THE owners of the best fish and chip takeaway in the UK are set to expand across Lancashire.
Seniors, which grew turnover to £1.6m in 2011, will now target new locations along the M55 corridor into Preston and West Lancashire if the right sites become available.
The family business, which currently has three restaurants and 100 employees, has grown significantly since opening its Thornton operation in 2006 with funding from Yorkshire Bank.
The two-storey new-build restaurant seats 100 people and in January was named the UK’s Fish and Chip Shop of the Year for 2012.
Its Lytham takeaway and restaurant, which opened in 2009, has also been a huge success and Seniors has plans to use this outlet as its model for new eateries elsewhere in the county.
Owner Alastair Horabin said: “At a time when most traditional fish and chip businesses are seeing sales down five to 15 per cent, we’ve managed to hold our own in the last few years.
“The Lytham restaurant model has proven extremely efficient and we believe there are other areas in the county, particularly in and around Preston and Southport, which could support, and would have the appetite for, a Seniors.
“We will be looking at opportunities to expand the business into those areas, subject to the right property becoming available.”
Alastair told delegates at the Gazette and sister magazine Fylde Means Business’ networking event at Ribby Hall there was no danger of his brand becoming a faceless chain of stores – he would use the same model and attention to detail in any new venues.
Kevin Hughes, managing partner at Yorkshire Bank’s Financial Solutions Centre, said: “Seniors has a clear strategy for further financial growth and we look forward to an opportunity to support Seniors as it looks to expand into new locations in the region.”
Alastair got into the restaurant business when his father Richard, an experienced fish merchant, bought Seniors chip shop in Normoss, Blackpool in 2000.
The family quickly undertook a massive revamp of the restaurant, changing the menu, selling 100 per cent sustainable fish, local potatoes and well-trained staff.
Alastair added: “Our commitment to using local and sustainable suppliers has been a key factor in our success. All our cod, haddock and hake is Marine Stewardship Council approved, we get our potatoes, pies and sausages from just down the road too.”