FRY JAN 22

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At Tee Khi, we don’t settle for anything less than exceptional. We give you those lovable fish n’ chip shop flavours that warm your heart without compromising on quality.

Our salts, sauces, mixes and glazes are the product of over 47 years of masterful spice mixing and continuous improvement. It’s safe to say, we know a thing or two.

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JANUARY 2022 THE UK’S NO.1 MAGAZINE TO THE FISH FRYING & FAST FOOD TRADE

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JANUARY 2022 CONTENTS

an exciting year ahead After all the uncertainty of the past two years, we’re hopeful that 2022 will feel the most “normal”. All being well, we’ll see the return of exhibitions, with FRY I.T. kicking off first in Malvern on Sunday 6th March, closely followed by What’s Cooking? in Edinburgh on Sunday 20th March. Then on 12th June, the doors to the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre will open in Leamington Spa as it welcomes the T. Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show. We can’t wait to see the aisles bustling as shop owners have the opportunity to come together with suppliers once again. If you can make it along, we’d love to see you as there’s nothing quite like meeting face-to-face and sampling the latest products in person. We’re also pleased to announce that judging for our 2022 Top 50 Takeaways and Top 10 Restaurants continues across the UK and we’ll be bringing you the results in just a fewmonths.

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what’s New

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NEWS

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Big Interview

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Fry Magazine Limited 196 Pettswood Road, Orpington, Kent BR5 1LG

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shop focus

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2022 trends

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chips & Potatoes

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rising stars

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unsung hero 30 SPOTLIGHT

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Fry Magazine Ltd does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in the materials contained herein, regardless of whether such error results from negligence, accident or any other cause whatsoever.

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30 MINUTES WITH

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expert eye

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EDITOR’s ARTICLE 44

INSURANCE 43

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INDUSTRY NEWS 01.22

SIMPSONS TO OPEN NEW SHOP IN GLOUCESTER NEXT MONTH

T.QUALITY TO OPEN NEW DEPOT IN PORTSMOUTH Wholesaler T. Quality is to open a new depot in Portsmouth at the end of March/beginning of April. The new site, which will be based just off the M27 in Fareham, Portsmouth, will increase the company’s delivery capacity, enhance customer service levels and free up resources at other depots. The site will also operate a Trade Counter for call/click and collect customers. The new opening is part of T.Quality’s ongoing investment in its delivery network and to cope with increasing demand. It currently operates 10 branches, in Swindon, Bovey Tracey, Darlington, Avonmouth, Swansea, Peterborough, Birmingham, Leeds, Bridlington and Staplehurst. Mike Crees, managing director of T.Quality, said: “We are delighted to be opening our newest depot in Portsmouth. This is a really exciting opportunity for T.Quality, the site will add further capacity to our operation but will also help to enhance customer service levels with increased delivery dates and the opportunity to reach new areas. “Fish and chips is the heart beat of T.Quality and to be able to continue and expand our long tradition of serving the industry is our main aim. “Investment in our depot network will continue to be a major focus this year as we continue to drive the business forward.”

Award-winning fish and chip business Simpsons is opening its third shop in Gloucestershire next month. Owners James and Bonny Ritchie have bought an existing chippy in Quedgeley on the edge of Gloucester, adding to their sites in Stroud and Cheltenham. The Quedgeley takeaway will open five days a week initially but this may increase if demand dictates. Customers will be able to enjoy all the Simpsons favourites including cod, haddock and tofu as well as a number of new items such a burgers and pies. James will run the site with two friers moving over from Cheltenham plus five new staff members which Simpsons is in the process of recruiting. James comments: “We’re ready for another shop now. Cheltenham is going well, it’s staff-run, and Stroud is at a point where we’ve got a really strong team and they are able to run the shop there, so we’ve been able to step away and think about what we want to do next. “Gloucester sews up the perfect triangle between Stroud and Cheltenham and we’ve had lots of people coming from Gloucester to our other shops that ask when are we coming to Gloucester. We thought we would keep an eye out and see what was there and this shop came up for sale. We thought the location was great, it’s on a really busy crossroads going towards Gloucester town centre, there are lots of offices and houses around, it’s a really nice, busy little area.” The takeaway is undergoing new branding and a clean-up and will be opening in mid February. Simpsons’ 70-seater restaurant and takeaway in Cheltenham won National Fish & Chip Shop the Year in 2016 and a year later it opened its Stroud takeaway. The Cheltenham restaurant has since been hit hard by the Covid pandemic, resulting in its sit- down trade almost entirely replaced by deliveries and takeaways. James adds: “We have got all these challenges at the moment and it does mean that we need that extra income. If we can do that from having another shop, then great.”

