threshold where customers just won’t pay any more though.” An incident happened three years ago which had a major impact on the business: Murray fell on a golf course, breaking three ribs. Unable to run the shop, he brought in his then 19-year-old son Glen into the business and taught him as much as he could from the sidelines. “It was the most painful experience of my life, but it was a blessing in disguise,” reflects Murray. “He’s still with me now and he’s been brilliant. He started changing little things where he just wanted everything perfect every time and it’s really pushed the business on. Where he’s 22, he’s of that era where he understands social media, apps, ordering online. He’s continually posting videos on social media and we’ve gone from zero to 3,000 followers. He’s pushing, pushing, pushing all the time.” Another aspect that’s moved the business forward is five successive years of entering the Fry Awards and coming close but not quite making the Top 50 Fish & Chip Takeaways. Using past reports to improve each year, the chippy scored an impressive 95% last year, but it still wasn’t quite high enough so Murray enlisted the help of two industry veterans to
see if he could glean any additional advice. As a result, Murray tweaked the length of time he cooks the fish and the period he leaves it to drain, and he’s also embraced blanching and finishing chips rather than cooking straight through. “What a difference those two things have made,” says Murray. “The fish went from going slightly soggy to just being really crispy and the chips are perfect, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.” A place on the list It didn’t go unnoticed by this year’s Fry Awards’ mystery diner who scored the shop 98%, securing The Garioch a place on the list. “It was fantastic to win and it has just pushed us on again,” says Murray. “As soon as I got the e-mail through to say we had won, we put it on social media and it went crazy. Then it was in the press and was pinging up all over the place. It got to the point on the Friday and Saturday after the announcement that we could hardly cope. We had so many people at the door, the phone was ringing, the web was going, Just Eat was going, people were ordering to collect. It jumped that extra percentage that it meant we were probably understaffed! Since then, we’ve been significantly up.” With the award finally in the bag, Murray is keen to push further. He’s looking to embrace staff training and gain the NFFF
Quality Award, he’s hoping to take on an apprentice to train up as a frier and he’s looking at expanding the menu. “Now we twice fry the chips we’re looking at adding value to them and doing loaded fries and seasoned fries, it’s what the younger folk are after. We fry in beef dripping so we’re also looking at having another fryer for vegetable oil so that we can cater for vegetarians. “It’s all about how we can slightly vary the menu to open ourselves up to new markets.”
During Covid, Murray, son Glen and two staff, Melissa and Beccy, worked 156 days in a row!
FRY MAGAZINE - APRIL 2022
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