Lincolnshire fish and chip shop is grand finalist in national business awards
Ruby’s Plaice in Kyme Road, in the village, has been selected as a regional winner to battle it out in the national grand final of the England Business Awards, to be held at The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham on November 19, having been named Lincolnshire’s best fish and chip shop at the East Midlands awards held in Leicester in July.
Owner Raj Pahal and his wife Ruby happily learned earlier this year they had been nominated for the awards scheme having bought the business in 2020 during the height of the Covid pandemic.
The awards have been running for several years with categories for everything from beauticians and hairdressers to bridal shops.
The fish and chip shop was visited by mystery shoppers who checked out the appearance and cleanliness of the shop, customer service and the quality of product.
Making it to the East Midlands finals they were judged to be Best Fish and Chip Shop winners of the Lincolnshire region for 2023, with Raj, Ruby and some of their staff present at the ceremony to collect their certificate.
Excited Raj said: “We were immensely proud as Lincolnshire is a vast county and really the home of fish and chips with potatoes and fish on the doorstep.
“We had a great response from our customers who were heavily invested in the process and getting votes in, so it was a real feel-good factor when they saw our award on the counter.
We cannot have a business without the staff too, they have just as important as me cooking all day
In the run up to the Grand Final they will have been visited again by three mystery shoppers to ensure consistency of service and they will be pitted against all the other county finalists in England.
Raj felt that they go the extra mile when it comes to personal customer service and consistent quality of product: “Everything is freshly prepared on site and we source the best possible ingredients we can. With the cost of living crisis we could have bought cheaper fish or sausages but one thing we will never do is compromise on our quality as that is what got us where we are. Fish and chips is a British staple and part of the culture and it has to be right, especially when we rely on our regular clientele that keep coming back for our product.”
They even produce their own secret recipe garlic mayonnaise on the premises.
During the pandemic, they stayed open and allowed people to social distance by letting them wait in their cars and calling them in when it is ready. They have continued to offer that service, allowing customers to chat outside while waiting on the benches, or shelter inside the shop and staff will even bring the food out to them if they wish.
Raj commented: “It has been challenging with rising prices of fish and customers were apprehensive that fish and chips would no longer be a cheap meal, but we try everything to keep our prices below the national average for a standard portion.
"Going for this national award we are doing it for Heckington and hopefully to put Lincolnshire on the map.”