LOVE SEAFOOD FILM HIGHLIGHTS SPRING-SUMMER SUCCESS

JUST EAT TAKEAWAY.COM ORDERS TOP ONE MILLION FOR 2021

Love Seafood has put together a short film to share the highlights from its consumer marketing activity that ran from May to September last year. This included a campaign showcasing scampi as an easy family-friendly choice at home and saw fish and chips and seafood promoted in foodservice as part of its summer of ‘feel good food’. The result was 129 articles featured in the press, giving a reach of over 39 million people and a 33% increase in web traffic. Watch the video at Love Seafood’s YouTube page and see what its future plans involve.

Just Eat Takeaway.com processed 1.1 billion orders in 2021 - an increase of 33% compared with 2020 - worth C28.2 billion. The company processed 274 million orders in the fourth quarter of 2021, representing a 14% increase compared with the same period of 2020. Gross Transaction Value (GTV) was C28.2 billion for the full year of 2021, representing an increase of 31% compared with 2020. GTV amounted to C7.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, up 17% compared with the same period of 2020. The UK and Ireland was the fastest growing segment for both the quarter and the year and the company says it plans to invest heavily in this market, especially in its London network, while improving profitability in 2022.

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BLEND 30 Batter Mix

To celebrate 30 years of trading we have produced this special batter mix Blend 30. We have been passionate about making batter mix for over 50 years and in this Blend 30 we have used all of our expertise and skill to produce a product that is the best of the best. This celebration blend is the ultimate product for crispness, increased holding time and quality.

We hope you love it as much as we do. Leonard & Sylvia Middleton

• A unique blend of flours • Fries extra crispy with a light golden colour • Designed to sit longer in the holding cabinet • Ideal for take-away, restaurant and delivery

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INDUSTRY NEWS 01.22

COLMANS SEES RETURN OF GREAT NORTH RUN FINISH LINE Colmans Seafood Temple in South Shields is celebrating after organisers of this year’s Great North Run announced the race will return to its usual route, finishing just 200 yards from the restaurant entrance. The half marathon, which starts in Newcastle and traditionally finishes in South Shields, was diverted last year due to Covid restrictions and for the first time saw it end back in Newcastle. With over 50,000 runners taking part, the Great North Run is one the Temple’s busiest days of the year. Owner Richard Ord Jnr comments: “It’s excellent to have the Great North Run back home in South Shields. It’s an incredible day and it’s one of the busiest days of the year for us. All people want to do when they finish the race is run down and grab fish and chips and a cold beer. We sell a lot of Peroni on Great North Run day, believe me.” The return to South Shields is not just good news for the Temple, but also the whole town, with Richard adding: “It’s great for all the Shields’ folk, they’ve grown quite proud of being home to the Great North Run finish line. For the town itself, it’s incredible with the coverage on the tele, it’s quite a celebratory day.” It will be all hands on deck when the race gun goes off on Sunday 11th September with Richard planning on pulling in the entire Temple team. “You go from having a lovely quiet morning at 12 o’clock and within an hour you have 50,000 people walking past your doorstep. The takeaway, restaurant, bar, the whole place will be packed, it will be relentless. But it’s good relentless, everyone is in good spirits, nobody is worried about waiting, it’s a great atmosphere and all the local bars have live music outside.” Richard has declined a place in this year’s Great North Run on the grounds that he will be needed in the Temple that day, but did say he would run to work instead!

BUSINESSES REMINDED TO DECLARE COVID-19 GRANTS ON TAX RETURNS HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is reminding businesses that Covid-19 support grants or payments are taxable and should be declared on their company tax returns. It states that any fish and chip shop that received taxable Covid-19 support grants or payments must record it as income when calculating taxable profits. Taxable grants include: • Test and trace or self-isolation payments in England, Scotland and Wales • Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate • Coronavirus Business Support Grants (also known as local authority grants or business rate grants) If a company received a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant or an Eat Out to Help Out payment, they will need to do both of the following on their tax return: • Include it as income when calculating their taxable profits in line with the relevant accounting standards • Report it separately on their Company Tax Return using the CJRS and Eat Out to Help Out boxes Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer service, said: “We want to make sure companies are getting their tax returns right, first time, including any COVID-19 support payment declarations. Support and guidance is available on GOV.UK, just search ‘file my company tax return’.” Information on which support payments need to be reported to HMRC and any that do not is available on GOV.UK. The deadline for Self Assessment customers to complete their 2020/21 tax return and pay any tax owed is 31st January 2022. However, HMRC announced they would waive penalties for one month for late filing of tax returns and late payments. Interest will still be charged.

JJ FOODSERVICE INVESTS IN IMPROVING CUSTOMER SERVICE

JJ Foodservice is investing in new online features as well as staff training in a bid to ramp up its customer service levels. JJ customers will soon be able to ‘Live Chat’ directly with customer services from the JJ website or app. New roles focusing on digital customer care will support the new Live Chat feature. Meanwhile, payments are about to get easier with the introduction of Apple and Google Pay. Baris Kacar, chief sales officer for JJ, comments: “We’re obsessed with finding new ways to improve the customer experience. From how we communicate to how quickly shoppers can check-out.” Recognising that great technology needs the best people behind it, JJ is also investing in staff training, with Baris adding: “We already have a fantastic team. Now we’re on track to kick off the new year with our best service yet.”

