Simpsons Fish & Chips in Cheltenham has been named the UK's best fish and chip shop at the 28th annual 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards, from Seafish.
Officially named the Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year, the top prize is considered by many to be the Oscars of the industry, and was awarded during a prestigious ceremony at the Lancaster London hotel on 20 January.
The shop, co-owned by Bonny and James Ritchie, won the title following a rigorous multi-stage judging process over a seven-month period, including mystery shopping visits, in-depth judging audits on all aspects of the shop, including sourcing policies, customer service and the diversity of the menu.
The contest has 14 different award categories, recognising every aspect of running a successful fish and chip business.
Bonny and James Ritchie said they were hoping to expand and progress further, and added: "After coming in second for this award twice over the last few years, we really are over the moon to have finally won - third time lucky! During the last year we've really upped our game; streamlining our marketing activities, expanding the shop to double the size of our restaurant facilities, and launching our own children's book to increase awareness of fish sourcing and species."
Chris Middleton, head of communications and marketing at Seafish, and chair of the judging panel, called Simpsons the modern face of fish and chips in the UK.
He said: "Simpsons were without a doubt ready to be crowned champions - they represent a young, fresh face to the industry, backed up with tremendous experience and skill. They stood out for their robust sourcing policies, passionate work with local communities, innovative approach to branding and marketing, and continual business growth and expansion."
Mel Groundsell, corporate relations director of Seafish, added: "Every year Seafish sees new and more established talent vie for the top title, and the competition gets fiercer and more competitive each time. I wish Simpsons all the best as they begin their journey as the UK's top shop, but also thank them for upholding our high industry standards."
Previous winners of the top award have risen to considerable success, including reports of sales increases of 100%.
Seafood authority Seafish was founded in 1981 and seeks to support the UK industry for a sustainable future. Its Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award is sponsored by companies including the Norwegian Seafood Council, the Responsible Fishing Scheme, Henry Colbeck, Heinz SqueezeMe, and Pukka Pies, while other awards sponsors include Goldensheaf, Drywite, Unique Seafood, the Marine Stewardship Council, the Marine Conservation Society and LoSalt.
Supporters of the awards include the National Federation of Fish Friers, the National Edible Oils Distributors Association and Seafood Scotland.
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