While lots of operators are looking to sell up, David Henley has bucked the trend and bought a second business which he plans to refurbish and rebrand as The Fish Hoose.
Just half a mile from his current takeaway, Henley’s of Wivenhoe in Colchester, Essex, The Fish Hoose will take on a rustic, reclaimed beach shack-style appearance, serving traditional fish and chips as well as shellfish and seafood platters alongside wine and beer.
“It needs quite a bit of investment,” says David. “We’re looking to start again with a refit and a new frying range. It’s going to be clad in reclaimed timber, we’re even going to get a blowtorch and burn it in places. It will still be predominantly fish and chips but we’re moving with the times towards a more gastro feel.”
One of the products David will be utilising at The Fish Hoose when it opens later this year is Frymax palm oil, which he’s been using for over 40 years. David comments: “In these very challenging times, a lot of people are looking at their margins and making the mistake of cutting costs in the wrong areas, using lower premium fish, potatoes or oil, for example. But this is the time when you need to maintain your standards.
“The shops I’ve spoken to that have been tempted to try a different frying medium to save a few pounds have found it costs them more in the long run because it doesn’t last as long and it has a smell that customers identify with dirty oil. Yes, Frymax is a little bit more expensive, but you can’t skimp on quality if you want to produce a quality product.”
As one of the first operators to gain MSC certification for his business in 2014, David has continued to pursue a sustainable business. He’s even partnered with local fishing boats to take their bycatch to put on as specials in his shop.
It’s another reason David uses Frymax, adding: “People are so conscious about sustainability, they want to know that the businesses they are purchasing from are acting responsibly. We can demonstrate this not just with the fish we buy but the fact that we use Frymax as I believe it’s the only true sustainable palm oil. It’s fully traceable and it has all the accreditations. And having worked and dealt with Frymax for the past 40 to 50 years, I know they feel as passionate about sustainability as we do.”
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