WAGAMAMA LAUNCHES VEGAN FISH AND CHIPS

High street chain Wagamama has added a Japanese inspired take on fish and chips to its menu to mark Veganuary. Tempura F-ish + Bang Bang Yaki-imo is made from a mix of soy, rice and pea protein to give the taste and flaky texture of fish and coated in light tempura batter. It is served alongside Wagamama’s equivalent of chips - roast sweet potato chunks and red onion, coated in its signature firecracker sauce. Smashed minty edamame beans replace mushy peas while katsu curry sauce and waga tartare with Japanese pickles, chillies and a wedge of lemon finish the dish. The fish alternative is served on mocked up newspaper and costs £12.95. It is available in restaurant, on Deliveroo and through click and collect for just one month only at all UK restaurants, excluding Northern Ireland. Wagamama reports an increasing number of people giving vegan dishes a go each year and estimates just under 20% of its guests choose to go plant-based.

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INDUSTRY NEWS 01.22 FIFE CHIPPY ADDS AMERICAN-STYLE DINER TO BOOST QUIET DAYS

“CHIPS FOR CHIPS” SCHEME PROVIDES FREE MEALS FOR HULL’S HOMELESS

The Fish Hoose in Thornton, Fife, has added a 20-seater American-style diner to its fish and chip takeaway. Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm, the diner is kitted out with 1950s black and white booth seating, stainless steel tables and vinyl records on the wall while the menu serves up American classics such as loaded fries, milkshakes and burgers. Owner Colin Cromar, comments: “We’re still very much your traditional fish tea - fish and chips, bread and butter, mushy peas and a pot of tea, but we’ve introduced things like loaded fries, hot dogs, burgers and milkshakes to try and attract a wider audience. After the first lockdown in 2020, the space was used as a fresh fishmongers with Colin serving an array of species including haddock, lemon sole, dressed crab and oysters. But as restrictions eased, demand began to drop. “It wasn’t doing enough,” explains Colin. “We had the space and I wanted to try something else. I was on the way back from the KFE Dinner Dance and we pulled into an American diner on the M1 and I thought this is quite a good idea, so that’s why I tried it.” The diner runs alongside the chippy Tuesdays to Thursdays but closes to make way for the busy fish and chips takeaway at the end of the week. Colin explains: “The idea with the diner is to try and push those quieter days. We are closed Sundays and Mondays, and Fridays and Saturdays take care of themselves with online orders, collections and walk-ups. We knew if we had people sitting in on those days too it would just get messy, so to try and keep a level of service everyone is happy with we just operate the diner Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. “My wife Trish cooks all the homemade items and does the table service but, apart from that, we haven’t had to take on any extra staff. It’s working really because it’s a little bit extra profit for no more staffing costs. “And it’s nice to have that dine-in option. I’ve always had table service at previous shops and we were always being asked here, when are you going to do table service? Now we can with something a little bit different.”

A Hull fish and chip shop is giving away up to 15 free meals a day to local homeless people after launching a ‘chips for chips’ scheme. Goldenfry in Savile Street initially had 50 golden “chips” 3D printed for customers to buy for £2, securing a meal and a hot drink for somebody in need. But the initiative has proved so successful that the shop has since had a further 500 chips produced. Customers can either hand the tokens directly to a homeless person or leave them on the counter. The chippy operates a traffic light system in the window which when green indicates there are tokens available at the till. John Rennison, who has run the restaurant and takeaway with his wife Michelle for the last three years, said: “Where we are situated in the city centre we get to see a lot of homeless people sat congregating on the benches. During these colder months, we’ve seen the numbers get bigger and bigger. I’ve always gone and given out leftover food at the end of the evening but I wanted to do more. A friend suggested a pay it forward scheme and I’d seen something similar at a chip shop in Bristol so thought let’s do it.” It’s taken the chippy almost a year to get the scheme into the public domain but thanks to recent coverage online, John says it’s now proving very popular. “We are doing anywhere between five and 15 meals a day now. I’ve got a poster up in the shop telling customers about the scheme so some will read that and buy a token, but then we also have our regular customers that buy five tokens a week. “The astonishing thing now is I’m opening letters up and people are sending me money to buy chips who live in Cumbria, Kent and Sussex.” John hopes to make the scheme a permanent feature and is looking into possible funding to do more. He comments: “I’ve had enquiries from different organisations that are trying to organise funding for me so I’m hoping it will progress into something bigger and we can supply sleeping bags or starter packs for when these people do finally get housing.”

