Under the old owner the chip shop opened sporadically, and not necessarily according to the time-table swinging from the front door. Under the old owner the chips had been the best in the area, although that was no recommendation.
Steve, the new owner, had very fixed ideas on providing a good service to everyone and to making absolutely sure his oil was very clean. The chips coming out of that chip shop soared in quality. The fish went from wet blotting paper to nicely cooked and very edible cod fillets. And the consequence was that everyone started to hear about this superior chip shop and the queues out of the door on a Friday night were quite remarkable.
There’s a lot to Steve’s story as I’ve found out over the years. And as it occurs to me I’ll tell you other snippets that may give you tips or an uplift in your own business motivation.
Entrepreneurs Start Early
Today I told him how my son David who’s 13 is going around the area offering to clean cars, wash patios, clip hedges, mow, strim – in fact you name it. Steve told me about his own entrepreneurial instincts way back when he was 13 too. Back then he’d started by buying a 55 pound bag of potatoes and then split it into several smaller bags that he went to sell door to door. This was back in the early 70’s when few of us had cars, or if we did never used them to get the shopping.
Soon he was taking 2.5 tons of potatoes at the weekend and bagging them all up on Sunday. Picture what an enormous enterprise that was.
It was hard work but he was also making very good money doing all this because nobody liked hauling bags of potatoes from the supermarket.
Eventually he sold his business to a much bigger vegetable distributor. Steve continued to build the vegetable distributor’s business and handed over all his contacts with chip shop owners. After some time Steve asked to be made a partner, after all he had built the business even bigger. He was refused. So Steve started to look elsewhere to find something he could get into.
Market Research Pays Off
Steve has delivered to a vast number of chip shops in Manchester and its surrounding areas. He knew which shops were good, or had good prospects. so he waited until one he knew would be good came on the market. And that was the chip shop I use. He handed in his resignation, bought the shop and has not looked back since.
Steve refurbished it and it sparkles like a new pin. He still fillets fish everyday, except Monday, and fries fish and chips every day too. He has a “nightman” who fries for him at night.
Recently after doing the research to check that there were hoards of starving people roaming nearby. Steve bought and refurbished another shop where he has a manager running it.
The Moral Of This Story
Market research pays dividends. As Steve says “there are some people who get money easily and there are some that struggle.” Those that struggle pick the chip shops that are falling down, or in the back streets of a bad area where no one ever goes. They equate cheap potatoes and fish with more profits without realising they’re sacrificing the profits they could easily make by choosing the right areas, the right shops, the right materials.
What I’m getting at is this:
- Do your market research
- Don’t skimp on the best you can get for you customers, they will repay you