Home   Whitstable   News   Article

Coronavirus Kent: Whitstable Harbour fish market and restaurant the Crab and Winkle to launch drive-thru

A popular fish market and restaurant is set to launch a drive-thru service in a bid to stay afloat during the Covid-19 crisis.

Husband-and-wife team Pete and Elizabeth Bennett have run the Crab and Winkle in Whitstable's busy harbour for 23 years.

The Crab and Winkle has been running in Whitstable Harbour for more than two decades
The Crab and Winkle has been running in Whitstable Harbour for more than two decades

Downstairs, it sells a wide range of fresh seafood on ice, while upstairs the day's catch is served up in a restaurant that enjoys spectacular sea views.

But the usually bustling business is currently quiet as residents and tourists stay indoors, in a bid to practice social distancing and self-isolation.

"We're thinking outside the box," said Mr Bennett, a 73-year-old army veteran.

"I went to the Co-op in Birchington this morning and it's closed. People need food."

The harbour is closed off to traffic during the daytime, but barriers at either end are lifted from 4pm on weekdays.

"It would keep up ticking over through this dry period where everybody's shut in the house..."

From 4pm until 8pm starting on Monday, the Crab and Winkle will operate a drive-thru service.

"It's so people can buy fish but they don't have to get out of the car and mingle with the general public," said Mr Bennett.

"They can buy it and we'll give it to them in their car."

Hot fish and chips will also be available at the drive-thru: "Like the McDonald's of fish," quipped Mr Bennett.

The grandfather-of-two has written to Whitstable Harbour Board with a business plan, in the hope it will lower the barriers earlier so the drive-thru may be operated from midday until 8pm daily.

The business owner says the unorthodox plan will help him to keep paying his hard-working staff.

Pete Bennett at the Crab and Winkle restaurant in Whitstable Harbour
Pete Bennett at the Crab and Winkle restaurant in Whitstable Harbour

"It would keep up ticking over through this dry period where everybody's shut in the house," he said.

From 4pm until 8pm starting on Monday, the Crab and Winkle will operate a drive-thru service.

"I've got 20-odd staff there that I have to pay, and I'm not going to sack, I'm not going to get rid of them, in any way.

"I'm 73. I'm quite safe, I get my pensions. But the staff I have do not, and they've got mortgages. So we intend to pay them, whether it sends us to the cleaners or not.

"Some of them have worked for me for 14 years - you can't just say 'sorry mate, you're going to have to take an unpaid holiday' or make them redundant. Whatever it takes, we will pay their wages.

"The fishermen want to fish. But there's no market for it at the moment because they can't export it to France or Belgium. The fishermen need to earn, so we'll buy their fish."

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable


More by this author


Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More