Fish Dish shut until 'further notice' after staff shortages

Felixstowe's Fish Dish has been forced to close its doors. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Felixstowe's Fish Dish has been forced to close its doors. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The owner of a popular Felixstowe fish and chip takeaway and restaurant has closed his business until "further notice" following staff shortages.

Fish Dish Fish and Chips on Undercliff Road has previously been rated as one of the UK’s top fish and chip restaurants, and owner Alper Tekin said maintaining quality was key, which was another factor in their decision. 

“Our popularity has gone up every year, and this year, we’ve been busier than ever before. But we didn’t have enough staff to keep the quality,” explained Mr Tekin, who runs the business with his partner, Sarka Hessova. 

“We have to keep our standards high," he explained.

Pictured: owner Alper Tekin and his partner, Sarka Hessova.

The restaurant was named by Fry Magazine as one of their UK top ten fish and chip outlets in 2017. Pictured: owner Alper Tekin and his partner, Sarka Hessova. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“I could have carried on, but I wouldn’t have been able to keep the same quality. If I was just selling frozen stuff, I couldn’t call it Fish Dish.” 

He said that Britain’s departure from the European Union has made it difficult for him to source staff, particularly chefs. 

“Since Brexit, I haven’t had one chef apply for the job. Not a single chef,” he said.  

He said he had applied to the government for a sponsorship license to bring workers from overseas, but it had been rejected. 

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“We applied in January, we were still waiting [for a response], and then lots of people left. Then there were people with Covid and quite a few left, and then we couldn’t replace them.” 

He said his business is not alone in these difficulties, but there is “no quick solution.” 

He said: “I’ve been in this business for 27 years, and every shop owner I know, they are struggling. 

“They don’t just need one member of staff, they need at least three or four."

He said the stress of this, and the cost-of-living crisis, was affecting the mental health of many business owners.

“They have a small business, but they can’t run it. 

“I think quite a few people are having to shut, some of them with financial reasons are we are seeing the costs of everything going up. 

“And then some like me, if we can’t keep up our standards, then we have to shut.” 

Mr Tekin is hopeful that the restaurant will be able to reopen, when he has been able to find new members of staff. 

“We just need to take a break for a couple of months.”