James McDonald from the Service team went to visit a long-standing Florigo customer last week, William Rowe from W J Rowe Fish and Chips in Stevenage. William has been running his shop in the fish and chip industry since 1992! With plenty of experience and fish and chip trade wisdom, James grabbed the opportunity to find out more.
James commented -‘It was a great opportunity to get out and meet one of our loyal customers. As soon as I met him I could see the passion he has for his shop, staff, customers. He also thinks highly of the local community and shares pride of being part of it, there are plenty of photos on his wall showing girls and boys sports teams he has sponsored over the years proving that. He understands how crucial the range is to his business and ensures that we keep this to the highest standard we can by working closely with us. Will has plenty of stories about the shop and his past which kept us entertained for the time we there and is a genuinely nice man, all of his staff give glowing references and are happy working there. Two of them we spoke to have been there for over 10 years each. It was a pleasure visiting him and his shop and I hope to do this again sometime in the future.’
Can you tell us about W J Rowe Fish & Chips and why you decided to open the fish & chip shop?
To carry on the family tradition, my father ran the shop from 1962 and on his passing in 1992 I took over the reins and still here now!
You’ve been in the industry a long time, what’s your favourite part?
The People! From customers to staff to suppliers it’s a very nice trade to be in. Even though shops are in competition with each other we would still go out of our way to help one another out.
What’s been the most challenging part of owning your own fish & chip shop?
Learning the trade when you thought you knew it! When my dad passed in 1992 I had to jump in the deep end and learn the trade again, I proved the people wrong quickly who doubted me at the beginning!
You’ve had your Florigo over 10 years now, how have you got on with it?
Bloody Brilliant. Great range, great backup, great range engineers + staff behind the scenes.
What made you choose Florigo in the first place?
The reputation and belief in the company. A friend of mine had a 30-year-old Florigo which was working well, also helping the decision. I had a good relationship with Lee the previous salesman who catered to all of our needs and I was able to trust the decision I made.
Can you tell us a bit more about you and your day to day life?
On a normal day, I am in around 8 o clock, I drink a lot of coffee and start to help the team prepare for the day. We have deliveries in the morning before 11.30, I refuse to have any deliveries after that time as my focus is on our customers. Once we open I assist with frying or serving all day.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Spending time with the family, and watching Spurs play! I have also started a computer course at the local college to bring myself into the 21st century.
Do you have anything special on the menu?
My large thick cuts of cod are truly special, but our main special point is the service we offer looking after our customers.
What advice would you give people starting up their own fish & chip business?
Just do it! Book to go on the NFFF fryers course to get a whole understanding of the trade. You can’t ever get too much advice, chat with people, go to exhibitions. If you can’t talk to people then it’s not the trade for you!
What do you see for the future of W J Rowe Fish & Chips?
Going strength to strength, it’s the personal touch that gives chip shops the edge over fast food outlets all over the country. As long as we don’t lose that we will be ok.