ONE of Bradford’s best loved fish and chip takeaways has been ranked in the nation’s top 50 chippies for the sixth year in a row.
Towngate Fisheries in Idle has been ranked in the list selected by industry publication Fry Magazine, as has Croft Street Fisheries in Farsley.
The chippies were visited by a mystery diner and judged on more than 40 aspects of their business, including food quality, customer service, Covid-safe practices and social media presence.
Food quality remained the key aspect of judgement, with diners looking into the flakiness of the fish and crunch of the batter, crispness of chips and also value for money.
To make the top 50 list takeaways had to hit the 97 per cent mark in the judging, the highest benchmark in the awards’ history, showing they have not let standards slip during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Mark Drummond, owner of Towngate Fisheries, said: “I’m really happy we’ve been included for the sixth straight year.
“What I really like about this award is it’s done by a mystery shopper, not a panel of experts, so it’s judged on what any customer would experience.
“They randomly visit and they you get a report and see what can be improved.
“Our food scored 100 per cent and we only dropped marks for not trying to sell extras – I think it’s a but pushy – and for not being wheelchair accessible. We have a bell outside and bring the food to the door; it’s an old building and we do our best.”
Mr Drummond said the pandemic period has been a challenge but the shop has adapted and thrived.
They have introduced a click and collect service which now accounts for 50 per cent of trade, and that regular customers stick to social distancing rules and mask wearing the vast majority of the time.
“Screens and wearing masks make hearing people a bit more difficult, but my team have worked incredibly hard to adapt and have been great.”
%image(‘12492164’, type=”article-full”, alt=”Croft Street Fisheries in Farsley has also made Fry Magazine’s top 50 chippies list. Pic: Google Maps”)
Reece Head, competition organiser, said: “Without doubt, the last 12 months have been tough for fish and chip operators and many will not have dealt with this level of crisis management before.
“Allowed to operate during the pandemic, there was a lot they had to implement in a very short space of time to operate in a Covid safe manner.
“Many takeaways had to flip their businesses to click and collect and delivery, serve at the door, introduce card payments and work in much smaller teams.
“Likewise, mobile units introduced pre-orders and added new routes and additional vans to keep the nation fed.
“During a time of uncertainty, these operators have helped maintain a sense of normality. They’ve been at the heart of their communities, with a smile on their faces and hot food in their hands.
“The fact that we’ve had our highest pass mark ever is testament to their hard work and dedication, and we would like to congratulate each and every one.”