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Calling All Newcomers!

Article Date: 2016-06-29

Frymax invite you to enter the Best Newcomer Award 2017

In just six years the Best Newcomer Award, sponsored by Frymax, has become one of the most coveted at the National Fish and Chip Awards. The Award was born out of a conversation between the late Bill Crook, then President of NFFF and Cyril Solomons, Marketing Consultant to Frymax. Bill had always been keen to encourage new entrants to the trade to aim for the highest standards and Frymax as a brand believing in the highest quality were delighted to become involved as sponsors.

Best Newcomer gives the winner the platform of a national award to help develop their business. However the most important thing about the Best Newcomer Award is not the single winner but the feedback and advice that is given to all qualified entrants. Tracy Poskitt, a past winner of The Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award comments "I am very pleased to be involved as a mystery shopper and judge in The Best Newcomer Award. The objective of the Awards and in particular Best Newcomer is to provide feedback and comments to help shops reach a higher standard. We don^t expect a newcomer to be at the level of the ten Regional winners but we hope that they are aiming at that level for the future and that our experience can help guide them to these higher levels. I^m so happy when I see shops I have judged in Best Newcomer entering and winning other awards."

The Cod’s Scallops who won Best Newcomer in 2014 were placed 3rdin the blue ribbon Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of The Year Award in 2016. Athena’s, Chuckles Chippy, Fairfield Place, Holts, Land and Sea, Old Time Fisheries and Shap Chippy, previous entrants in Best Newcomer were all awarded a place in the Fry Best 50 Fish and Chip Shops 2016.

The Benefits of Feedback

Mark and Jane Faichney of Old Time Fisheries in Keighley were runners up in 2015. They have won local awards and were awarded a place in the Fry Best 50 in 2016. "The Best Newcomer was a springboard for our future awards. The judges made us feel very relaxed and gave us confidence to enter more competitions. The judging visits and the feedback showed us our strengths and also suggested a number of improvements which we put into practice. You don^t need to win to gain from this competition. Everybody who enters will receive beneficial feedback.”

Wide Range of Finalists

The Best Newcomer Award category is open to any shop which meets the entry criteria. The finalists have used dripping, rapeseed and palm oils. Winners have used dripping and palm. The winners of Best Newcomer have ranged from Holts, a small family takeaway in Nelson, to Chamberlains a takeaway and seventy seater restaurant near Birmingham. The 2015 winner was Shap Chippy from the small village of Shap in Cumbria. Owners Jo Hampson and Georgina Perkins said "We entered the competition as a challenge to ourselves to look carefully at all aspects of our business and in the hope that we would get some good feedback to help us. We did not think a chip shop in a rural village going through a difficult time would have a chance of winning a nationalcompetition. The fact that we ended up as winners means that everybody has a chance! Although we do not use Frymax in our shop it is nice that as sponsors they have continued to be in touch and so supportive over the past 18 months.”

Ease of Entry

Frymax have always tried to increase the number of shops entering because we believe that all shops can benefit from their entry. We felt that number of questions was discouraging shops from entering so last year the entry questionnaire was reduced from 23 to just 10 questions. This had the desired result with more shops entering. Chuckles Chippy of Poole, a finalist in 2016 welcomed the ease of entry "Although we had only been open for a few months we were encouraged to enter the awards by Frymax. They gave us the confidence to enter and assured us that we would benefit from it which we did. The questions were relevant to our business and gave us the opportunity to talk about what we had done and our plans for the future. It is a very user friendly award with everybody involved taking an encouraging and positive approach to new entrants to the trade."

Staff Motivation

Catch in East Looe, the 2016 winners commented on the benefits to staff morale by entering the competition. Owner Tony Spreadborough says "If your staff feels that you have the confidence to enter a national award then morale rockets. It is a great motivator because your staff sees the confidence you have in them. And that is just for entering. Once you get into the visits and audits then the staff really get behind it. Of course winning is great but although only one shop receives the award every shop which enters wins because of the motivation and feedback. Every shop that enters should benefit from their entry."

How to Enter

The Best Newcomer Award is open to fish and chip operators that are new to the industry from 1stOctober 2014 onwards. It is easy to enter. Visit to download the entry form and view full terms and conditions. For further information email

Closing date is July 31st 2016.

Fish Friers