A range fire just before Christmas meant The Swan in Southport, Liverpool, had to close its 150 seater restaurant and takeaway immediately. Not only was the loss of trade hard to bear, but when it looked like early March before a new range could be installed, panic began to set in for owners mum and stepdaughter Rita and Helen Defty.
“The shop has been here for 70-80 years, so it’s the longest running fish and chip shop in Southport,” explains Helen. “Our family has owned it for 40 years and my step mum and myself have run it together for the last 25. We’re open seven days a week and only close Christmas Day and Boxing Day so we’ve got loyal, regular customers who have been coming for generations and who are used to us being open. The thought of closing for so long was petrifying, not just for them but for my staff too.”
Phoning around to get quotes for her insurance, Helen called range manufacturer Henry Nuttall who arrived at the shop the next day, carried out a site survey and said a range could be manufactured and installed in four weeks.
“It was such a relief. They just took away all our stress,” explains Helen. “The thought of not opening until after Christmas or even into the Spring, well, I didn’t know if we would have made it.”
After a visit to Nuttall's factory in Sheffield to finalise the pan layout and choose the counter, the shop opened three weeks later on 2nd December with a five pan island range complete with Vito filtration. Although like-for-like in terms of its layout and spec, Helen has found her new range much easier to operate and clean.
She says: “We wanted to go back to basics, we wanted something that was simple and effective. The range is so easy to clean, for example, the vents just slide out and the glass on the display units just clip off.
“Frying is pretty much the same, which is good as we didn’t want to be learning new things, we just wanted to get on and do things how we knew.”
With the range installed, there were a few things Helen wanted tweaked and which Nuttalls was only too happy to oblige, as Helen explains: “It wasn’t anything major but they were there straight away, ready to make the tweaks we needed. For example, the way we lift up the lid on the chip box on the fryer side didn’t seem to work for us, so they designed a completely new chip box. Also, I didn’t think the pies were warming up as well as we wanted so they came and fitted another thermostat in the heated cabinet.”
Pleased with her decision to go with Henry Nuttall, Helen adds: “We’re really glad Henry Nuttall could come out so quickly and quote for us but also we felt very comfortable and confident with them straight away. And knowing that they are local should we need parts or anything is also very reassuring.”
Henry Nuttall 01909 560 808 www.henrynuttall.co.uk