Wiltshire Publications

Top quality fish & chips – coming soon to Westbury high street!

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HIGHquality food and uniqueservice and surroundings is the experience offered to customers at a new fish and chip shop in Westbury.

Harlees – a third generation family business –  opens at 5 – 7 High Street on 28th September and owner Richard Long says their slogan, “Fanatical About Fish’ is at the heart of everything they do.

Richard told White Horse News, “My father, with my grandfather, started a company in 1946, so they built up a chain called Longs that lasted 40 years. They built up about 14 shops, so are quite a big, well-known chain within the Poole area.

“I went on by myself and then we started Harlees and that’s  named after my kids – Harry, Kaylee and Edith.”

In 2018 the business moved into its fourth generation, with Kaylee being the newest member to join the board of directors.

The business, which covers locations in Wiltshire and Dorset,  is looking to modernise and further develop the strong foundations laid down by previous generations.

Richard added: “Moving forward we are probably  looking at home deliveries and things like that – it’s something we wouldn’t normally do, but times have changed and we’ve got to adapt.”   

Fanatical about fish 

The nautically-themed and ambiently-lit shops and restaurants only use cod and haddock from sustainable sources, to help secure fish stocks for the future and to ensure environmental kindness and responsibility.

Cod and haddock are fished in the cold waters of the Burren Sea off Galway.

“It’s frozen within five hours of being caught on factory trawlers which have their own processing plants on them, and it keeps the quality absolutely superb,” said Richard.

He also sources products directly from fishermen closer to home. “I go  down to see fishermen at Weymouth – they don’t know what they’re going to bring out of the sea but they might have some really good stuff and I’ll say, ‘wow,  I want that’, and then we can get that nice fresh fish straight out to the shops and put it on the menu board – some nice skate or brill or sea bass – and it’s fresh.”

Richard says what sets Harlees apart from other, nearby takeaways is the customer experience.

“We do things differently,” he says. “We want it to be not just fish and chips, but to be an experience because the very best fish and chips are fresh fish and chips. You cannot beat it straight out of the cooker, on a plate, on a table, piping hot.

“We don’t serve our takeaways in bags so it hasn’t steamed up or anything, so you’re not losing the crispness of the batter. You’ve spent all this time and effort to do this great product, then put it in a bag and it’s gone soggy. We use boxes with  steam holes so the air can circulate.”

“We’ve recently  developed our own batter – it’s unique to us. Everyone’s got their own recipe but even I don’t know the recipe, it’s that secret! 

“It’s a very light crisp batter and our feedback from customers has been so positive so we cook to order.

“We want people to see our logo above the shop and think “Harlees – it’s good, it’s reliable and I know I can go there and know what I’m getting.” 

Online ordering

Due to the Covid-19 climate, Harlees  is currently offering takeaways only,  which can be ordered via their app (search Harlees on the App Store).

“We are concentrating  on the takeaway and getting the click and collect service right,” Richard explained. “We want people to do click and collect because the advantage with that is you can go online to order it, book your timeslot, come in, pay for it by card, and your food will be ready for you to pick up straight away 

“We have been avoiding phone usage purely because it takes us away from doing customer service and the cooking.”

“We all have to move with the times and that’s how we do it,” Richard added. “We want to concentrate on the customers we’ve got and to do that we want to avoid doing phone orders.” 

On the app the business will be advertising promotions and  customers can peruse the regularly updated menu. 

Recognition 

and reputation

Harlees has featured in the national chain category of the National Fish and Chip awards. 

Richard added, “As we continue to grow we would like to give something back to our customers and communities. We want to support the local communities and surrounding areas we find ourselves lucky to be to be a part of.”

When the restaurant opens it will be fully compliant with Covid-19 safety restrictions, with capacity reduced to 14 seats  and all diners being socially distanced.

Richard was inundated with job applications when advertising for staff for the new branch. “We’ve got some staff already for the shop – I can’t believe how many applicants we had, probably in the region of 150 for jobs here,” he says. “I haven’t managed to  reply to them all yet and I’d like to, but I’ve been inundated – it’s been incredible.”

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