OUTDOOR MARQUEES ALLOWED PERMANENTLY

Fish and chip shops no longer need planning permission to put up marquees on their land, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced. The changes to permitted development rights, first introduced last year as a temporary measure to boost high streets and small businesses during national restrictions, are being made permanent following a public consultation. The move, which applies to moveable structures, is designed to help hospitality businesses better make use of their outside space all year round. These measures are separate to changes to pavement licenses introduced last year. Pavement licenses allow hospitality businesses to place furniture, such as tables and chairs, on the pavement outside their premises.

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BIG INTERVIEW

With commodity prices increasing andmargins squeezed, 2022 is looking like a bumpy year. We speak to AndrewCrook, president of The NFFF, to find out what the industry can expect

What shape is the fish and chip industry in going into 2022? I think we’re in a strong position because we’ve adapted well since the first lockdown. There are businesses out there that never considered click and collect and deliveries but that embraced them because they had to and, now, I don’t think they would ever go back. There’s certainly a demographic of people out there that, as an industry, we weren’t reaching before so I think for many Covid has revolutionised their business and got fish and chips out there in front of those people. What do you see as the biggest challenges this year? The biggest long term problem is staffing, it’s so difficult to recruit people because it’s not the most attractive job and there are easier ones where you can earn the same wage. I think government definitely missed an opportunity in the budget to address this and, hopefully, they’ll revisit it because hospitality can be a good foundation to rebuild the economy on. Also, I think it’s fair to say we may not be the most professional when it comes to recruiting, we tend to give someone a trial and then take them on. If we can improve upon that, manage people’s expectations, see if they want to develop and provide recognised

courses for them to take, then we’ll always have people wanting to come into fish and chips because it could be a good route into other hospitality businesses. You said the government missed a trick, what would you like to see happen at a Parliamentary level? VAT needs addressing because the way it’s currently levied on businesses is not right. We’re over-taxed at source and the reduction we’ve had these past few months has shown that leaving a little bit more money in the business enables people to invest, whether it’s paying staff more or buying new frying equipment, for example. We’ve never had a long-range view of VAT, there’s always been a change here and a change there. If we can get the government to hold VAT at a lower rate for the next five years then we can hopefully show them at the end of it that they will yield more tax receipts from the industry because people will be paid better, so it will be picked up in the taxation system, as it will when a business buys new equipment. Do you feel like you’re making headway getting heard at government level? Yes, we’re working very closely with Ibrahim Dogus, founder of the British Kebab Awards.

He has contacts with Paul Scully, Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as many other MPs, so we have got an ear there now. We’ve also met with Defra to discuss current issues within the food supply chain, in particular shortages. However, government needs to work with us on a much greater level, to engage with us and talk to us about the issues that affect takeaways. I know it set the Hospitality Council up but there’s nobody on that committee that understands this sector. Nisha Katona, owner of Indian restaurant chain Mowgli, doesn’t understand my business and neither does Burger King so we will continue to push for more representation. Wages are going up in April, what impact can you see that having on our industry? It’s going to have a massive impact but it’s right that we should pay our employees well, it’s a tough job, it’s hard work. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re in a position that we can cover that increase and get our prices up. I still think fish and chips is way too cheap. I looked at the price of cod versus steak in the supermarket the other day and, per kilo, cod was a penny more. Shops need to reflect this in their pricing.

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BIG INTERVIEW

What about those shops that struggle to put up their prices because of shops around them being so cheap? As an industry, we need to ask the question how can those businesses be so cheap? The only way is by not doing something right, whether they are not paying their employees right or not paying all their taxes, or by cutting corners somewhere. The government needs to tighten up on those businesses - and this is already happening with card and online payments. But also as an industry we mustn’t turn a blind eye. We need to have conversations about things that go on like split invoices

industry is hitting at the same time so it is a big worry. That’s why it’s so important that shops look to protect their margins by putting their prices up. The NFFF is doing its best to mitigate price increases by getting messages out there in the media and we’ve produced a poster to help explain the price increases for those shops who are worried about putting prices up. But, as I’ve already said, the days of cheap fish and chips are gone. On a positive note, what opportunities are there that fish and chip shops can capitalise on? I think there’s room for some shops, depending on their location, to diversify and add things like chicken to their menus or homemade items that hit that higher price point. Also, other species of fish such as pollock and Cornish hake could be a great addition for some shops. We’re seeing some good sites coming available so anyone that wants to expand, there’s an opportunity there as well. The other area that I think is key in driving shops forward is how they use their data from online ordering. Use it to look at when people are and aren’t coming in and send targeted offers so you’re not just blanket messaging everyone. Data is going to be

so important. And I think businesses have to trade in every way - so your walk-ups, your telephone orders and then your online and your aggregators. If you can do the lot, you’ve got the best chance of winning. That’s the modern arena, it’s the way things are working. The NFFF has taken on the National Fish & Chip Awards so when can we expect the launch? We’ve taken the awards over from Seafish but we see ourselves as the caretakers of it. It is the biggest driver of standards in the industry, it creates friendships and it has brought the industry together so it’s important it continues. We’re currently assembling a committee with representatives from across the industry to advise on the event and the judging process, for which we’ve got a blank sheet of paper. It’s a good opportunity to have a look at how we can run the awards differently, what improvements we can make and whether we just start afresh and change it completely. We were planning to launch the awards in January 2023, but with everything that is happening at the moment with Covid, the date is still questionable so it may be mid to late 2023. But the awards will be back and we’re very excited.

