Published: 09:56, 19 January 2021
| Updated: 10:53, 19 January 2021
A town centre coffee shop will launch a Tex-Mex takeaway service this week - and it could become a permanent fixture if successful.
Stag Coffee will begin filling orders at its Ashford branch tomorrow, with a 20% launch day discount and free delivery on offer.
Named El Ciervo, or The Stag in Spanish, it's hoped the side-business will be popular enough to expand to its Canterbury site in the future.
Founder Freddie Hewett said: "We kept adapting our business over the pandemic to pay the bills and survive, starting in March with a grocery delivery service for people who were shielding in Ashford, Canterbury and even up to Sevenoaks.
"When the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme came in, we reverted to a coffee shop but we had special dining nights where we tried out four cuisines - Greek, Mexican, American diner and vegan.
"We particularly enjoyed the Mexican and American night and they went down really well.
"The second lockdown wasn't quite the same, so we decided to just fully close down but we knew we needed to come up with a long-term solution to lockdowns because who knows whether they might happen throughout 2021."
Now having experience of deliveries, and with Mr Hewett having spent time travelling in Mexico, the Stag Coffee team settled on Mexican and American takeaway.
Also having a drinks licence, the high street shop - which has been in Ashford for almost five years - will be offering cocktails alongside the food.
Already having a fully-stocked kitchen, the transition has been easy according to the 28-year-old founder.
'We think it's unique to Ashford'
If it's a successful venture, the takeaway business will become permanent and slow-cooked food could be added to the menu.
Mr Hewett said: "We're looking to get to the point where people can order a barbecued lamb shoulder for a big group, and we cook it over 12 hours before delivering it.
"If the takeaway works we'll probably do the same in our Canterbury shop.
"We think it's unique to Ashford and if the customers keep coming, we'll possibly run it as a coffee shop in the day and a Mexican restaurant in the night once things go back to normal.
"In the meantime give us a go, all our food is made on-site with authentic Mexican ingredients and local suppliers. Mex up your takeaway evening!"