Restaurateur leads campaign to save Scotland’s fish and chip shops
A restaurateur from Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, is backing a UK-wide campaign to help save Scottish fish and chip shops under threat of closure due to rapidly escalating costs.
Carlo Crolla, 47, owner of East Coast Fish & Chips and East Coast Restaurant on North High Street in Musselburgh has teamed up with the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) to help prevent up to a third of the country’s fish and chip shops from disappearing from the high streets.
Mr Crolla says the price of fish has doubled, energy bills have spiralled, and cooking oil is more expensive than ever. As a result, some of the nation’s fish and chips shops are now struggling for survival.
As they are not protected by the energy price cap, chip shops are now facing huge rises in energy costs. Some members of NFFF have reported electricity bills going up from £400 to £2,000 a month.
The NFFF is urging the government to reconsider its planned 20% increase to VAT in April, which is an added concern for the industry.
The spiralling costs battering fish and chip shops include a 75% rise in the cost of cod since October, 81% rise in the cost of haddock in the last year, 120% rise in the cost of mushy peas and 40% rise in the cost of batter.
Industry leaders now say chip shops will have to raise prices to survive, but many could be forced out of business.
In 2021, East Coast was crowned one of the UK’s 50 Best Fish & Chip Takeaways of the year for the second year running - the only chippy in Edinburgh and the Lothians to make the prestigious list. The accolade followed an extensive search by leading trade publication, Fry Magazine, to find those chippies serving up the finest fish suppers amidst the ongoing challenges of the Covid pandemic.
Carlo Crolla runs East Coast Fish & Chips takeaway and East Coast Restaurant just two minutes’ walk from Musselburgh beach on the outskirts of Edinburgh with his wife, Katia.
The Crolla family has been serving the local community for nearly 50 years. Styles may change, but great flavours, family heritage and warm, friendly service remain as important to Katia and Carlo today as they did 48 years ago.
Carlo Crolla said:
“By teaming up with the National Federation of Fish Friers, we hope to do our bit by encouraging people to support their local fish and chip shop around Scotland during these extremely challenging times.
“Our family has been proudly serving the local community with quality fish and chips for nearly 50 years, but the spiralling costs battering our industry is putting all that at risk.
“We won’t compromise on quality, but these external factors will inevitability mean a rise in costs for us and our customers.”
Andrew Crook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers, added:
"We are in unprecedented times where we are seeing high levels of inflation and food inflation is even higher.
“Most of the supplies we use in the fish and chip industry have increased drastically in price and we are expecting this to continue for some considerable time. Other products are simply not available, and we have seen suppliers move away from the sector
“Fish and chips shops like East Coast in Musselburgh do feel the effect of these increases more than most cuisines as our margins are much tighter. The price of fish is comparable to steak in supermarkets.
“As a result of this, and our commitment to ensuring a high quality good value, good value product, we may regrettably be forced to review our prices to reflect the rising costs our industry is facing.”
For more information on and East Coast Fish & Chips and East Coast Restaurant, visit: https://eastcoastrestaurant.co.uk
For more information on the National Federation of Fish Friers, visit: www.nfff.co.uk