To Refurbish or not to Refurbish

Fast Food Professional caught up recently with David Henley, award winning fish and chip shop owner and Frymax ambassador, to talk about his admission that after being in our Industry for over 35 years and having opened 7 Fish & Chip Takeaways and Restaurants, he has learnt some valuable lessons, sometimes the hard way.

He told us that “Whether refurbishing your own shop or opening a new business the principles are the same. You’re going to need a good reliable builder and if you haven’t worked with one before always get personal recommendations, go and see their work and meet or speak to their old and existing clients.”

He added, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get an agreement in writing in place. This is quite easy to do yourself and should include the start date, the completion date and include their quotation for the exact work to be carried out, and how the builder/contactor will regularly keep you updated on costs. Ask for a “Quotation” as this is very different from an “Estimate”, and this will help you to manage the project if costs start to overrun for any reason.”

He stressed that “As with all trades make sure they are qualified with the right Certification especially Electricians, Plumbers, Gas Engineers and you are going to need all the installation Certificates for Building Regulations and your Insurance Company”.

He was keen to point out that:

“The heart of every Fish & Chip shop is its Frying Range; ‘The Engine Room’. Over the years I have worked on many Ranges but I have always chosen ‘Mallinsons of Oldham’ as my range of choice. For over 30 years I have used Mallinsons and their knowledge and expertise is second to none. I have dealt with Terry, one of the Mallinsons’ directors personally in all of that time from design to installation. He and his team are amazing from the first site visit they will guide you through everything you need from the gas supply to liaising with your builder”.

He continued, “I have just refurbished my shop in Wivenhoe and installed a new 5 pan high efficiency range. The previous Mallinsons 4 pan range had served us well for over 14 years, in fact, so well that in 2007 we made the Guinness Book of Records for the Fastest Chip. We peeled it, fried it and Served it in a record 3 minutes 42 seconds the record still stands today!, and in that time it has only needed one pan to be replaced, and that was because a team member left the pilot light on without any oil in the pan!”

David added, “With new bespoke counters maximising our storage solutions I use a mobile filtration unit to manage the oil. Terry suggested that we have it incorporated into our counter with all the power points exactly where you need them so when not in use it just slides away. We also have 3 till points designed in to give 5 serving positions and compartments made to the exact sizes of chip bags we use. It is literally like having a bespoke suit tailored to your specific needs as we all know each shop is unique.

Finally, David pointed out that “Once you have the perfect shop you need to protect it. In. 2002 I had a fire which closed my business for over 6 months. At that time, I had to take my Insurance company and broker to the High Court in London to get satisfaction. That taught me a very important lesson about not seeking the cheapest quote. You need to find an experienced broker who understands your industry your business and its pitfalls.2

For many years now, David and Lisa have insured my businesses with Dale at Glover & Howe, Highwoods Insurance Services. “Dale & his Team really understand my business and its needs - they are true professionals. If I have a problem or just need some advice they are always available”

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