Sarah Lock and her brother Chris, co-owners of Harbourside Fish and Chips in Plymouth have been winning awards at the National Fish and Chip completion every year since 2014. In January this year, they took third place nationally and Shop Manager, Andy Hillier was runner up for the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the year. Sarah, who has been a KFE customer since 2012, explains how she and Chris got started and gives us an insight into her passion for the business.

“Their customer service is second to none. They have plenty of engineers and in the fish and chip business, quick recovery is so important. If your range breaks down you need it up and running again as soon as possible.

KFE’s nearest engineer to us is in Torquay, only 30 minutes away. You can’t beat that, it’s brilliant. Any problems I have they deal with quickly. When we first started talking to the MD Paul Williams at a trade show, he promised us good service and they’ve definitely delivered on that.

When I first started, the fish and chips business was completely new to me.

I’d been working as a computer programmer for the Land Registry but I really wanted to have my own business. My dad had owned a general stores in Plymouth and he suggested a fish and chip business. I started to look around and the premises on the Barbican came up – it was such a good opportunity and great location I knew it was the right place.

My brother joined me in the business – he’d been training to be an accountant so it was a big change for him too, but we got ourselves organised and got up and running. Today I look after the commercial and marketing side and my brother runs our restaurants and shops.

We’re busy and we love it! On a good day on the season we can serve 4,000 customers, opening the doors at 11am and going through to 11pm.”

“They’re a great company to deal with. As we’ve expanded our business they’ve come up with new ideas that show how they think things through.

We’re opening a new gluten-free fish and chips business a few doors down from our original Barbican shop and they’ve suggested powder-coating the range in white for us which is a good fit with the look and feel we want to achieve.

We’re also opening a new takeaway and restaurant in Westward Ho and will be putting a Kiremko range from KFE in there also.

KFE is about more than the ranges and after care service though. Through our working relationship with them we’ve met lots of people in the fish and chips business.

We also send our staff on courses run by KFE’s School of Frying Excellence. They come back to work with lots of really useful knowledge and contacts too.”

How does your business benefit from entering industry awards?

“There are roughly 10,500 fish and chip businesses in the UK but only 1,000 enter industry awards. It’s such a shame more people don’t give it a go – the preparation gives you such a good opportunity to stand back and look at how you’re running your business.

Entering for an award kind of works as a health-check, you find yourself looking afresh at so many key things like service, hygiene standards and how to increase trade.

If someone reading this article is new to fish and chips or the National awards process, then I’d suggest they try for a Staff training and development award – and that’s because I believe your business can only ever be as good as the people you employ. “