The owner of a fish and chip shop in Dorset has opened what he believes to be the county’s first drive-through chippy.
Phil Karsberg has added the facility to his restaurant and takeaway, Karsberg's Fish & Chips in Ferndown, after seeing the potential to expand the business.
“It’s an idea I’ve had for the past two or three years,” comments Phil. “We’ve got a private car park that goes all the way around so we’ve put in a window with an intercom system and the customer drives up, presses the buzzer and we go over to the window and serve them.
“As far as I know, we’re the only drive-through fish and chip shop in Dorset.”
With competition in the town growing, Phil decided the time was right to move the business forward, adding: “I have a McDonald’s 300 yards away and about a year and a half to two years ago a KFC opened the other side of me about 800 yards away.
“I’ve got a busy shop and I’m trying to stay that way.”
It’s not the only improvement Phil’s made to the business. A total refurbishment was carried out six years ago when he first bought the shop, while 12 months later he knocked out the store room and put in seating for 20 people.
“I recently put in air-conditioning to keep it nice and cool in the summer,” he adds. “It’s all about upgrading and moving forward. If you don’t push forward, you get overtaken.”
Although the drive-through is currently operating to the same hours as the takeaway and restaurant, Phil plans to change this next year. “At the moment, the drive-through is open from 12 noon until 2pm and then from 5pm until 9pm, but I’m thinking around March, April, May time of shutting at 9pm and leaving the drive-through open until about 10pm or 11pm.”
The opening may have been kept quiet to enable the team to find their feet, but the drive-through is already attracting a lot of trade. Phil comments: “A lot of people are just finding out about the drive-through as we didn’t advertise it or anything, but we’ve had a real mix of people, some regulars and some new customers.
“At the weekend we probably had about 25 cars use the drive-through all day Friday and a similar number on Saturday. A family came all the way from Blandford after hearing about us and that’s a 30-45 minute drive.”
He adds: “We’ve had customers drive by and order a few bags of chips and then we had an office that wanted burgers for everyone so ordered 35!
“In the town where we are there are a lot of elderly people, so this saves them getting out of their cars.”
Karsberg's joins only two other UK fish and chip shops to operate a drive-through, these being Banny’s in Burnley, Lancashire, and Empire in Wakefield, Yorkshire.