How to start a fish & chips shop

From the right location to the importance of shop image, here's how to start up a tasty fish & chip business venture...

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What is a fish & chips shop?

There are few things more tempting than the smell of fish and chips. And it can be little coincidence that rosy childhood memories of seaside holidays, Friday teatimes and late suppers are more often than not associated with the savoury treat.

So the idea of owning your own fish and chip shop will probably seem like a similarly alluring prospect. Don’t fall into the nostalgia trap, though, as the modern day takeaway has big competition so you need to put a lot in to get it right. Get the winning formula, however, and you’ll soon be cashing in your chips.

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Current fish & chips market

In the past few years, there has been a pretender to the throne of Britain’s favourite takeaway – chicken tikka masala. However, all traditionalists can now breathe a sigh of relief; fish and chips are firmly back on top with the majority of Britons still viweing the chippy as ‘king’ of the takeaway scene. Its place at the top isn’t down to traditional values. This market of independents has led the field for much of the first 100 years of its history. Gradually the customer has been faced with a large number of alternatives, from Chinese takeaways to burger vans.

Increasingly fish shops can’t just open when they please and customers will vote against poor quality with their feet. This isn’t consistent throughout the industry, however, so a good business will have its own very high standards. Broadly, it’s about brighter, spotlessly clean shops, well-trained and pleasant staff, good economic practices – and most importantly a flawless product. Vinegar-soaked newspaper wrapping no longer meets customer expectations and when 70 to 80% of your business is repeat, this is very important.

And it’s important to make the most of the product you have, and be proud of it. Richard Ord, a member of the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Executive Committee, told us:

“We see fish and chips as the British national dish, and one of the world’s great dishes.

“When you look at fish-and-chips, it’s a remarkably low-calorie product – our product comes out at 5.5% fat, around a third of a cheese and pickle sandwich from Pret. There’s nothing better than fish and chips in a balanced diet.”

Given the competition in today’s market, it’s vital that chip shop owners share this confident, enthusiastic attitude.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.

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