Bells Fish and Chips, which has three branches in Durham and one in Washington, Seaham and Team Valley, is on course to become a finalist in the Best Multiple Operator 2024 category.
After an intensive judging process that asked participants about their industry knowledge, environmental and sustainability practices, employer standards and more, the chippy will now compete against two other providers for a chance of winning.
Alongside Bells, Haven, Cook’s Fish and Chips, based in Lancashire, South Wales and Kent, and The Chesterford Group, with branches across the South East, were nominated.
Things are set to reach a boiling point, with mysterious visits to each establishment taking place at a time unknown to the final three.
The one with the highest number of points is considered the winner. The announcement will be made live at the awards ceremony on February 28, 2024 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London.
Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, which organizes the awards, said: “Our three finalists for Best Multiple Operator deserve recognition for their incredibly hard work in what has been a tireless year.
“Keeping the plates rolling in many places requires the highest levels of determination, teamwork, vision and, of course, great food, and these companies have demonstrated exactly that.”
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The category is sponsored by Pacific West Foods.
Its managing director Martin Finegan added: “What an achievement for the finalists to be recognized as the best in Britain. Fish and chip companies show a kind of resilience and dedication to providing customers with quality seafood that never fails to impress.
“This means being able to move quickly with the times and Pacific West Foods looks forward to supporting many more fish and chip businesses in this way.”