York chippy to open new branch – in China!

25 Jun 2019 @ 7.58 am
| Business, Food & drink

A chippy that made international headlines last year as a must-visit destination for Chinese tourists could soon be opening in one of the country’s major southern cities.

Tony Webster, the owner of Scotts Fish & Chips, has agreed a deal in principle with a consortium of Chinese businessmen to open in partnership an “authentic” Scotts in Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping was treated to fish and chips by former British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, visiting a chippy is now seen as a must-do for Chinese tourists visiting the country.

Last year, Scotts’ – based on the A64 at Bilborough near York – became the chippy of choice for scores of coach parties passing through Yorkshire.

Incredibly exciting

Scotts Fish and Chips proprietor Tony Webster, left, and Will Zhuang outside the Bilborough branch
Tony teamed up with Chinese national Will Zhuang – who manages Chinese social media for Visit York and Leeds City Region – to help promote his venue to Chinese tour groups in China planning UK visits.

The marketing strategy they devised saw Scotts launch a Chinese website on Weibo, using the Wechat messaging app because Facebook and Twitter are banned in the China, and translate its menu into Mandarin and Cantonese, which can be downloaded on smartphones and tablets via a QR code.

Tony said: “In 2017 we had very few Chinese customers, but thanks to a focused marketing strategy a trickle turned into a flood. Because of this it attracted the attention of the worldwide media.

“The subsequent publicity we received was simply phenomenal and resulted in Scotts becoming a household name both here and abroad.”

He said he was approached by a consortium of Chinese businessmen keen to recreate Scotts in the southern Chinese city of Chengdu, which has a population of 7.5 million people.

  • This is an incredibly exciting prospect – one that I could never have imagined 12 months ago.

    Later this year, if all goes to plan, Chinese tourists could be tucking into fish and chips at Scotts in North Yorkshire, while at the same time western tourists could be enjoying traditional fish and chips in southern China. What a mouth-watering prospect that would be!