The Pelican in Barnstaple, Devon has won two national awards in the 30th anniversary National Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafish.

The shop has been crowned the UK’s best fish and chip restaurant and a leader in promoting Seafood Week during a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London – an event widely regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the fish and chip world.

To secure the top spot for Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year Award, The Pelican had to fry at the top of their game and were appraised by industry experts across a wide variety of criteria including responsible sourcing policies, diversification and innovation, restaurant facilities and appearance, staff training and development practices, and marketing and promotional activity. Industry experts also made unannounced visits to the shop to assess both the front and back-oh-house operations, customer service levels and the quality of the fish and chips on offer.

New to the awards for 2018, The Best Seafood Week Campaign Award was open to all fish and chip establishments that registered their participation in Seafood Week (6–13 October 2017). Coordinated by Seafish, Seafood Week is an annual event that encourages consumers to eat more fish, more often. The Pelican were assessed against a wide variety of judging criteria, focusing strongly on the marketing objectives and promotional tactics of their Seafood Week campaigns, along with their efforts to involve staff and collectively engage with their target markets.

Commenting on their award win after receiving the distinguished trophy from awards host, Nigel Barden, voice of food and drink on BBC Radio 2, Martin James, owner of The Pelican, said: “We’re celebrating 30 years in the fish and chip business this year, and being named the UK’s best fish and chip restaurant and winning the Best Seafood Week Campaign Award has made an already special year even better!

“Since being shortlisted for the Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year Award, everyone at The Pelican has worked extremely hard to get us to where we are now. From being the first shop in North Devon to be MSC certified and gaining our NFFF Quality Award, to expanding our menu, building a strong social media presence and continuing to support our community by sourcing our produce locally, we’ve been very busy.

“We also built on last year’s successful Seafood Week campaign and got our customers involved in shaping our menu. They asked for a range of tastes and textures, and we got people trying fish they would have never usually picked – it was great to see customers being more adventurous and learning about all the fantastic choices that are available.

“I want to thank our team and customers for providing continual support and inspiration.”

Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish, comments: “As Britain’s most loved takeaway since the mid-19th century, the duo of fish and chips is an integral part of our history and is here to stay – especially with the rise of the fish and chip dining.

“With more and more restaurants serving fish and chips opening across the country, the competition to be crowned the best in the UK has never been so competitive. The Pelican has proved that they not only offer an award-winning portion, but also an excellent fish and chip dining experience. They have also demonstrated that they are one of the country’s leading businesses that celebrate all things fish and shellfish, encouraging their local community to eat more fish, more often.

“To win not only one but two awards in a nationwide competition is no easy feat, the team at The Pelican should be incredibly proud of their achievement.”

Award sponsor Adrian Coulter, Head of Innovation & Applications at Kerry Foodservice, said: “All the finalists worked incredibly hard, striving to continually provide a first class fish and chip dining experience. We would like to congratulate The Pelican for being crowned the Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year. They are a deserving winner, upholding excellent standards across all areas of their business.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Seafish in their 30th year of this fantastic competition, which does so much to keep raising the bar for our industry.”

Heather Middleton, Marketing Manager at Seafish, said: “The finalists in this category are raising the bar for innovation and creativity, coming up with unique and ambitious campaign ideas tied into one of the seafood industry’s leading events. The judges were hugely impressed with the quality of entries received, they showcased a range of great ideas from running special menus and bespoke social media campaigns to making sure that educating consumers on seafood was part of their objectives. The Pelican really stood out as a leader in driving a successful, innovative and responsible campaign.”

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