Rock and Sole Plaice set to expand

By Lauren Houghton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The current Rock and Sole Plaice site sits on Endell Street in London’s Covent Garden, and first opened in 1871
The current Rock and Sole Plaice site sits on Endell Street in London’s Covent Garden, and first opened in 1871

Related tags: Fish and chips

Covent Garden’s Rock and Sole Plaice fish and chip shop, which claims to be London’s oldest, is set to expand and aims to open four new casual dining sites in the next five years, alongside smaller takeaways. 

The company has plans for its second London site, which is as yet unrevealed, though the owners intend to make a deal for the site in the next couple of months. The business is run by brothers and co-managing directors, Ahmet and Ali Ziyaeddin, who intend to branch out into the casual dining sector with their new plans.

The current Rock and Sole Plaice site sits on Endell Street in London’s Covent Garden, and first opened in 1871. It operates as a restaurant as well as a takeaway, serving classic battered cod and chips alongside specials which include haddock, halibut, rock, sole and plaice. The new expansion plans will take the business into slightly different territory, and acquired sites will follow two different models.

Two new models

The owners of Rock and Sole Plaice worked with James Bulmer and BGB Capital Partners to execute the company’s expansion and partner with potential investors. This has led to the finalisation of a deal which will see a number of new fish and chip shop sites open in London in the coming years.

The news sites will operate under two different models; the Rock & Sole Plaice Kitchen and the RSP express. The Rock & Sole Plaice Kitchen will be a casual dining concept which will sit 60 to 80 people, while the RSP express will focus on takeaway and be located in transport areas and city locations that have high amounts of footfall. The new sites will also contain bars with craft beers, both bottled and on tap.

The aim is to open four Rock & Sole Plaice Kitchens in the next five years. The owners intend to carry over the values from their first site though, and will strive for ‘authentic’ fish and chips with the new venues.

“We try to be authentic,” explained Ahmed Ziyaeddin. “We are British through the products we have, even our décor and bottled beers. We offer the highest quality of fish and chips and believe that there is a real gap in the market for casual dining, serving the best, authentic fish and chips. We want to provide a very high level of service for the same price as other casual chains.”

Celebrating London

At the moment the company plans to keep the Rock and Sole Plaice concept in the capital, as the business has always been about ‘celebrating’ London and its heritage. However the owners are open to moving elsewhere in the UK if good opportunities become available, and are considering sites in both Manchester and Birmingham.

Ali Ziyaeddin said: “We have identified our second site and are looking at many different locations forthe further expansion where you can find accessible premium brands. We have identified sites in highfootfall places like Soho, Southbank or areas of the City. I also like London Bridge and St Pancras station. They are both more than just stations, and the areas are going through major changes and could re-shape London.”

Though other fish and chip concepts have started expanding in the capital, Ahmed Ziyaeddin said: “We are better placed to expand, being the original fish and chip restaurant in London and having already the infrastructure of a centralised kitchen in place. Our passion for the product, coupled with its heritage means that we will be able to grow throughout the good and the bad times.”

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