particular problem when it comes to cake supplies, but no doubt we could still be accused of encouraging this if we say the wrong thing.  So, choosing our words carefully, we are simply advising customers that (1) there is a growing likelihood that certain products may become unavailable as certain manufacturers close down, (2) there is a growing likelihood that all national courier services become overwhelmed and deliveries will slow down or even be suspended in some areas, and (3) looking at what has happened in Italy and France, there is the chance that the government may impose even tighter restrictions on us getting to work, potentially reaching the point where we need to close.

The situation remains fluid and likely to change again very shortly, so we will do our best to keep you updated.

 

 

Changes to courier delivery services - 26th March 2020

In order to help cope with massive increase in deliveries, including food and health supplies, the government has relaxed some rules regarding deliveries.  This means service from all couriers (and Royal Mail) has changed slightly.  Specifically with regards to Cake Stuff deliveries, please note . . . 

  • DPD are now delivering for longer throughout the day - they could deliver up to 9pm
  • DPD no longer require a signature on delivery - van drivers have the discretion to leave parcels in a safe place, so please be aware of your one hour delivery slot *(see below)
  • DPD have suspended the service where you can collect parcels from a Pick-Up Shop - many of these shops are closed on government advice
  • Overnight delivery is no longer guaranteed due to backlogs and delays in some parts of the country - please allow an extra day-or-two for all deliveries

Please be assured that we are still shipping orders as normal - our small team is working extremely hard to ship everything even faster than normal.  This means that even if delivery is delayed by a day, your order should still reach you within the estimated timescale we show at checkout.

*We urge customers to ensure they supply a mobile phone number when ordering and to watch for the text / email alert from DPD which confirms your one-hour delivery window.  As long as you are home and expecting delivery, almost all delivery issues can be avoided but if you encounter any problems please contact us right away and we'll do everything we can to help.

 

 

Updates to courier & Royal Mail deliveries - 9th May 2020

The latest delivery advice from DPD, our main delivery partner, is this:

1.   the delivery driver will maintain a minimum 2 metre distance

2.   proof of delivery will be a photo of the parcel(s) taken by the driver at your open door (you do not have to be in the photo)

3.   if you are self-isolating, you can leave an signed note on the door telling driver where to leave your order (the driver will photograph this)

 
Royal Mail are reporting delays delivering all items of mail, with Royal Mail 24 (what we used to call '1st class post') taking up to a week to arrive in some areas of the country.  This delay is due to a massive increase in parcel volumes and also due to Royal Mail trying to operate with reduced staff while respecting social distancing and other safety measures.
 
Here at Cake Stuff, we are operating with a very small team and are strictly adhering to all social distancing and other health and hygiene measures to keep our colleagues safe.  We are shipping orders as quickly as humanly possible around the clock in the hope that any delay by the couriers or Royal Mail will be minimised.
 
We are carefully monitoring the progress of all orders every day and where things are moving at normal speed we are happy to continue offering faster Priority and Express shipping options. Our Express shipping guarantee is still in place and we're happy to credit the £5 Express charge should your order arrive late, but please understand this is all we can do in these very unusual and difficult circumstances.
 
If we see that the progress of orders is slowing down, either due to our warehouses struggling to ship orders as quickly with social distancing rules in place or because DPD are reporting delays, then we will temporarily suspend the Express and Priority shipping options.  The availability of Express and Priority shipping options will, therefore, vary on a daily basis.
 
We realise this is not ideal but we're all in the same boat, so would ask for your understanding. 
 
We stress that the vast majority of orders are still arriving on time but to avoid delays we are encouraging everyone to order in plenty of time and to allow an extra day-or-two for delivery, just in case of delays outwith our direct control.

 

For any Customer Service enquiries please email the team direct at [email protected]

Stay safe!