from wholesalers because they are affecting businesses that are doing

everything right. It needs to be sorted out, it won’t be popular but it needs to change.

How is 2022 looking in terms of commodity prices? We’ve definitely got a few problems now and there’s potentially more going into the year. We’re expecting fish prices to remain strong partly because of increased demand and partly because the fishing quotas are going to be kept quite low due to the fact they’ve been quite high for several years. Energy prices have gone up, packaging, especially if you’re sourcing from China, is going through the roof. There are potential risks with seed potatoes coming from Europe not being allowed in which, if is the case, could put more pressure on the market because the acreage will be down. Everything that could threaten the

“Everything that could threaten the industry is hitting at the same time so it is a big worry. That’s why it’s so important that shops look to protect their margins by putting their prices up”

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Norwegian cod and haddock. The number one choice for your fish & chips.

Ice cold waters give Norwegian cod and haddock a delicate colour, flaky texture and superior flavour. Frozen at sea within a matter of hours, Arctic freshness is locked in right to your kitchen. Norwegian cod and haddock come from one of the world’s most sustainable fish stocks - one of the many reasons why they are used in kitchens across the globe.

Origin matters.

seafoodfromnorway.co.uk

WHAT’S NEW

Hygienic hand drying with a lower environmental impact Initial Washroom Hygiene has announced the launch of Luna Dry and Luna Mini Dry, the latest innovations to its hand dryer range. With an average drying time of 12 seconds, the units are said to play an important role in boosting hand hygiene, given claims that damp hands spread more bacteria than dry ones. As well as an exterior shell engineered using ION Pure Technology to create a germ and bacteria resistant finish, the units are said to be environmentally friendly, producing up to 90% less CO2 compared to other hand dryers. The dryers are Plug and Play and can be mounted onto walls using the company’s Terra4 Docking Station, making it quick and simple to replace or upgrade. Initial Washroom Hygiene 0808 120 5150 www.initial.co.uk

Ben’s Original Professional unveiled with new packaging Mars Foodservice has changed the name of its iconic Uncle Ben’s Professional range to Ben’s Original Professional. In addition to the new name, the previous image on pack has also been removed, signalling the brand’s ambition to create a more inclusive future. The changes apply across the brand’s portfolio of dry rice and sauces, which retain the same navy blue and orange colour scheme. Rafael Narvaez, global CMO and R&D officer, Mars Food, says. “The new design achieves the right balance between maintaining elements of our original identity, yet featuring an updated new look that reflects our commitment to supporting those who need it most.” Ben’s Original Professional www.aimiafoods.com/mars-foodservice/

winterhalter Undercounter dishwasher cuts water usage by 25% The latest UC undercounter dishwasher fromWinterhalter saves 25% in water usage yet delivers the very highest standards of hygienic cleaning power. The wash arm features clever nozzle geometry that optimises the flow of water, saving on usage as well as reducing the consumption of both chemicals and power. The S-shaped wash field ensures optimum and even distribution of the water, meaning less water can still deliver superior cleaning. The UC is certified to DIN SPEC 10534, ensuring dishes that are sanitised, hygienically clean, safe and free of Covid-19 (and any other viruses). The UC is available in small, medium, large and extra-large, with the ultra-compact UC-S having a footprint of just 460mm wide by 654mm deep (940mm with the door open). Winterhalter 01908 359000 www.winterhalter.com/uk-en/

Winning wings in classic Caribbean flavours Showcasing all the flavours of the Caribbean and featuring authentic recipes, spices and ingredients is a trio of Jerk Chicken Wings, part of the Irie Eats range of authentic Caribbean cuisine from Funnybones Foodservice. The three versions, each with a different level of spiciness, comprise Original, Spicy and Honey Jerk. They need only 12 minutes to cook in the oven from frozen and can be served in a variety of ways, for example on their own, paired with chips and slaw, or served alongside a side dish such as macaroni cheese or sweet potato mash.

