Mark Drummond is an influential figure in the Fish & Chip industry. Winning multiple awards, Mark has become a fountain of Fish & Chip knowledge, so of course, we grabbed an opportunity to have a chat with him prior to the upcoming 2019 Fish & Chip Awards.
Last year you won the Oustanding Achievement Award and the NFFF Fish and Chip Quality Award Champion Award at the National Fish and Chip Awards! That’s a fantastic achievement, it must have been great to receive recognition for the incredible amount of work you put into the industry and your shop. How did it feel to win not just one award, but two awards at the 2018 National Fish & Chip Awards?
Winning the Outstanding Achievement Award came as a great surprise and felt such an honour, especially as it’s voted for by other award-winning shop owners. It was also very gratifying to win the Quality Award Champion Award as I believe the Quality Award is the benchmark standard for excellence in our industry. At Towngate Fisheries we have held the award in all its various guises since 2005 and have always worked hard to promote it to both our customers and to other shop owners, so to have this recognised in the National Fish & Chip Awards was great.
You’ve won awards and been a finalist in previous years too. Overall, you’ve been a great success in the Fish and Chip Awards as you’ve always gone from strength to strength, what advice would you provide to people entering the awards?
I think the National Fish & Chip Awards are both a great marketing tool for any fish & chip business, but also a great way to benchmark your business against the best in the industry. As with any awards scheme, you don’t have to agree with every single aspect of how they are run and judged, and you don’t have to necessarily win for them to be of great benefit to your business.
How has winning the awards affected your business?
Having been involved with the awards over a number of years, I’ve seen the business grow over that period year on year. It’s impossible to tell if takings would have been lower now if I’d not been involved in the awards but they have certainly helped me to increase my knowledge and motivated me to keep maintaining the very highest standards which has no doubt also helped improve profitability as well as takings.
What made you choose a Florigo frying range?
In my role as a judge for the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Competition, I was invited to visit the Florigo factory in Holland. I had bought my first shop in 1991 and this had one of the first Florigo ranges in the UK when I bought it, and my current range was 10 years old and as the business had grown we really needed an extra pan. Florigo offered the perfect layout to fit in what I needed in the very small space available, and the triple filtration was the best I’d seen anywhere so that’s why I chose Florigo.
What do you see for the future of Towngate Fisheries?
Towngate Fisheries is a lovely simple business to run. I could retire tomorrow and leave it to staff to run, but I still enjoy the buzz of frying so I still work a few shifts a week myself, along with doing work for Seafish and the NFFF and judging the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Competition. I think there’s still a great future for basic takeaway fish & chip shops that serve a local community despite the challenges the industry currently faces.