In this week’s blog we speak to Andrew from Drifters Fish & Chips! He talks us through his journey from Kitchen Assistant to Owner! We also find out a bit more about his day to day life and about his refurbishment earlier this year!
Drifters have a 4 pan High Efficiency Wall Range featuring Mirror Doors, Halo Lighting, Blue LED Downlighting and Florigo’s state of the art, Active Triple Filtration.
What inspired you to first open a Fish & Chip shop?
I started working as a Kitchen Assistant for Drifters when I was 16 for the previous owner John Martin, I enjoyed the fast pace of the business and being around people who were genuinely passionate about their trade. In early 2012 I decided Fish & Chips was not only a Great British tradition, but something in which as a younger and more enthusiastic owner I could keep the trade thriving in the ever-increasing heath conscious society we are becoming. And the time had come for me to take the plunge into self-employment, and was planning on purchasing a mobile chip van, fast forward a few months to October 2012 and John Martin had facilitated a vendor funded purchase on Drifters and above all some great business advice and mentoring.
In February 2019 you underwent a total rebuild of your shop in Fakenham. How did you find this refurbishment? Has it turned out how you wanted it to? Has business improved since?
Our refit in February was a chance to update some aged equipment and to use some modern wall coverings whilst bringing the décor into vogue. One of the charming aspects of our shop is the fact it is Grade 2 Listed and although this means we have an impressive symmetrical frontage, it also stops us from creating large open areas some modern buildings would otherwise allow for.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
The People – we are based in a small market town in North Norfolk. Home to locals who have lived here their whole lives or moved here to retire. Having worked within the business for almost 20 years many of them know my wife and also my children. It’s safe to say community spirit is very high in Fakenham.
What’s your least favourite part of the job?
Late Nights! – comes with the territory of course. Having young school age children it would be nice to see a little more of them.
Describe your shop in 3 words.
Quality, Service & Value
What made you choose Florigo?
I first came across Florigo at the FryIT exhibition in 2018 and was immediately impressed with the quality of materials used and the filtration system is much improved on our old range. And we cannot forget the halo lighting, this makes the world of difference and helps create ‘the show’ on our wall range.
How does frying on a Florigo differ from equipment you’ve used in the past?
Unlike other ranges I have used or seen a Florigo range operates with much less frying medium helping to ensure great temperature reaction times and a crisper product. I can use less pans to produce the same amount of product in a faster time.
What other items do you fry on your Florigo? Do you have anything special on the menu?
We are currently starting a monthly special offer on a sustainable fish you don’t typically see on a chippy menu. Such as this month we are offering Hake.
Can you tell us a bit more about you and your day to day life?
I am 35 and a father of 2 young boys and Husband to Rachel. My weekdays start with the school run (generally more of a brisk walk than a run!), then into the shop for the daily fish and potato preparation followed by the days service. I guess I’m lucky in the sense I enjoy what I do so it never feels like work and lucky to have some wonderful long standing staff who really go the extra mile to ensure our high standards are maintained.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting up in the Fish & Chip industry?
My advice would be to keep things simple. Too many shops offer a range of other products from kebabs to southern fried chicken and this subtracts from the speciality of Fish & Chips.
What do you see for the future of Drifters?
Fish & Chips has survived this long so why change it? That said with more and more emphasis on healthy eating as an industry every shop should be looking at ways to offer healthier alternatives.
The biggest shift in our industry is the adoption of delivery services. We have offered this for over 4 years now and is increasing month on month. Being a fairly rural shop in the heart of North Norfolk and with a delivery radius of 6 miles this can be a challenge to complete orders effectively.