Finnegan’s is a bit of an institution in South Wales: having won awards by the bucket-load, it has the uncommon ability to consistently satisfy customers with its high-quality fish and chips.

In fact, created and run by husband and wife team Huw and Sarah Jones, Finnegan’s, which has three outlets in Bridgend, Porthcawl and Port Talbot, is an multi-award winning business that has set a standard for fish & chip shops throughout the UK.

It all began in August 2001, at a time when Huw Jones was still working in the fruit and vegetable trade. And in this capacity he used to serve an awful lot of fish and chip shops … many of them badly presented and with only an average product offering. Huw thought he could do better. He was right.
Indeed, within two years of the first shop opening, Finnegan’s had won the ‘Best Independent Fish and Chip Shop in Britain 2003’ award! So what’s the secret? Of course, it’s not one thing but a number of different elements, all brought together to provide an eating experience that promotes customer loyalty.
To begin with, Finnegan’s uses only palm oil when frying, which is an important and versatile vegetable oil that is ideal for the cooking process. It’s not only the ‘what’ though; it’s the ‘how’, with Finnegan’s cooking all fish to order as customers enter the shop. Fish is served skinless and boneless too, all fish is sourced from sustainable waters, primarily in Norway, Iceland and the Barents Sea.

Yet that is still not the whole story. Ask yourself how your fish and chips are presented at your local outlet. If it’s anything like mine, they come wrapped in white paper and are then placed in a brown paper bag. At Finnegan’s they are served in a box with a wedge of lemon – for those on the move it’s the nearest they’ll come to having a restaurant experience in the car! Naturally, a lot of customers buy fish and chips and take them home to eat with the family … and sometimes they’re even FREE!

As a reward to regular customers, Finnegan’s now offer a loyalty card, and when the requisite number of ‘stamps’ have been collected, the recipient receives FREE fish and chips. I’ve certainly never heard of this kind of offer from a fish and chip shop before, but it’s certainly welcomed by Finnegan’s ever-growing army of customers. In fact, the loyalty card, cooking process, freshness of the product and presentation have resulted in a chain of shops that have one more thing in common – queues. People snaking around the shop and out of the door are a frequent sight at Finnegan’s, where the delicious fish and chips (as well as pies and sausages) are well worth the wait.

At Finnegan’s, cooking and serving fish and chips is something of an art form, and if you love this perennially popular British meal I’d get down to South Wales as soon as is humanly possible. For those who already live in the area and haven’t as yet visited Finnegan’s, all I can say is get down there and taste the difference!

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