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Fish  chip shops choosing a location

Fish & chip shops: choosing a location

The merits and drawbacks of low, middle and high income areas.

In the last instalment of my articles I laid out the common types of tenure when looking to buy a fish and chip shop.

Now we need to assume you have made this decision and go on to the next step.

Location Location Location...

It's incredible how many times I have to stress to people looking to enter the industry how important the location is. A good location may be more expensive in rent and rates, etcetera, but it will give you a solid foundation to start business.

I am not biased to any type of area but here are a few examples:

Low income area

If you choose to buy a business in a small council estate with a lower class customer base, you have to accept that your customers do not really want fancy food but would like good food for value for money. It's not all bad though as shops in low-income areas can have a very good profit margin.

Mixed income, high capacity area

This could be situated on a busy city or town centre high street. You will have to pay top rents and rates but it could be a high turnover shop if the food is good and the PR machine is turned up to full to get the most out of your money. Here you could have a menu which represents all income brackets.

High income area

Most people probably aspire to have the freeholds of these types of shops, but not necessarily to manage them, so they will sell the leases. In affluent areas people tend to appreciate high quality food and have the budget to pay for it.

I find the biggest downside with high income areas for the fish and chip shop is that people can afford to eat out more often at proper restaurants and are more likely to cook at home.

The above are just a few options of many to complement the tenure options outlined in my last post. I'm not trying to confuse you, but to help you imagine the type of shop you would like to have.

I have seen many times where people have a grand idea of creating a nice, top quality shop where everything is homemade, all fish is sustainable and potatoes are organic, but then it is plonked on the local curry mile where you can get a kebab or other fast-food type for under £2.

It is very important you find the right location to fit the type of establishment or brand you have envisaged. You have to remain realistic and never believe your own hype; try and separate your romanticised vision from a sound business decision.

One overlooked consideration is whether you are in this for the long term: as i mentioned in my last post, this should play a major role in your decisions. The main thing is to get it all right first time, spend some extra money testing and getting the proper procedures set up.

I will go into more detail at a later date but at this point anyone wanting to open a fish and chip shop can visit the National Federation of Fish Friers website. They can help you with training, which you would be foolish to buy a fish and chip shop without.

Stelios Theocharous

About the author

I am Stelios and I am the MD of The Batter Company. We develop natural batter mixes for fish and chip shops in the UK. I have been in the industry for over 11 years and have experience in writing for a leading trade magazine for the fish and chip industry alongside our blog for the batter company.

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