The Elite Fish & Chip Company
What town/city are you based in?
Number of generations
Number of employees
Tell us about your family business (What you do, how you started, who’s involved etc)
David Tweedale founded the family’s fish and chip business in the 1970s with his wife Freda before his son Adrian succeeded him and expanded the business into Lincolnshire. From 1988 Adrian, with his then-wife Jayne, managed the fish and chip takeaway and restaurant in Ruskington which was crowned the National Fish and Chip Shop of the Year in 1992. The Elite Fish and Chip Company grew from strength to strength opening a Lincoln outlet in 1995 and a third in Sleaford in 2012. Now in its third generation of friers, Adrian’s daughter, Rachel has kept the family tradition alive by independently managing the Sleaford takeaway and restaurant.
Jayne continues to run the award-winning Elite in Ruskington, supported by Adrian’s current wife Donna who keeps the Lincoln outlet open seven days a week, while Adrian continues to manage business strategy and the supply chain.
Family members all make decisions together and ideas are shared before actions are taken. Having three generations in the business, which now includes another of Adrian and Jayne’s daughters Lauren, who supports Rachel in the Sleaford restaurant, but is also working within the company’s sister business, Welbourne’s Bakery, with outlets in the villages of Navenby and Ruskington.
Before David Tweedale founded the business in 1972 he would deliver the best locally-grown potatoes to chippies across the town for frying. But when the opportunity to open his own fish and chip takeaway arrived, David knew the time was right to stop supplying and start frying himself. Using his experience to source only the best local potatoes for the perfect chips and freshest fish caught from the docks in Hull, David, together with wife Freda, opened the first Elite in 1972. After spending years helping out behind the frying ranges, chip off the old block Adrian followed in their footsteps, aged only 15, and a second Elite takeaway soon followed.Sixteen years later in 1988 the first Elite Fish and Chip Company restaurant and takeaway opened in Ruskington village – and it won the National Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award in 1992.
Three years later another Elite in the historic cathedral city of Lincoln opened, offering seating for over 100 guests and the same great takeaway service. Third generation frier Rachel kept the family business growing further by opening Elite’s third restaurant and takeaway in the market town of Sleaford in 2012.
Over 40 years later The Elite Fish and Chip Company has grown to 70 employees including four family members who are significantly involved in the running of the business. Now reaching a turnover of £2m, with net profits rising year on year, the Elite is a long-term and sustainable business.
What’s your proudest moment/biggest achievement as a family business?
Over the past year, Adrian Tweedale has cited his proudest moment as being his realisation that his children Rachel and Lauren are now part of the business. Adrian said: “Having my daughters involved in the business has been great. The intention was never to have the children follow in my footsteps but to see them dedicated to the company has been an eye-opener. They are feeling the same pressures that I did growing up, not only the day-to-day business pressures but that silent pressure that you feel when you are a family business taking on work under a previous generation. They are dealing well with this and that’s reflected in our success. “I’m excited to see where the family can take Elite and our bakeries over the next few years.”
Adrian also says winning the National Fish and Chip Shop of the year in 1992 was one of his proudest moments. The Ruskington restaurant and takeaway received national recognition as this award was the only one in the fish and chips industry at that time – so much so that it featured on Channel 4’s Big Breakfast. More recently, Rachel was also recognised for her hard work and dedication to the business. She was shortlisted in the final six top friers in the country during the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year competition. After a gruelling judging process, she was crowned the 2015 Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year in January 2015. Her role means she’s an ambassador for the fish and chip industry and works to support young friers who are keen to develop their career. Rachel has also been awarded a Red Ribbon Award for her dedication to the seafood industry, specially created by the organisers to recognise her work and passion.
What do you love about being a family business?
Here at The Elite Fish & Chip Company, we love being a family business as it means we are always there for each other and for our customers.
Over the years, our relationships with our customers have grown to an extent that they have almost become family too. This is extended to our hard-working and loyal staff, who share our vision of serving great quality fish & chips as well as giving excellent customer service.
As a family, we also take every decision together. Everyone’s opinion is listened to and valued and we move together as one. There’s not a lot that can beat that.