Today, fish and chip shops as we have come to know them have a key place in our communities, often being considered the hub of our villages and towns.
Love it or loathe it, technology has had a huge impact on society over the last few decades, so we decided to take a look at how our local chippies have embraced these new technologies, while still keeping fish and chips the humble, but delicious, meal we’ve all come to know and love.
In the late 19th century, fish and chip shops were originally small family businesses, often run from the front room of the house. As the industry expanded thorough the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th century, shops were being opened all over the country. Many shops remained small takeaway businesses, but as demand grew, with a need for faster service, shops started to operate on a larger scale. With the introduction of steam trawlers, fish from all over the North Atlantic became readily available, and with steam railways, distribution around the country became quick and easy. During the Second World War, fish and chips became part of a staple diet for families across England, due to the fact that neither fish, nor potatoes were rationed.
One of the main developments in technology for the fish and chip industry actually changed the way they were cooked. The technique of frying food is age old, in fact it is believed to date back to the Egyptians. Although fish and chip shops began life in the 1870s, they didn’t have any specialist equipment until the frying range came along at the turn of the 20th century. Before the invention of this revolutionary piece of equipment, fish would have just been fried on ranges in big vats of fat. The first frying ranges were coal fired, so maintaining the frying range at the correct temperature was the real art at that time. These days, advances in technology have improved the ranges to include timers, temperature settings and oil filters, which make it easier and quicker for fish and chip shop owners to deliver delicious battered fish to their customers.
While still hugely popular as a takeaway, over the years, shops have expanded to offer an eat-in, restaurant style experience for customers. The first fish and chip shops displayed their menus on shop windows, blackboards or revolving wooden boards, a far cry from the modern rotating LCD screen displays of today.
Then of course came the invention of the internet. With this came the ability for fish and chip fans to order their favourite food online, meaning less time spent queuing as they wait for the fish to fry and more time spent eating. The social media boom has enabled fish and chip shops around the country to reach a larger target market than ever before. With the introduction of the likes of Facebook and Twitter for example, customers can be made aware of all offers as soon as they are introduced by a chippy and some shops have gone one step further by offering home delivery. While most of us will always stay loyal to our local chippy, the creation of apps such as iFish4Chips, means it’s never been easier for someone to find their nearest chippy when visiting a new location.
It’s clear to see fish and chip shops have greatly benefited from technology changes over the years and it’s exciting to think about how this will continue in the future.
Information for this blog was taken from the following website: