Back of house flooring is an extremely important part of any fish and chip shop and, while it doesn’t have to look as decorative as your front of house, it still needs to handle heavy traffic, food and drink spills, oil and grease as well as frequent cleaning in order to keep it free from slips and trips as well as bacteria and odours
Traditionally, the preference has been for ceramic tiles with friers preferring the longevity they offer as they are particularly hard wearing, being resistant to stains, heat and water.
However, as Vince Yarrington of shopfitters Centre Plan explains, getting the perfect non-slip ceramic tile isn’t always easy. “You can get them but the problem with a ceramic tile is that if you don’t keep on top of cleaning, you can very easily get a layer of grease develop and within 12 months that then becomes quite slippery.”
Therefore if you are going for this option, Vince recommends applying an anti-slip coating to achieve a non-slip finish and improve the safety of the working environment.
If you don’t want the maintenance that this involves, Vince suggests an alternative solution in the form of a vinyl non-slip flooring like that from Altro. Offering excellent value for money, it is not only slip resistant, it also incorporates an integral bacteriostat ensuring hygiene and permanent anti-bacterial performance.
In the wet area, Vince tends to recommend a quarry tile - a 150mm x 150mm very hard wearing and water resistant tile, teamed up with an epoxy resin grout, which allows for movement and offers a good seal. “It’s a little bit more expensive than standard non-slip flooring, but prep rooms tend to be quite small areas so if you contain its use to just that area it doesn’t work out too costly.”
Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work
On average, slips and trips cause 40% of all reported major injuries in the workplace
Another option which Barland Shopfitters is finding friers increasingly opt for is a resin screed floor throughout the kitchen, behind the range and into the prep room.
These hard wearing resin coatings are applied over a concrete or cement screed surface to provide a chemical resistant, slip resistant and hygienic finish. If you require a decorative finish, this can be achieved by adding coloured flakes or aggregates.
MD Robert Cleveland comments: “The main benefit is that it’s a solid, seamless, flooring with no joins, so you never have to worry about issues with loose or cracked tiles, especially in areas of heavy usage.”
One word of advice he does issue is that resin flooring should always be applied by an expert, saying: “When applying, it goes on with a roller and the more you roll it the flatter it becomes. However, as it becomes flatter it begins to lose its non-slip properties, so it is a fine art getting it exactly right.
Where floors cannot be kept clean and dry, slip-resistant footwear should be worn to help prevent slip accidents
It’s something Dave Belsham of shopfitters Elite is also seeing more fish and chip shops specify with nine out of ten shopfits his company carries out going for epoxy resin.
Costing approximately £20-£25 a meter more than a tiled floor, Dave advises friers to factor longevity into the equation and also the impact a low maintenance flooring can have on staff morale and labour costs. “Once a resin floor is down, it’s down forever, you’ll never need to replace it,” he says.
“But the bigger issue is that cleaning is so easy. We always install a trough drain so staff can throw a bucket of water on it, clean the floor and just brush the water straight into the drain. Our objective is to make life easier long-term for the staff.”
Whatever flooring you opt for, thorough preparation is of paramount importance, as Centre Plan’s Vince concludes: “Before you put down the final finish, do make sure the preparation is 100% perfect, otherwise you could find in 12 months’ time that the floor is failing and it needs doing again.”
Check out these custom made front of house wall and floor coverings produced for two fish and chips shops by Lancashire-based Printed Space.
The wall covering, created for Tarnbrook Chippy in Morecambe, is a reproduction of a painting by local artist Chas Jacobs. Printed onto a laminated vinyl, it withstands oil and food splashes, is durable enough when customers lean against it and gives a beautiful backdrop to the shop.
The bespoke, hard wearing vinyl flooring, meanwhile features an eye-catching pebble beach to create a unique space at Petrou Brothers in Cambridge.
Printed Space Call 01524 888 808 www.printedspace.com