A TAKEAWAY which took up football star Marcus Rashford’s plea to feed children eligible for free school meals during half-term has won a national Good Food Award for the second year running.

Rooster Shack, in Maybury Hill, Maybury, has landed the accolade which, says the organiser, “recognises the hard-working teams who strive for culinary excellence within their field”.

For managing director Imran Mamud it confirms that the high standards of a year ago have been maintained and improved.

“I’m delighted because the award sums up what we are about, serving outstanding food, offering great service and being a team,” Imran said. “The team here have grown together.

“Winning the award again is good for us, of course, but it’s good for Woking too.

“And we’re very proud of our contribution to Marcus Rashford’s initiative. We’ve helped probably 10 families through our Woking branch, and if you add in our Aldershot franchise that goes up to about 30.

“We put that together with very little notice, and we’d certainly be glad to help again. You don’t always realise how lucky you are, and how much others may be struggling.”

Since winning the award, which is decided by public vote, last year, Imran has opened the Aldershot franchise, his first, and has plans to open a further five next year.

“That’s what we’d hoped to do this year, but circumstances overtook us,” Imran said.

“We get hundreds of applications every month from people looking to open a franchise, but we vet them very carefully and we’re not rushing. We want to maintain the integrity of the brand, that’s so important to us.”

In common with many businesses with a strong online presence, Rooster Shack has escaped the worst economic effects of COVID-19.

“Before the pandemic about 35% of the business was delivery, but now that’s up to around 50%,” Imran said. “It’s simply that more people are ordering takeaways.”