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Interviews

Living the American dream



Pete and Dianne Rushton are looking for British friers to share in their dream by taking on one of five fish and chip shop franchises in the sunshine state of Florida


Pete and Dianne Rushton opened an authentic British fish and chip shop in Cape Coral, Florida, during the spring of 2012 with a view to providing a distinctive and different eating experience compared to the ubiquitous and bland fast food outlets to be found all over Florida.

Just over a year on and the 950sqft takeaway called Pete's Fish & Chips has exceeded all expectations, serving in excess of 30,000 meals in its first 12 months alone.

The menu is a simple one based mainly on Icelandic cod fried in a homemade beer batter and served with double-cooked, authentic, chip shop chips. The quality offering is reeling customers in and it’s not just expats missing their home comforts, as around 90% of trade comes from American retirees and tourists.

“We’ve built up a clientele that is very dedicated to us and if they want fish and chips, they will come to us,” says Dianne. “Part of the attraction is a genuinely British eating experience fronted by a genuinely British chef who engages with the customers. People want to see and hear British people behind the range. They really do love it.”



Despite Cape Coral being a small city with a population of 160,000 and the area being the second worse hit in the United States by the housing crash, it has ploughed on where other local restaurants haven’t.

“What we offer is something different, authentic, it tastes great and you can’t get it anywhere else,” adds Pete.

With trade thriving and a solid 18 months trading record, Pete and Dianne are confident that they can grow the business through franchising, initially on the Gulf Coast of Florida, but eventually to the East Coast and even further into the more northerly states of USA.

“We’ve identified a number of places along Route 41 which are in a much more marketable position with traffic all day that will do even more business than Cape Coral,” says Pete.



That’s not the only ground work the couple, who hope to have five sites up and running by 2014, have done. They’ve put together a comprehensive franchise package that includes operation manuals, handbooks and product guidelines, they’ve spoken to attorneys, suppliers, and realtors, and organised for E-2 treaty investor visas, which allows for residency in USA for the franchisee and family as long as they stay in business.

All they need now are British people to run the outlets. “We have been amazed by the success of our shop,” adds Pete. “We knew that our concept was unique and that the British experience was palatable to the American market. We have proved our model and believe the growth potential is phenomenal.”

To find out more about Pete's Fish & Chips' franchising opportunities click here.

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