Resources >   Support Small  >  Funding Stories  >  

How this restaurant and wine bar use FlexiPay to save money on stock and keep business thriving 

Funding Stories

How this restaurant and wine bar use FlexiPay to save money on stock and keep business thriving 

Updated: 12 September 2023

8 Rocks, a cafe and wine bar in Essex, decided to reinvent themselves during lockdown and bring good quality food and wine to the community. We spoke to owner, Vik Gubskis, to hear more about their story and how he’s used finance and FlexiPay to keep customers coming back time and time again. 

8 Rocks’ story 

How did your business come to be? 

About 20 years ago I moved to the UK from Latvia, and started working at the original Ivy restaurant. I was there for 12 years, and that’s where my love for hospitality and wine came from. After that I moved to Loughton and decided to start my own business in 2017, taking over an old sandwich shop and turning it into what 8 Rocks is today. 

How has your business evolved over time? 

To begin with it was just a sandwich shop. We opened without changing anything at first, but then we realised it wasn’t doing well and just didn’t work the way it was. That’s when we brought in the bigger menu, wine and cocktails and turned it into an evening spot as well.

Do you have an ethos or something you pride yourselves on? 

Loughton has a great community, so we try to make sure every single person who comes in feels like a part of the family. We have a lot of repeat customers, a small team of staff and everyone really does know each other, so we want it to feel like a home away from home. 

I’m also really passionate about bringing good wine to the community. When I host tastings they are informative, but also fun, so it’s more like a night out for guests. I host private tastings and bigger events in the community, too – I think if you want to thrive in a local community, you have to become a part of it and support it. 

Adapting during the pandemic 

How did the pandemic affect your business? 

We faced a lot of challenges during the pandemic. We could only open as a takeaway, and we were losing money every week because you still pay rent, you still have your overheads. But the pandemic did help us too in a way, because we had the chance to refurbish the shop – changing the interiors and making it more attractive and functional for what we needed. 

What did you use your Recovery Loan Scheme loan for? 

The loan we took definitely helped us with our cash flow, and it funded the refresh of the shop as well. I think it was a very good investment because when we reopened, we saw a lot of increased footfall and had a lot of compliments about how we looked now. 

Managing finances with FlexiPay 

Why did you decide to get FlexiPay? 

When you work in hospitality, there’s always something you need or something you could improve. You have to constantly reinvent yourself, and FlexiPay is great for helping you get from A to B while giving your finances a bit of breathing space. As I had a loan already I received an email inviting me to try it, and it was really easy to set up. 

What do you use FlexiPay for?

You can use FlexiPay for anything really – VAT bills, salaries, a supplier invoice, even an electricity bill or things like that. It’s really, really helpful. 

A big one for us is buying the wine, as it’s much cheaper in bulk and most suppliers give you a discount. The problem is when you buy that many bottles, you can’t move them as quickly so it becomes stock on hold. But FlexiPay allows me to pay over three months, and we can definitely move that stock in that time so it’s much less pressure on cash flow. 

How has your experience of the product been so far? 

I’ve already recommended FlexiPay to other business owners in the area. It’s just so easy – you log into your account, you submit the payment, you’ve got an email payment has been sent, you’ve got your payment schedule, job done. You can use it on your phone, you can use it on a laptop, you can use it on the go. It’s amazing. 

Looking forward

What are your goals for the future? 

The next step ideally would be adding another premises with a few smaller rooms, so we could host more intimate events, wine tastings, meetings, things like that. I’d also like to do cocktail making. But really for us, it’s about retaining the customers, trying to make sure everyone’s happy and bringing in more business. 

Find out more about FlexiPay and check if your business is eligible here.

Great Review: