How to Start Your Own Fish and Chips Restaurant

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fish and chips restaurant 

Fish and chips have been firmly on the Great British menu for decades, and they’re definitely here to stay. If you’ve always wanted to run your own food and drink business, starting a chippy can be a quick, easy and effective route. Here’s why the good old fish and chips shop remains a lucrative opportunity for British business owners today.

The British love fish and chips 

Brits love nothing more than visiting a fish and chips restaurant for the perfect comfort food. Enjoyed wrapped in paper walking along the seafront or being served in a fancy diner, there’s nothing better than a bag of hot fish and chips for supper. And starting   

Because fish and potatoes weren’t rationed during the WWI, the humble fish and chips restaurant grew in popularity. By the 1930s, there were 3,500 shops in the UK, and they’ve since grown to about 11,000 shops across the country. 

Although Chinese, Italian and Indian cuisines have been competing for the top spot as Britain’s favourite food recently, our appetite for fish and chips lives on. The average Brit consumes six serving of fish and chips each year, with 382 meals dished up all together costing a whopping £1.2 billion.

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Reasons why creating a fish and chips franchise is a good idea 

Fish and chips are as popular as ever

The future looks bright for fast food restaurants. In 2018, Statista found that there were more than 26,000 fast food outlets in the UK. With people living increasingly busy lives, the desire to grab fast food rather than prepare lunch and dinner is only going to rise. And with a bag of chips named as the favourite item of food in the Takeaway Economy report commissioned by Just Eat, starting a fish and chips restaurant could be a risk worth taking.

You only need a small space

With the majority of fish and chips restaurants running on a purely takeaway basis, you don’t rent or buy a large space to seat everyone. You only need a small store and just a few members of staff keep everything running.  

Getting fresh ingredients is easy

In the UK, you’re never more than 70 miles away from the sea. Meaning freshly caught fish is easily transportable in a day. You only need a few more ingredients – potatoes, oil, mushy peas, vinegar, salt and sauces – and many of these can be bought in bulk and saved. Keeping on top of supplies is relatively easy with so few ingredients to manage. All you need to do is find a reliable supplier and build a strong relationship. 

You don’t need to be a professional chef

Even if you’ve never worked in the food and beverage industry, you can get trained up on using the equipment quickly. Some courses take a matter of days to get you up to speed with making great fish and chips. All you need to do is perfect one simple dish to attract and retain customers. Plus, passing on your expertise to other members of staff should also be a quick and easy task. 

Top tips for starting a fish and chips franchise

If you’re interested in starting your own fish and chips business, here are the key things you need to think about to make it a success: 

Find the right location

Seaside resorts are full of customers looking for fish and chips to complete their day out on the coast. Starting a new fish and chips outlet overlooking the sea is likely to go down well, but you’ll likely pay a premium for this benefit. 

For cheaper start-up costs, you could venture inland. Look for locations with families and senior citizens who tend to be the most habitual eaters when it comes to fish and chips.

As with opening a restaurant of any kind, remember to look out for the competition. Avoid areas where there is another successful fish and chips shop that residents love.

You should also think about your target customers. If you want to set up a really high-quality store, look at high-end areas. Or if you’re looking for a more mid-range establishment, choose middle or lower-income areas.

Buy the equipment

If you’re taking over an already established fish and chips restaurant, you should have all the equipment you need. Just make sure you check everything is in working order before you agree on the price you pay. However, if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to buy quite a bit of equipment. Factor in the costs of getting a commercial fryer, fridges, freezer, chip scuttle and heated food display (to tempt your customers), batter mixer and potato peeling machine (if you don’t want to save your hands).

Lots of fish and chips shops now have point of sale (POS) systems for taking orders and payment. They give you a clearer idea of the incomings and outgoings, helping you to keep on top of your stock. If you prefer, you could use a simple cash register and have a card machine. Either way, you’ll need a simple and quick way of taking money.

Find your suppliers

You’ll need a reliable supplier to make sure you’re never left without precious stock. Look for accredited fish suppliers – there National Federation of Fish Friers (PFFF) has a directory of suppliers you can research. As well as reliability, you should look for suppliers that align with your mission statement. For example, if you’re committing to only serving sustainably sourced fish, your supplier will need to back this up. In fact, it’s generally advised to look for sustainably sourced fish to make sure our seas will continue to provide the fish you need to fun your business for years. 

As well as fish, potatoes and oil, you’ll also need to source the serving materials. Due to hygiene reasons, you can no longer serve fish and chips in newspaper. So, remember to look for alternatives like a cone, carton or try. With more people now searching for plastic-free packaging, you might like to bear this in mind if this will influence your customer’s buying decisions.   

Choose a great brand

The Great British chippy is synonymous with witty names. Think of something creative to make your fish and chips shop memorable, but bear in mind that anything too cheesy might not work for an upmarket store.

You’ll also need eye-catching signage to attract customers. Make sure it says ‘Fish & Chips’ in bold lettering to make it instantly clear what you’re all about. Pair the rest of the design with the kind of market you’re targeting. Green and teal shades tend to reflect higher-end fish and chips shops, while yellow and bright blue are associated with middle-of-the-range shops. 

Check the rules, regulations and insurance

As a fast-food business, you’ll need to adhere to food hygiene standards. You’ll need to look into getting a certificate as soon as possible. 

If you have five or more employees, it’s a legal requirement to have a health and safety policy. Given that you’ll be working with hot oil on a daily basis, it’s recommended that you have one even if you don’t have five employees. 

Every business needs some kind of insurance. For fish and chips shops, the ones you should definitely look into are public and product liability, contents insurance, cover for any money left on the premises, business interruption insurance and employer’s liability. You may like to consider other policies, so it’s worth getting advice. 

A fish and chips shop is one of the most simple food service industry outlets to run. Once you’re set up and enticing customers, you will soon have a loyal fan base visiting you on a regular basis. 

Fish and chips shop franchise opportunity

Point Franchise doesn’t have any fish and chip restaurants franchise opportunities at the moment. However, Filtafry, a cooking oil and fryer management company, is open to new franchisees and it offers a related career with low overheads and a large customer base. It’s a van-based franchise, meaning you won’t need premises to get started.

  • Becoming a Filtafry franchisee: If you’re interested, you can request more information on its Point Franchise profile online.

  • How much you need to invest: You need to invest £14,950 plus VAT to set up as a Filtrafry franchisee. The minimum upfront investment is £5,000 plus VAT.

  • What you get for your investment: There is plenty of support to help you make your franchise a success. As well as initial training followed by an eight-week development course, you’ll also have business, technical and sales hotlines to call upon whenever you have a question. Plus, there’s a bespoke CRM system for managing your invoicing, keeping the payment side of your business simple. 

Get started with your own food and beverage outlet

If you’ve always dreamed of serving up delicious food for a captive audience, there are plenty of other food franchises out there. Our tips on running a franchise should help open your eyes to the considerations every fast food business owner needs to think about. So, if you’re keen to explore the opportunity further, take a look at the food franchise listings currently on offer. 

>> Read more articles on the Fish And Chips sector

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