The opening of The Cod’s Scallops’ Birmingham branch in October provided 17-year-old Chloe Gibson with her first job in the fish and chip industry
I started at The Cod’s Scallops as a waitress front-of-house, taking orders and clearing tables. I did find it tricky at first because I had never worked in a restaurant before and there was so much to learn and get right.
Our opening day was so busy, we were packed where we had new customers coming in and also regulars at our Nottingham shop stopping in to see what it was like here. My job was to take orders, something I’d never done before, so even that was a bit daunting. I look at myself now and I’m so different compared to then, I don’t have to think about so many things now, I’m able to just do them and that’s a great feeling.
John, the owner, and Nick, the operations manager, have been really good at pushing me and encouraging me to do more. Recently I was made supervisor so now I have the added responsibilities of ordering stock and managing the staff rotas. I absolutely love it and I’ve surprised myself at how far I’ve come. When I first started I was the one listening to people higher than me, whereas now I’m that person.
I love learning where all the things on our menu come from. Cod and haddock are still our best-selling fish although we have so many other options as well as different ways they can be cooked, whether that’s baked with herbs or barbecue spice or battered and fried. All the dishes can be served with chips or a salad and I think that’s what people really like about us, the fact that there is a choice.
I didn’t know much about fish and seafood before starting here and I often found customers would say things like ‘I’ve never seen this fish before, what’s it like?’ or ‘what’s the difference between cod and haddock?’. I thought, if I try these things myself then I will be able to speak from experience so now I’m not only able to say where the fish is from but how great it tastes too.
We have had a few customers come in recently and ask us about our prices because we have had two price rises since we opened, so I’ve had to learn how to deal with that. I explain to the customer that fish has gone up for us and, unfortunately, we have to pass some of that increase on, but I reassure them they are getting a great piece of fish and that the kitchen makes sure that the food going out is amazing. A lot of them actually turn around afterwards and say, ‘you know what, that was really good’, and they take back any moan or groan they may have had about the price!
I really do enjoy working at The Cod’s Scallop’s, it’s a great team we have here and we are so well supported. So many of the staff came down from the Nottingham shop to train us, which was such a big help. I’d love to help someone in the future in the way that those guys helped me.