20mph: Takeaway ditches deliveries due to 'slow service' after speed limit change

Yiannos Fish Bar, in the village of Mynydd Isa, Flintshire, has now switched to an external delivery partner.  Credit: Media Wales

A takeaway has ditched its in-house delivery service amid frustrations over Wales’ new 20mph regime. 

Yiannos Fish Bar, in the village of Mynydd Isa, Flintshire, has now switched to an external delivery partner. 

Shop manager Stefanos Skattou said customers were complaining of slow service and he was getting “stressed” by over-cautious drivers as he delivered takeaways.

The business has jettisoned its own online delivery facility and is advising customers to visit the shop instead – and save “at least 20% on your orders”.Stefanos said Wales' new 20mph default speed limit had made it “impossible” to keep up with delivery orders. 

It was also causing him to be away from the shop for longer periods, leaving him unable to help out staff during the evening rush.As the chip shop lies in one of Wales’ 20mph pilot areas, it had prior experience of the new default limit and had managed to cope. 

But Stefanos said speed observance across the county had changed since September 19 and that many drivers are now travelling slower than required because they’re still confused by the new arrangements.Stefanos said: “I make the deliveries and it was getting more stressful for me. Even on 40mph sections, some people were still driving at 20mph. 

More than 450,000 people have signed a petition to scrap the default 20mph speed limit.

"My customers were saying: ‘Why are you taking so long?’ So I thought it is better for them to come and collect from the shop.“At some times we have 30 customers in the shop - but I have to leave to make deliveries. I wanted to concentrate on my loyal customers. 

"If they come to the shop, they will get a cheaper price because they don’t have to pay for the commission the new delivery operator charges.“But, I understand, some people don’t mind paying the difference for delivery. But when I was doing the deliveries, it was impacting on the business.”

A decision had to be made in the face of rising costs. In the past year, monthly gas bills have tripled from £450. The shop’s weekly fish order now comes to £1,000.Stefanos said: “People don’t understand, they ask why the prices are going up. But our prices are going up. 

"Last year the price of fish went through the roof after the war began in Ukraine. It’s now stabilised but instead of cod we now have Scottish haddock. It’s delivered fresh each day and it’s very nice, better than before.

It is estimated that the move will save the NHS millions of pounds per year. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

“But as a takeaway we must pay VAT on the fish. Other food businesses don’t pay VAT. And on October 30, single-use plastics and polystyrene takeaway containers are being banned in Wales. It’s all extra cost.”This, and the “stress” of slower deliveries, prompted Stefanos to axe in-house deliveries, contract them out and focus on in-shop orders instead. Having seen the new 20mph in operation during the pilot, he is not opposed to the concept in principle.Stefanos said: “There are always some idiots who drive too fast and put lives in danger. So I understand why they are doing this [20mph defaults]. But it needs better management and for drivers to become more aware.”

Last year, in the British Kebab awards, Yiannos Fish Bar was named the “best kebab house in Wales”. Kebabs are the online staple, whereas in the shop more fish and chips are sold.

The Welsh Government pointed out the chip shop had maintained in-house deliveries during Flintshire’s 18-month pilot, and said the shop had merely changed its “delivery mechanics”. 

A spokesperson said: “Evidence from the first phase rollouts suggests that there has been minimal impact on journey times.“Our impact assessment shows an increase of one minute per journey. This is against an average annual reduction of nine fatalities, 98 serious injuries and 219 slight injuries, and an average annual increase in cycling and walking trips of around 11 million.“There are also a number of wider benefits. These include reduced noise pollution, broader health impacts from active travel, increased social interactions, retail spending and land values.”

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