Just three days before the country went into complete lockdown, businesswoman Michelle Sampson picked up the keys for new new venture in Torquay.

Takeaway at the Babbacombe Bay CafeTakeaway at the Babbacombe Bay Cafe

Having taken over the popular Babbacombe Bay Cafe on the Downs, she was faced with making some tough decisions about how to be able to run the business and do so safely.

She realised she would have to open the doors somehow to get the cafe up running and bringing in money.

So, along with other cafes and food outlets, she began serving takeaways.

Michelle, who previously ran the Torre Abbey tea rooms and has been in catering for 20 years, soon had a one-way system in place, using the cafe’s huge bifold glass doors.

Takeaway at the Babbacombe Bay CafeTakeaway at the Babbacombe Bay Cafe

She explained: “I was investing in this business and knew I had to open.

“Doing takeaway food and drink has been brilliant.

“Customers feel confident that we have made a safe environment for them.

“We’ve got a one-way system in place, people stand two metres away from the till, the takeaway food is in a box and we have hand gel available.

Takeaway at the Babbacombe Bay CafeTakeaway at the Babbacombe Bay Cafe

“We are taking cash but after handling cash, staff have to go and wash their hands.

“We’ve got it down to a tee now with a lot of repeat customers and I can’t wait to open properly.

“This is a dream come true.”

Resourceful Michelle has also come up with other ways to build her new business in the most difficult of conditions.

Social media has played a huge part in spreading the word that the cafe is open for business.

A competition offering a takeaway for two reached 17,000 people with more than 400 comments.

The cafe benefits from an expansive outdoor terrace, which can be covered with new sails in bad weather, so social distancing will be possible when Michelle can open properly and responsibly after the July 4 go ahead from Boris Johnson

Staff will have their temperature checked on arrival.

An app will allow customers to check if the cafe is full and if it is, they can order delivery in picnic baskets to the Downs.

Michelle, who is using local suppliers, said: “It’s not just about the cafe but about creating a Downs experience.

“I’m so excited and I feel lucky to have this place.”