21-year-old Kathleen Ryan-Rowe transferred to Ocean Catch in Bristol when she moved for university last year. 12 months on and she feels totally at home
I’ve been at Ocean Catch for a year next month although I’ve worked at a chippy in my home town of Shropshire since I was 14. I was going off to university in Bristol and my boss had the idea of posting up on one of the chippy Facebook pages, recommending me to anyone that had a job going. At first, I thought, okay, we’ll see. I didn’t think anything of it.
But then Nick, who owns Ocean Catch, got in touch and I came in for a chat and a trial shift and it was perfect because the shop is a two-minute walk from my house, which I didn’t know at the time. It’s quite funny because when they advertised the position initially within the Filton area, they didn’t have many responses, whereas I’d come from Shropshire!
It’s been great to be able to walk in and just get on with the job, although there are a few things Ocean Catch does differently. The chippy at home had someone whose job it was to cook and someone whose job it was to serve and that was it. Whereas here there are a lot more shared responsibilities and we work very much as a team, so I’ve been able to get involved in a lot more rather than just serving.
My day might start with a little bit of washing up, making sure the serving area is tidy and then stocking up anything that hasn’t been stocked up from the night before.
The shop took on Just Eat a couple of months before I started and it’s really taken off so now when I come in at 5pm there are already a lot of orders to start preparing. Just Eat has done a lot of different types of promotions to bring in new customers and it’s definitely worked, the shop has a much wider audience now.
At my previous shop we always wrapped in paper so I was looking forward to showing off my wrapping skills here. When I came for my trial shift I walked into the shop and thought, ‘oh no, you use bags’. To me, that didn’t seem like a proper fish and chip shop at first, but I’ve definitely adjusted to it and now I can see it’s a lot easier, the portions are controlled more and the packaging looks a lot better because everything has the same logo on it. Swapping to bags and boxes has been a big thing for me, for sure.
As well as our fish and chips, we are really proud of our kebabs. I would say they are on a par with the quality of our fish. It’s a really high quality kebab and the supplier will only sell to one shop within a three-mile radius so no one else around us has them. We also do a fantastic homemade Greek salad, which comes with the kebab although people are starting to order it if they’re having chicken and there are even a few people that come in just for a box of salad for lunch the next day.
I feel really fortunate to have got the job at Ocean Catch. I think because fish and chips was the first job I had, it feels kind of close to home. I just feel comfortable doing it. Although it’s a bit hot and sticky at the moment, but I’m getting used to it!