There are 25-30 wings in each 1kg pack. Funnybones Foodservice 01707 321234 www.funnybones.co.uk

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FISH FRYING RANGES SINCE 1865

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CHIPS

Knowing how to look after your potatoes will help you up your chip game

Potatoes, like fish and oil, are creeping up in price and while that shouldn’t be your main reason for keeping tabs on them, it’s certainly going to help your profit margins if you make sure every batch is as good as it can be. Producing the best chips relies on several variables but always starts at the same point - ensuring you’ve got the best quality potatoes to begin with. How can you do this? Strike up a good relationship with your potato merchant. David Mitchell of Mitchell Potatoes has been supplying the industry for over 60 years and understands only too well that every frier has a different view on what works for them and this depends on their processes and how they like to fry. His advice is to explain to your merchant what you do and don’t like in a potato so this gives a better understanding of which potato to send. And he warns not to simply go on price as this can sometimes mean getting a potato that will have defects. “There is a reason one potato is dearer than another, this is either peeling yield, fry colour or taste and texture,” he explains. “The most expensive potatoes generally have a good peeling yield, fry well, last in the chip box and both look and taste good.” If you’re an operator who likes to opt for a fixed price contract this is particularly important, with David reminding you that you are locked in for twelve months and poor quality may have a negative impact on

your business. And finally, while you might be one of those operators obsessed with having the same bag for long periods, this is not always the best way forward. With farms getting bigger, it’s likely that you will not be on the same field for more than two to three weeks, even if the bag is the same. Starch levels On delivery to your shop, it’s a good idea to test a batch of potatoes for starch levels using testing strips like those available from Drywite. If the levels of starch are on the high side (0.25% is the maximum to produce good chips), this runs the risk of turning to sugar and caramelisation in the frying medium, turning chips dark, contaminating your oil and leading to issues with acrylamide. Once inside, potatoes should be stored in a dry place and not too close to any excess water spray from the peeling and chipping process. In the winter months, if you are storing bags in an outside shed or a very cold room, it’s important to keep the potatoes above 3°C. If they get too cold they will try and keep themselves warm by producing starch so, as a rule of thumb if the temperature is freezing outside you need to cover or heat your potato room. Likewise in summer, you may need to cool your storage area if temperatures rise. David adds: “I’m yet to visit a fish and chip shop with central heating in the potato area

FRESH LOOKING GOLDEN CHIPS ALL YEAR ROUND!

Drywite All Seasons has been developed to help address excess starch and sugar in potatoes which naturally varies from season to season. Removing the excess starch and sugars in potatoes reduces caramelisation in the frying medium, preventing dark fried chips whilst reducing the formation of acrylamide at the same time. In addition, using All Seasons provides an extended shelf life of seven days to chips and peeled potatoes. Contact Drywite for a free sample. Drywite 01384 569556 www.drywite.co.uk

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CHIPS

DRY WHITE POWDER SPECIAL OFFER

Fryersmate Dry White powder is on offer for a limited period only. If you’re quick you can grab a case of eight bottles for £54.99. That is equivalent to £6.87 per 2.5kg bottle. Fryersmate Dry White powder is a potato/chip whitener that helps keep chips dry and white, producing a better chip with less discolouration. To make mixing simple, the bottle comes with a measuring cup which fits over the lid. Order now at https://www.fryersmate. com/home/25-dry-white-case-of-8.html

Lesley Graves can remember, She comments: “In an ideal world, all potatoes would perform brilliantly throughout the season but that’s not how it works. Used correctly, Drywite gets the most from your yield of potatoes as you’re not left with chips going strange colours that can’t be used. At a time when prices are rocketing, we need to look after all our ingredients in the best way we can.” Lesley does stress that using any potato treatment correctly is key, adding. “You have to make sure you’re using any treatment to the letter on the instructions. You can’t just fill up your barrel with water and pour it over the top, you have to mix it correctly and you shouldn’t leave it too long or for not enough. It’s like a science experiment, if you don’t stick to how it’s meant to be done it won’t work.” Not all shops will choose to use a potato treatment, in which case the key is to chip and peel little and often, with Andrew Marriott, brand and marketing manager at Frymax, adding: “Don’t prepare large batches of potatoes and leave them in water because they could be absorbing water for a long time before frying. When you fry, it can take longer for the water to be removed, the oil will be colder and the chips will absorb more oil.” If you choose not to treat your chips be careful not to leave them out of water for too long before frying. If starch levels are low, you may get 30 minutes before they begin to brown, but if high they could discolour much more quickly. Your chips are now ready to fry. Should you have any treated chips left uncooked at the end of a shift these can be covered and stored in a cool dark place and used the next day. Even better, if you have room, transfer them to an airtight container or bag and refrigerate. Drywite 01384 569556 www.drywite.co.uk Frymax www.frymax.co.uk

