Fish and chop shops are a true staple of the British food industry with around 10,500 outlets around the country, outnumbering commercial fast food chains, such as McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The British public eats around 382 million portions of fish and chips per year, spending a staggering £1.2 billion1.

It’s little surprise, therefore, that many business owners are tempted by the prospect of owning their own shop. But with the rising cost of raw ingredients and competition from other fast food outlets, finding a successful formula can be a challenge.

To help get your fish and chip business off to the best possible start, here’s an overview of all you need to know.


As with any new business, consider your location carefully. Traditional seaside resorts are prime locations, as are areas with a high concentration of senior citizens and city centres, although your trade will fluctuate around working hours.

Decide whether you wish to establish a new shop, or take over an existing business. If you opt for the latter, you could benefit from inheriting a loyal customer base, but consider why the current owners are leaving.

Start-Up Costs

Start-up costs vary depending on the location and size of your premises, from £10,000 in some northern areas to £350,000 in London for leaseholds, with freeholds selling for up to £500,0002. Another cost factor is whether you offer takeaway service only or have a seating area for customers to dine in. If you operate a restaurant, you need to account for furniture, toilet facilities, additional staff, etc.

In addition, you need to budget for specialist equipment, such as a frying range and food supplies. The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has a member’s directory with accredited suppliers3.

Rules and Regulations

Fish and chips shops don’t have any specific rules and regulations to adhere to, but they’re subject to the same health and safety legislation that governs all premises that prepares and handles food4.

If you’re starting from scratch, inviting in the environmental health inspectors before you kit out your shop is a wise move, as they can advise on the most convenient location for your fixtures and fittings5.


Although there’s no legal obligation to have training, the NFFF offers several courses, including a three day course for all new entrants to the industry. This covers health and safety, food preparation, and practical information such as accounting6.


Fish and chip shops face a number of risks, including working with hot oil, sharp knives and other kitchen equipment, and serving the general public. For this reason, you need adequate business insurance to protect your investment.

Insurance should include public and products liability, contents insurance, employers liability, business interruption, buildings cover, and cover for money on the premises. It’s worth seeking advice from a specialist broker who will ensure you have adequate protection for your needs.


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