Five takeaways from Women in Fish and Chips

Updated: May 17

Our Women in Fish and Chips event took place in Birmingham on Monday 28th February. Fish and chip shops from all over the UK came to network with like-minded organisations, and listen to valuable industry knowledge and business ideas from our incredible line-up of speakers.


Here’s five things we learnt from the day:


1. “Don’t neglect your back end”

Kaylee Herbert is Director of Harlees, a fish and chip shop chain across Dorset and Wiltshire.


The pandemic gave Kaylee the opportunity to review back of house systems in her business and invest into the best technology to turn her family run business that launched in 1997, into a modern takeaway chain.


Keen to become a paperless company, Kaylee shifted aspects of her business including HR, training, procedures and allergens to online platforms with the help of Google Forms, Flow Training and SFBB+.


She has also implemented QR codes in front of house operations, to enable Harlees customers to access allergens information with ease.


Kaylee educated our audience on the importance of digitalising back of house operations by going online to save time.


Follow Harlees on Instagram @harleesuk.



2. “Have the courage to step out of the box”

Calum Richardson, owner of The Bay Fish and Chips, advised our audience of the little changes they can make in their business that can save a fortune, in a bid to become more sustainable.


The Bay has been awarded the highest rating accredited by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, for its work in transforming the business to operate with 100% renewable energy.


Calum’s tips included looking into the journey of every product in your business – from responsible fishing and farming, to how the supplier treats their staff.


He also advised to look into the efficiency of the equipment – operating with zero-emission delivery vehicles, becoming a paperless business, and reaching out to suppliers to build strong relationships.


Calum encouraged other fish and chip shops to make the change from plastic cutlery and polystyrene packaging to biodegradable, more sustainable options – a small change with a big impact.


Lastly, Calum told our audience “Continue growing, continue learning, push the boundaries and think outside the box.”


Follow The Bay on Instagram @thebayfish.



3. “Represent your business in the community”

Mrs. Krispie herself, Kelly Barnes of Krispies in Exeter builds her brand through events and campaigns, to push their business to current and prospective customers.


Krispies took part in beach cleans and offering free food during half term. As well as a pyjama day for staff and customers to raise money for FORCE cancer charity.


They also launched social media campaigns including ‘Share your Krispies experience’ which was a low cost, effective way to promote Krispies within the local community.


Kelly shared her experiences of what worked for Krispies, recommending other businesses to adopt similar tactics to promote their businesses in their local areas.


Follow Krispies on Instagram @krispies_fishandchips.



4. “Future proofing fish and chips”

Sarah Coleman provided our guests with data on the nation’s favourite takeaway and suggested how fish and chips can appeal to younger generations.

Suggestions included:

  1. Offer healthy alternatives including plant-based and intolerance-friendly options, and smaller portions – communicate them clearly to consumers

  2. 27% of 18-34’s research venues with excellent reviews before eating out – encourage your customers to leave you reviews online

  3. Shout out about your sustainability credentials – it’s all well and good telling your customers you are sustainable, but are you showing it? Let them know if you’re sourcing from local suppliers, and show off your recycling bins on display outside of your premises

  4. Take advantage of online ordering by ensuring younger consumers can order and pay online quickly, have the ability to personalise their orders, and order items which are actually in stock and available

Sarah stressed not to “forget your core audience” – remember to reward their loyalty, and ensure fish and chips remains at the top of their mind.

Stay up to date with data from the food industry by following @TWCGroup on Twitter.



5. “Reinforce sustainability with MSC”

Loren Hiller, commercial manager at the Marine Stewardship Council told our guests of the importance of the MSC accreditation within fish and chip establishments.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, the seafood sector has been impacted immensely. With the rise of eco-conscious consumers, and more consumers understanding the complexities of fishing issues after the emergence of Netflix show ‘Seaspiricy’, Loren educated out guests on how the blue MSC logo is an “easy way to safeguard seafood supplies, bringing value to those who use this fish on their menus.”

By encouraging fish and chip shops in the UK to purchase fish from MSC certified suppliers, they are demonstrating a credible way of marking sustainability within their businesses.


Follow the Marine Stewardship Council on Instagram @mscintheuk.





Women in Fish and Chips Goes Global

This year, WiFC ventured overseas to Georgia, USA, where we spoke to Chantelle Wright, owner of Wrights Fish and Chips.

Having grown up in the UK, Chantelle adored chip-shop chips, but was shocked to find that there were hardly any fish and chip shops in the US. She set out on a mission to find the perfect fish and chips overseas, however each time there was something wrong.


So, she took it upon herself to launch Wrights Fish and Chips in July 2020 – a family run business, passionate about the British dish.


Having spent minimal money on advertising, relying on word of mouth to spread brand awareness, Wrights is now a destination restaurant. Customers travel from all over America to get their fish and chip fix, and Chantelle, her husband and their two sons, are now local celebrities, known as “the people with the English accent.”


Chantelle imports most of the products she uses from the UK, as well as working with a Scottish ex-pat in the US who makes her fresh pies. Wrights also import groceries from the UK, for her customers to purchase including Heinz baked beans, Cadburys chocolate and PG Tips.


Wrights Fish and Chips is in the process of expanding – moving to a larger premises in the city centre, and also talks of franchising the brand to spread the love of British fish and chips throughout America. She also intends to expand her menu, offering a full English breakfast, sticky toffee pudding, jacket potatoes and a Sunday roast.


Long live fish and chips!

Stay up to date with Wrights’ new store opening on Instagram @wrightsfishandchips_atl.


Thank you to all of our speakers who shared their industry knowledge and experiences with our audience. An extended thank you goes to Kelly Barnes, who chaired the event. Our guests took away valuable information, ideas and resources from the day to implement within their own businesses, and the day was a great success.


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