KEEPING PRE-PREPPED CHIPS AT THEIR BEST

It’s easy to think that when you’re using pre- prepped chips all the work has been done for you, but there are certain things you need to do to ensure quality is maintained until the final fry. We asked Northumberland-based Particularly Good Potatoes for its top tips: • Chips are cut to your preferred size and vacuum-sealed for freshness. Store these sealed bags below 5°C and this will allow a shelf-life of five to seven days, ensuring you will never run out of stock. • Do not freeze. Freezing will alter the sugar content of the potato and result in soft brown chips, rather than the crisp and golden variety. Fresh is best. • Care should be taken when handling the vacuum bags. These bags are sturdy enough to be placed on top of each other, but rough handling or poor storage may release air into the bag which can discolour the chips. • Once a bag is opened, use within 24 hours to ensure prime quality, although the sooner the better. If kept overnight, some varieties will need to be stored in water. It is important to drain and dry out the chips for 30 minutes before adding them to the fryer to look after your oil. • We believe twice-fried is the best way to deliver a consistent product, day in day out, whatever the variety. Blanch our 16mm skin

so it is best to use some sort of insulation material to keep the heat in the potato. We would suggest old duvets or blankets. Potato quilts can be bought but are expensive, cumbersome and difficult to store when not in use for most of the year. Alternatively, you could put an electric heater in the room to keep the temperature up.” If you are using a heater you should check your insurance policy covers you for this. Rinse Once peeled and chipped, it’s vital to rinse chips in water several times to remove any excess starch that has been brought to the surface during this process. In winter, when it’s particularly cold, a good tip is to add some warm water to help draw out more of the starch. At this point, some friers will add in an extra step and use a potato treatment. Not only does this help draw out any excess starch but it also means you can leave your chips out of water and they will stay fresh for several days without any discolouration. You’ll also benefit from a drier chip going into your pan, which will help prevent the breakdown of your frying medium - remember oil and water don’t mix - and produce a better chip as it will cook quicker and absorb less oil. It’s a process Burton Road Chippy in Lincoln has been doing ever since owner

off chips at 130°C, remove from the heat, turn the fryer up to 190°C and finish for another twominutes or until golden and crispy. Particularly Good Potatoes 01668281090 www. particularlygood.co.uk

Mitchell Potatoes 01926 633323 www.mitchells-potatoes.co.uk

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SHOP FOCUS

The Pantrini family is celebrating 100 years in Whitley Bay by unveiling new branding for its award winning fish and chip shop

When 12-year-old Attilio Pantrini came to Whitley Bay, the seaside town on the north east coast of England, from Italy with his cousins in the 1920s, he set about a chain of events that a century later would see the family name associated with one of the busiest fish and chip shops in the area. Initially working for his cousins selling ice cream from a horse and cart at the beach at nearby Cullercoats, Attilio bought the Lido Cafe on Whitley Bay seafront in 1945 and then The Wonder Bar, which in 1975 was renamed Pantrini’s. Through extensions, expansion and investment, successive generations of the Pantrini family have grown the fish and chips business in both size and stature and today it not only boasts a 100-seater sit-down restaurant and a takeaway but a thriving click and collect and delivery service. “We started doing deliveries about six years ago,” says Lee Pantrini, great-grandson of Attilio, and who has run the business since 2007 with wife Sarah. “Until the pandemic, deliveries represented

10% of the business, today it’s more like 50%. That’s carried us through the pandemic and we’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into improving the service times and how we deliver.” A more recent addition has been the incorporation of a dark kitchen under the brand Stacked. Offering American-style comfort food, it’s an opportunity for Pantrini’s to grow its business further and gain new customers through diversification of product offering while utilising the current business operation. Lee explains: “We previously owned another restaurant in Whitley Bay called Crab & Waltzer and created a pop-up installation at markets and festivals selling gourmet hotdogs, loaded fries and pimped up American-style pancakes and it was really well received. It was a natural progression to meet demand with a takeaway concept, it was easy to set up using the equipment we had on site and it’s performing exceptionally well.” Since Lee has been at the helm he’s made several changes, all designed to give the brand longevity and push it forward. For example, he’s

put the spotlight on homemade items and now desserts, mushy peas, tartare sauce and nine varieties of fishcakes are all made from scratch. Attilio made three promises to his customers all those years ago; provide value for money, look after every customer and use top quality ingredients. The family values and delivers on each of these promises every day. “Homemade was the norm before the convenience of frozen food,” says Lee. “I started to notice during the late 2000s that the culture was changing, people wanted to know more about provenance, sustainability and general food quality. I knew that taking more control over the sourcing, preparation and product would give us a USP and help us stand out.” One hundred years of customer facing experience certainly gives a unique insight into the wants and needs of customers and this has allowed the business to truly adapt its offering. Rather than buying in 6-8oz fillets, which it had been doing for some time, Lee has gone back to prepping fish daily on-site - something he grew up witnessing his great grandfather spending

