Norwich’s Hot Chip looks to open at two more sites
The entrepreneurs behind a very British fast food restaurant launched in Norwich have unveiled ambitious plans to turn their concept into a national brand.
Lord Somerleyton and his business partner Toby Marchant opened Hot Chip in Red Lion Street in June 2013.
Within a year it won the accolade of best chip shop in Norfolk at the National Chip Week awards.
Now they are seeking £250,000 of investment, either from a regional entrepreneur or through a crowd-funding platform, to embark on the second phase of developing their simple idea of a menu based on Norfolk potato chips fried in Norfolk rapeseed oil.
Their plan is to open a further two sites, including a possible second one in Norwich called Hot Chip Saloon – a contemporary bar serving their menu late into the evening – as a stepping stone to national growth.
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Lord Somerleyton said: 'Before we can appeal to venture capitalists who will be able to support us in turning Hot Chip into a national brand we know we need to have between three and five successfully trading shops.'
In addition to opening a new shop and their first Hot Chip Saloon, the pair hope the £250,000 of investment will also cover the cost of a Hot Chip van.
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The partners are eyeing possible new sites in Cambridge, Peterborough, Ipswich and seaside towns such as Great Yarmouth.
Hot Chip is working with a team based in Bury St Edmunds who help small companies navigate the crowd-funding process to ensure best chances of success.
The process involves putting forward a mix of detailed business plans and an advertising film to online investors.
Lord Somerleyton said: 'There are two benefits to crowd-funding, raising the money, but importantly also exposing the brand to a range of investors, from Hot Chip fans who may just invest £100 to serious investors with expertise in our sector.'
His idea for Hot Chip came from visiting Yarmouth's chip stalls and seeing the incredible success of chips as a meal in themselves on the continent.
Serious research started in 2011 by which time he was based in the region and inspired by the potatoes being grown on the Somerleyton estate.
He said: 'We went around 30 to 40 fish and chip shops in East Anglia and found as much as 50% of their sales were in portions of chips.'
Following the opening of Hot Chip they had reached their sustainable trading level – £4,000 a week – within six months and now peak at £5,000 at busy times.
While simple chips and cheesy chips had initially been most popular, customers are increasingly trying more adventurous toppings and sauces, such New Yorker, hot salt beef, gherkin relish, with melting Swiss cheese and mustard mayo.
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