A Yorkshire chippy that famously offers a Mandarin menu to entice Chinese tourists is opening its first branch in China.
Scott's in Bilborough have agreed to franchise their brand in the city of Chengdu. The restaurant's logos and menus will be used at the new site in an upmarket shopping mall in Sichuan province.
Owner Tony Webster had already made an effort to appeal to the Chinese market by offering Cantonese and Mandarin menus for tourists visiting York's historic sights.
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Back in 2018, Mr Webster reported a 15-fold increase in Chinese visitors to his chippy on the A64 - which he attributed to footage of the country's president Xi Jinping sharing a plate of fish and chips with then-prime minister David Cameron in 2015.
Coachloads of tourists from China now arrive regularly at Scott's - with as many as 100 diners a week choosing to eat there.
Mr Webster was approached by a Hong Kong-based consortium of restaurant entrepreneurs looking to launch an authentic British takeaway brand after they saw last year's media coverage.
“They had seen the coverage we got after we printed the menus. York has quite a good tourism budget, and the city gets a lot of Chinese visitors. We were capitalising on that and we’re continuing to do so.
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“We’ve been very specific about our marketing. We promote Scott’s in China on social media platforms Weibo and Wechat and tourists now make up a significant proportion of our trade. We’ve had more locals in too.”
“People tell me how famous we are in China. It’s extraordinary. It’s an exciting prospect and I couldn’t have imagined it happening 12 months ago.”
The sauces and accompaniments will be tailored to local tastes, with hot Sichuan pepper and chilli powder replacing tartare sauce and ketchup.
Mr Webster uses sustainable, MSC-certified Icelandic cod at his Yorkshire restaurant. The same fish is exported to China. It’s frozen at sea within an hour of being caught.
If successful, the franchise could be expanded across China.