A couple of months ago I visited Hot-Chip in Norwich, a new fast-food concept that takes the nations favourite snack-food (Chips) adds mouth-watering sauces and seasonings to create a tasty meal. I spoke to the co-founder Lord Somerleyton about the challenges of running a fast-food restaurant and what makes Hot Chip successful. Here are some of the key points I learnt from my visit.
To be different doesn’t require invention.
Chips are a simple product, traditionally served with fish in the UK, but where Hot-Chip differentiate themselves and add value is through the atmosphere they create within their store and the variety of different flavours they have to offer. The idea is not original, and stems from chip bars in Belgium and Holland – but the owners have spotted the opportunity to introduce the product to the UK market. The brand is very well presented and adds a premium feel to your average chip shop.
Culture is difficult to change.
I have walked past the same road for the past year and every time I walk past I say that Turkish restaurant looks nice, yet I still haven’t visited the restaurant because I have never had Turkish food? In a similar fashion Lord Somerleyton admitted ‘In the first three months, all we were selling were cheesy chips’. It is difficult to change the culture, why try something new when your happy with what you have? Hot Chip Manage this ignorance by trialing new flavours and adding them to the special boards – having an association with the word special makes people more likely to try. Another way to get people to try new things is by offering samples for customers to try. Hot Chip pay attention to their consumer trends, seeing what flavours work best and should be promoted more, they also give their customers the chance to create and share their recipe’s through social media pages – This spreads the words of their wonderful new tastes.
Always think about the future.
It was clear that Lord Somerleyton was very passionate about Hot Chip and expanding the brand. Speaking of the future he spoke seeking investment for two additional stores aswel as opening a Hot-Chip saloon, to turn the brand into more than a chip shop, but a social experience where customers can come to the saloon, have a drink with friends, and eat their favourite Hot Chip meal.
With a clear vision I see a bright future for Hot Chip , and I certainly will be making a return to my favourite chip shop.
PS: I would recommend The Italian Stallion meal!