In October 2020, we installed a fantastic Florigo Island range into Mario’s Fish Bar as part of their refit. We had the pleasure of speaking to owner Jorge to see how they’re getting on a few months down the line.
What was your vision for the shop when you first started?
Fish & Chips has been in my family for years, before I took on this business, I was a professional chef. I wanted to bring what I’d learnt from being in a professional kitchen to Fish & Chips. I wanted to produce a product that you would get in a restaurant. I wanted a clean, presentable shop which is why I’ve made the investment to get it exactly how I want it. It was one of the reasons why I chose a Florigo range, no other range puts out a product like a Florigo. I haven’t tested the ranges limits yet, but the quality is on another level.
How have you adapted to the introduction of UberEats and telephone orders?
I always try and stay 1 step ahead and we have been on UberEats for 2 years now. Even before lockdown, we were taking telephone orders for collection. We shut the doors for 5 weeks during lockdown, but we were still able to get food out through these channels. Being a busy shop forces us to look ahead to the next thing.
You get a lot of good feedback from customers through Facebook, how has this helped grow your business?
Yeah, social media has really helped. We’re very talkative with our customers & we are always asking for feedback. When you work at this kind of level if anything needs to be improved, we want to know straight away.
The feedback we get is great and we want to keep spreading the word. Even whilst being closed we were getting positive feedback from customers that had been somewhere else saying it wasn’t as good as ours! We see new faces every week and they quickly become regulars. We offer a very diverse menu, so we can easily see the same faces 3-4 times each week.
Why did you choose Florigo?
Just by chance, I stopped somewhere for some Fish & Chips, and I noticed they had a Florigo wall range. Straight away I could tell that it was a different kind of equipment. The minute I tasted the chips that came out of the range, I knew it was on another level!
We had a British range before, and a lot of my friends & family have British ranges too. I know a lot of people that supply ranges personally, but I always think the range should sell itself.
I had quite a few meetings with other range manufacturers, the first thing I said to them is I need 6 pans, they all said it can’t be done! When I spoke to Robert (Florigo MD) it was completely different. From the moment he walked in he said, “Let’s see what we can do, we can make something work.” He gave me advice on what he thought was better, but he also saw my vision and what worked for us. I wanted a ledge on the side, and everyone else said “No, you can’t do that” so it was just something else that reassured me we had made the right choice. If you look at the timescale of when I first spoke to Rob to when the range was installed, there was no messing around. Within a week of getting the deposit down, we were moving along really quickly. I feel you get what you pay for. Florigo were doing High Efficiency ranges before anyone else and you can see when you look at the evolution of other ranges, they are all trying to look like a Florigo. Florigo are always there first and others trying to copy. When people are doing that you go to the people who were doing it first.
How have your staff adapted to frying on a Dutch range?
Really well. Over the years it has been very hard to train people up, especially on an old British range where temperatures are key. If you do not watch the temperatures, you can burn everything in the pan, or it can drop down too low.
Just having the controls that the Florigo offers makes things 10x easier. Now the younger lads I have working for me are more confident, I can get them cooking knowing they’re not going to burn the oil. The timers and temperature keep everything really consistent.
My long-standing fryer is really happy too, we’ve even said it’s like his present! It’s his super car, he looks after it and polishes it every day.
Before we had the Florigo it was really hard work, but the range has made it so much easier for us. We can get the food out without stressing. Now after a busy Friday everyone is still really happy because they haven’t been overworked, stressing about getting food in and out of the range. We’re not running round like headless chickens anymore, now we can get the food out in a nice, controlled way. We have noticed there is a lot less food waste and a lot less mistakes and communication has improved too.
What would you say is the key to your success?
Coming from a professional kitchen has really helped. Everyone works really hard and we prepare food fresh every day. We’re very knowledgeable about our product too. Not only is the shop clean but it’s professional now too. We’ve attracted a different kind of cliental. We have people pulling up in Bentleys and Ferraris travelling from afar, it’s not just the locals. Customer service is really important to us, whether you are in a professional restaurant or a Fish & Chip shop the level of service should be the same and I think that is the key to our success.
What is your vision for Mario’s Fish Bar going forward?
I have got my own fully customisable website being built for click & collect. The only disadvantage of UberEats is you can’t control the level of service delivered by the drivers. You want people to give great customer service when we deliver food to our customers.
We would like to wish all the best for Jorge and his team at Mario’s Fish Bar and thank you for taking the time out to talk to us! Check out Mario’s Fish Bar on Social Media on the icon’s below!