A BARROW cafe and takeaway service has expressed their gratitude to customers after a challenging year.

The Sweet Pepper Cafe, based on Dalton Road, serves only plant-based foods and drinks from its menu, which contains meals inspired from across the world.

Cafe owner Mig Carbonell believes that the growing number of places adapting to offer a takeaway service has impacted the sale of food at the popular eatery.

Mr Carbonell said: "The first lockdown was better than expected because there was not as many businesses who had takeaway services in place."

"The second lockdown was not as good but we expected it to be better in November basing it on our sales last year, but instead it just went steady."

Sadly because of the effects of the pandemic, the cafe has had to make the difficult decision to let go some of the staff.

Mr Carbonell said: "We never stopped doing takeaways but we have had to furlough or make redundant more than half of the staff.

"We still haven't re-opened for people to come in since the first lockdown.

"We are really just trying to keep an eye on the situation - us reopening is not something we can foresee or put a date on.

"So many dining places are still yet to decide whether to risk it or to still keep doing what we are doing now.

"We want to be absolutely certain so we don't say 'oh we have to hire all this staff' and then say 'oh we have to furlough all the staff' before having to hire them again.

"It is just so difficult to decide."

Despite the expected level o sales not being met during what should have been their busy period, Mr Carbonell is still happy to receive lots of support from his loyal customers.

He said: "We still have loads of loyal customers and first timers that want to try us because we are still number one in Barrow according to Trip Advisor.

"We are still going steady but the ambience can't show in a takeaway. That element of being warm and welcoming is what we try to encourage when people get here."