NU TO GO, a healthy fast-food restaurant in Gateshead, is to expand its meal preparation service to cater for the elderly and those most at risk who are being advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

The ‘self-isolation meal preps’ will include a selection of breakfast, lunch and evening meals to choose from, with free delivery within a five mile radius of the Gateshead restaurant. Deliveries in a 5-10 mile radius will incur a small charge.

At a time when it’s difficult for key workers and vulnerable people to obtain certain groceries, an ‘essentials’ delivery service to include items such as bread, milk and water will also be available.

This new service provides both the convenience of delivering meals or essentials to people without them having to leave their home and provides wholesome nutritious food – which is key during this challenging time in order to give our bodies the best fighting chance to deal with viruses.

Since launching the restaurant in 2018 with the help and guidance from Northumbria University’s Student and Graduate Enterprise programme, demand at the restaurant has led to its expansion to provide a lunchtime mobile service with two delivery vans servicing local businesses across Gateshead and Newcastle.

Furthermore, NU TO GO’s restaurant quality meals come in reusable packaging and the small independent business offers a free waste collection service.

Former Northumbria University graduate, Chloe Wilson who runs the business with partner, Darren Appleton, both in their 20s, explained the need to provide a more inclusive service, she said:

“People over the age of 70 and those with underlying health issues are being advised to self-isolate which is why we have seen a need to create this service to our local area. This is a time where we need to help each other where we can which is what we’re trying to do by adapting and creating a new meal preparation plan with a wider menu.

“Additionally, after becoming a trusted NHS partner, we will be working very closely with the NHS and front line services to ensure they are receiving the best quality, convenient meals – we need to make sure they are fighting fit and have the best chance to continue working during this outbreak. Our second café is based in the NHS North East ambulance service building in Newburn Business Park.”

Talking about the economic climate, Darren added:

“We already have a delivery service in operation, and we hope that by expanding our meal preparation service to be more inclusive of those having to self-isolate will help sustain our business during these extraordinary times. NU TO GO is a small, start-up business and we’re continuing to adapt to the current circumstances whilst making sure the elderly and vulnerable are taken care of.”

As a graduate from Northumbria University, Chloe benefits from the university’s enterprise programme which has supported more than 350 entrepreneurs whose companies employ over 1,000 staff.

Graham Baty, Head of Student and Graduate Enterprise at Northumbria University, said:

“Chloe and Darren have built a brand and reputation for healthy, nutritious food and are clearly demonstrating their business acumen in expanding their services and adapting to what are extraordinary circumstances.”

The meal preparation service will cater for all allergens and dietary requirements and for three meals a day it will cost between £11 and £15. The convenient door to door service will commence on Sunday 22nd March.