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Running a fish & chip shop

Interview with...

Christos Petrakas
Came from Cyprus aged 15 to study engineering
Business name:
Station Fish Bar
Fish and Chips
West Midlands
Trading for:
20 plus years
Running a takeaway fish & chip shop

Krystena Petrakas: How did you end up buying a fish and chip shop?

Christos Petrakas: The change in the engineering industry saw a growth in the use of computerised methods, with computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing coming to the fore. This became popular with many companies and revolutionised the engineering industry .

The main aim is for customers to want your fish and chip shop to be its local one, even if it isn't in the same neighbourhood

Within my degree I wasn't taught this and so I didn't have any knowledge of these new methods. I found it difficult to get a job in engineering.

Having worked part-time in fish and chip shops while studying, I felt confident in this trade.

I used the production engineering and cost-efficiency methods I learnt in my production engineering degree in my early businesses. You always need to look at what skills you have and then apply them in any way you can to gain an advantage on competitors.

KP: What do you think it takes to be a successful fish and chip shop owner?

CP: Fish and chips still remains the most popular takeaway in the UK, and it's generally cheaper than Chinese and Indian food. It is convenient and a traditional favourite feeding the country's appetite.

The food must be excellent as there is a lot of competition out there, with an ever growing number of fast-food outlets providing a lot of choice for the consumer. However, with progression comes advantage.

You must pick the best suppliers and keep your standards high. Additionally, development in the fast-food industry is of paramount importance and you must keep moving forward.

You must cater to many different tastes, producing a diverse menu, but still have an overall cohesion. The main aim is for customers to want your fish and chip shop to be their local one, even if it isn't in the same neighbourhood.

Once you build a trusting relationship with your customers it forms a stronger business with guaranteed success.

KP: What are the biggest challenges facing the trade today?

CP: In today's economic crisis, people haven't got the extra expendable cash that they used to have and are being more cautious in how they spend. Cutbacks are being made, but food is a necessity not a luxury.

The fast-food trade has been affected by today's pressures, hence I've increased lunchtime offers and money-saving specials. Luckily for us, we are established in the area and haven't been affected as much as other businesses.

I am prepared to make cuts elsewhere, but I'll never compromise on the standards of the food I serve. Station Road Fishbar aims to satisfy customers and keep fish and chips a continued favourite!

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