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‘We will fry on!’ – defiant chip shop owner fears for the future amidst soaring costs

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As the cost of living soars one industry is being hit particularly hard, due to a ‘perfect storm’ of price rises.

Jordan Allen launched The Valley Fryer in Merrywalks, Stroud, in January but his overheads have soared, largely due to the war in Ukraine but also a planned increase in VAT on food that comes into effect in April will hit his business. During the pandemic the rate of VAT was reduced to 12.5 per cent but will return to the previous 20 per cent from April 1st. The frying equipment is powered by electricity, another cost set to increase significantly.

DSC02522 | 'We will fry on!' - defiant chip shop owner fears for the future amidst soaring costs

“I launched The Valley Fryer in January after many delays and issues to overcome which tested my skills as a newly proclaimed entrepreneur,” said Jordan.

“I spend my youth living in one of the villages just outside of Stroud and moved centrally in 2011, since then I have grown to love the individuality of Stroud as a place to live and work. This encouraged me to go it alone and open a new business following a redundancy in 2020.

“Being a new business is never easy regardless of what industry you operate in and it takes a long time to build up a customer base and raise the profile to gain more customers. This is always a challenge that prove the strength of any new start up, However, since opening the shop I and all chip shops are experiencing one of the most threatening times in the 160-year-old industry’s history.”

DSC02487 | 'We will fry on!' - defiant chip shop owner fears for the future amidst soaring costs

Fish prices have rocketed from £100 per box to heights of £250 per box, and to make matter worse cooking oil prices have gone from £32.95 to £41.56 per 20 litres with further increases likely.

“Flour prices due to the Russian Ukraine war have shot up making even the batter climb in price dramatically,” added Jordan.

“A large percentage of our white fish comes from Russian fishing vessels which from a moral standpoint is understandably not wanted, yet I and all fish and chip shops are fearing for our livelihoods and the future of an industry we all are passionate about.

“The great British chippy is traditionally working class dish accessible by all and there is a ceiling to the prices we can charge and the margins are very small as it is.

DSC02471 | 'We will fry on!' - defiant chip shop owner fears for the future amidst soaring costs
Jordan Allen, owner of the Valley Fryer. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

“This is not helped by the government’s intentions to increase the VAT back to 20 per cent from the 12.5 per cent as of the 1st of April. I think we are all praying this is an April fool’s joke as this really will see a lot of closures within the industry.

“This is my first business and I have absolutely everything riding on its success. If this business fails due to the challenges that have been constantly bashing our industry I will most likely be paying for it for a long time to come.

“I say this not for pity but for understanding from all that price increases we are seeing on our menu boards is not to line our own pockets but to try and survive these extremely difficult times, I guess it’s a desperate plea to support the iconic concept that is the chippy.”

The Valley Fryer

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