19 April 2024

‘Our award has boosted business – and the town, too’

by Rebecca Hannant

The UK Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Awards have been launched at the Hornsea restaurant that won this year’s accolade.

On Monday, June 5, Whiteheads hosted the launch event, the first of its kind, for the awards, which are presented by the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF).

The event was attended by chip shop owners from across the UK, previous award winners, and representatives from the NFFF including its president, Andrew Crook. They were invited to a sit-down meal to try Whiteheads’ awardwinning fish and chips.

Whiteheads was announced as this year’s winner at a ceremony held at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, on February 28.

The chippie won the award for its commitment to making adaptations to its menu including providing gluten-free options and only sourcing environmentally friendly fish, which led to them becoming the first East Yorkshire chip shop to be awarded a certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Whiteheads had already become extremely popular among locals and tourists alike, but the award has improved business even further and has helped put Hornsea on the map, according to owner Geoff Whitehead.

Geoff said: “Winning this award has boosted business by 30 per cent. I am shocked, I didn’t expect it. It is an honour to win it and the bonus of winning it is the increase in business. The downside is that the staff are run completely off their feet – they have been amazing, and without them I wouldn’t have a business. They are the backbone. I cannot pay enough homage to them because I have an amazing group that are a pleasure to work with.

“Winning the award has not only just helped us, but it is also bringing extra business into the town as well. Purely and simply, it is because people are coming to try us, and in turn, they are then going out to the seafront and buying teas and coffees. They are also visiting Hornsea Freeport while they are here. It is a good thing, especially with what we are going through now with the cost-of-living crisis.

“The feedback has been tremendous. It has created a buzz about town. It has helped the town. I am still floating on cloud nine. Everybody benefits, not just us. We still have nine months to go until the next awards. Hopefully it will bring more people to the town.

“People are coming from all over the country. The other day I had someone specifically come over from Canada. I was talking to him, and he said he flew over here just to try the fish and chips.”

As part of the award, Geoff and the other top 10 category winners have been invited on a study trip to Norway by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC). During their visit they will experience a voyage on board one of the fishing vessels and learn where their fish comes from, and how it is caught sustainably. Geoff added: “We will go out to sea on a trawler, spend eight hours at sea, catch the fish, process it, and come back in. I am really looking forward to it.

“If there is anyone out there who reads the paper, and they are thinking about going for the award, do it. It can only be a positive thing. If you don’t win it, the publicity of you being in the awards is a positive. I am a big believer that we have the best area in the country for fish and chip shops. If you’re thinking about having a go, do it!”