Opinion

Podium finishes: How winning awards has helped our business

Last year, the Elite Fish & Chip Company – a family-run chain of three restaurants and takeaways – celebrated 30 years in business in Lincolnshire. During its 30-year history the company has grown from a small village restaurant and takeaway to a national award-winning fish and chip establishment, owned and run by the Tweedale family.

To commemorate the company’s pearl anniversary, the Tweedales committed to a £30,000 fundraising campaign to be split equally among three charities which have a close connection to the company. As the Elite Fish & Chip Company enters its 31st year in business, third-generation family member and co-director Rachel Tweedale tells us how scooping awards has contributed to the company’s success…  

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This year has already got off to an impressive start for us with a new award win. In January we kicked off the new year in style when our Sleaford restaurant became one of the first in Lincolnshire to be presented with the Healthier Options Award. We’ve always been passionate about high-quality food, and we’re constantly adapting our menu to reflect seasonal trends and to give our customers a variety of options – it was fantastic to have our efforts recognised and helps position us as more than a traditional fish and chip establishment.

2018 was a momentous year for our business and, although it seemed like it was going to be difficult to top, we have managed to begin 2019 on a positive note, so we start as we mean to go on. In addition to the hardwork and commitment from family members and staff, it must be said that award nominations and wins have played a pivotal part in our long-standing business success.

We got our first taste of success in 1992 after our founding restaurant and takeaway won the National Fish and Chip of the Year Award. Subsequently it soon became apparent that the size of our business was never going to limit our achievements or stand in the way of us winning awards – we realised that awards provided an opportunity to boost our business’ profile in more ways than one. We’ve witnessed at first hand the positive impacts that winning awards have had on our business, including:

Free marketing

The news of our very first award win led to us experiencing increased attention from the media and shortly afterwards we decided to hire a PR and marketing agency to help us manage the influx of media attention that came our way. However, awards don’t necessarily need to be won to have an impact; we have found that just being shortlisted for an award has improved our brand awareness and helped to promote our business to new customers as well as existing ones.

Benchmarking

When you’re directly involved in a business it can be easy to overlook many potential opportunities, and business awards are often one of them. It can be time-consuming to investigate and write awards, but the application process can often force you to look at your business from an entirely different perspective and help you identify a competitive advantage over your competitors.

Each company is different and there is a huge variety of awards out there to suit every business, from local to national, industry-based and sector-specific ones too. Winning several awards has helped us to stand out from the crowd and identify other key areas that are worth celebrating such as customer service, investment in people and growth. As a result of winning awards, or even just being shortlisted, we’ve also been able to identify areas for improvement which is something that has often been more valuable to our business than the award title itself.

Increased credibility

If utilised correctly, a business award nomination or win can act as an endorsement for your business. Winning awards signals to your staff that their hard work is paying off and we’ve found that they have helped us to strengthen our relationships with suppliers as well as with customers.

Employee motivation

As well as providing a great PR and marketing opportunity, winning awards has also helped us to boost morale for our existing employees – we’re a family-run business and that culture is fostered amongst our staff too. Winning an award helps the staff to be proud of the company and focus on what’s great about working for us which improves staff retention and attracts new talent. We’ve seen an increase in the number of job applications that we receive every time we advertise vacancies – and we believe that our award wins have played a part in highlighting what a great place the Elite Fish & Chip Company is to work!  

Through the years our country has seen wars and countless changes in laws and society, but fish and chips have very much remained an integral part of British culture. However, in recent years the battle to produce the best quality fish and chips, both on the coast and inland, has become an incredibly competitive market. In addition to generating PR and media coverage, business awards have helped us to establish ourselves as leaders in our industry. In our 30-year history we’ve benefitted from local and national media interest, secured new business and attracted new employees. From our experience, business awards are an avenue worth exploring.


By Rachel Tweedale, third-generation family member and co-director of the Elite Fish & Chip Company

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