It’s been plain sailing at one of the North East’s best-known seafood establishments, since calling in the experts to help boost efficiency.

Award-winning Latimer’s Seafood, which overlooks the North Sea from its picturesque spot in South Tyneside’s Whitburn, secured a grant from NBSL, via the North East Business Support Fund, to help streamline processes within the business.

The Fund – part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Northern Powerhouse – provided a grant of £1,750 to support the café’s ambition to explore new opportunities, combining expertise and guidance from RTC North to boost efficiency.

Latimer’s owners – husband and wife Robert and Ailsa Latimer – recruited seven new employees as business boomed over a busy summer period. The couple, who opened the seafood deli and fishmongers in 2002, then the café in 2008, which carried on throughout the pandemic as “The Takeaway Hatch”, were keen to not only boost their workforce, but also provide jobs for local youngsters.

“We grew rapidly and organically as a business, but we wanted to make sure that growth was sustainable,” said Alisa.

“To do that, we needed to put in place internal processes that ensured we operated as efficiently as we could, giving us more time to enhance our offer and develop our growing workforce.”

The firm worked closely with RTC North’s dedicated advisor Jim Barr, who helped create a costing model to aid decisions on stock and pricing, carry out market research and map out a plan for addressing bottlenecks, which informed building work at the café, to create a new service counter and fridge.

In addition to this, Jim created a bespoke and comprehensive rota procedure for the company, reducing time managing payroll, holidays, and absence.

Ailsa added: “The work completed on both layout, flow and the rota process has been excellent, making a real difference to helping the business operate more effectively and efficiently.

“The support received from NBSL to help fund the work with RTC North was so important, as Jim Barr’s expertise has been invaluable, advising us during his sessions here – we cannot praise him highly enough.”

John King, NBSL North East Business Support Manager, said: “Latimer’s Seafood is a fantastic venue with a reputation for quality food to match its stunning setting. NBSL was proud to work with RTC North to help Latimer’s realise its potential.”

Jim Barr said: “The collective benefit to the business of both the layout and the back-office admin processes is a significant saving in terms of time and allows the owners to focus in on more value-added activities to grow the business but also make it more efficient.”