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SHOP FOCUS

many an hour doing - and which gives Pantrini’s the opportunity to offer customers more choice. “When I go to a fish and chip shop, if I have the choice, I will always choose the loin because I like a much chunkier piece of fish, whereas we find that with the seniors, they think they’re getting ripped off if they get the short, fat portion. This way every customer gets exactly what they want.” Always striving for quality, Lee took the decision a few years ago to outsource his chip prep when he moved to pre-cut chips supplied by a local family-run farm Particularly Good Potatoes in Northumberland. It was a radical step but it has proven to be an excellent decision. “Our chips must remain consistently great regardless of how busy we are, there’s no excuse. But we found in the summer we would have one or sometimes two lads prepping chips all day just to keep up. And sometimes this just was not sustainable at the high standards we set ourself.” There were several boxes Lee needed to tick before he would commit. For example, he needed to ensure the supplier could deliver regularly to ensure freshness, that the type of potato was perfect, that the shelf life was

adequate and, ultimately, that Pantrini’s could store them. The latter involved a £20,000 investment in a walk-in fridge but it’s a move Lee says has vastly improved processes. With the pandemic putting pay to the family marking 100 years since Attilio started the Pantrini’s journey in Whitley Bay, Lee and his team are looking forward to celebrating this phenomenal achievement this year. Bold new branding commission by a local artist ‘Lines Behind’ has already been unveiled, depicting the influences on Pantrini’s over the years. Local landmarks, influential family members and staff have been characterised and incorporated into the branding. This has been supported with merchandise including tote bags, mugs and Christmas baubles to allow customers a little piece of Pantrini’s in their home. And there are exciting plans to take the business further still. Proposals have been drawn up to convert the space above the restaurant into an interactive children’s play area with educational activities, while routes and events are being researched in a bid to expand the mobile side of the business too.

It certainly suggests a strong appetite for fish and chips, but it’s by no accident. When Lee first took over 15 years ago, approximately 65% of the business was through senior citizens, something he knew would have to change if the business was to survive. By targeting more families and teens with different types of products and growing its social media audience, the senior market now makes up just 20% of the business. Lee adds: “I think the fact that Pantrini’s has consistently tried to stay ahead of the game has stood us in very good stead. We are lucky to be part of the constantly evolving Whitley Bay community. The number of independent food places here is incredible. I would go as far as saying they’re probably better than many of those in the centre of Newcastle, which are mostly corporate chains. There are some really good little niche food spots in Whitley Bay and that keeps us on our toes which we love. “Pantrini’s has stood the test of time, operating for over 100 years, but that doesn’t give us a free pass, it makes us work harder to maintain our reputation and strive to improve for our customers, family, team and community.”

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H I G H Q U A L I T Y W H O L E S A L E F I S H S U P P L I E R S

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TRENDS

As we say goodbye to another Covid year, we look ahead at what 2022 might look like for the fish and chip industry

FISH Frozen at sea vessels are only just leaving port now and with an 8-12 week turnaround time, cod and haddock supplies and prices look set to remain tight well into this year. Martin Brown, director of sales & development at fish supplier Unique Seafood, says: “It could be well into March before we see any good volumes coming in so I don’t see prices coming down in the next few months.” With fluctuations in fish prices commonplace, Martin is confident shops will ride the storm and reminds operators that even though prices are high now, they are not historically high, adding: ”Prices are actually at pre-pandemic levels. If you look at cod prices in November 2019, we’re not as high as we were then. And if you look more specifically at, for example, 8-16oz cod then you are talking £30 a case difference between that and 16-32oz. Two years ago that was only a few pound difference. My advice is to be flexible in what you buy and if you want to save some money go for the smaller 8-16oz fillets for the time being.”

Sutton And Sons, Hackney

TECHNOLOGY The Covid pandemic has encouraged businesses to adopt new technology and one area that is set to continue is the idea of customers serving themselves, either in the formof self-service kiosks or ordering apps. The benefits are speedier service, reduction in errors, less cash handling and, inmany cases, an increase in average spend. Customers aremuchmore used to seeing and using both options.

PLANT-BASED

A trend that has been bubbling away for a few years and that is expected to explode this year is the move to plant-based eating. This isn’t just about catering for vegans and vegetarians any longer; more and more consumers are looking to cut down their meat intake and reduce their carbon footprint. Campaigns such as Veganuary and the 5:2 diet that encourages consumers to swap at least two meals a week for plant-based are bolstering sales - and not just in the home. Deliveroo recently revealed that over the past year, orders of completely plant-based dishes on the platform rose by a massive 105%. This reflects the fact that wholesalers and suppliers are finally coming to market with a bigger and better array of plant-based fast food favourites.

Gordon Lauder, MD of frozen food distributor Central Foods, says: “Remember, it’s very often the person with the dietary requirement who chooses where to eat or where to order food from, so it’s well worth gaining a reputation as an outlet that serves delicious meat-free options.”

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