Uncovering the secret ingredient to Porto Fish and Chips’ success
Every special dish has a secret ingredient. For many, it’s a unique blend of herbs and spices or a complex cooking method that has been passed down over the ages. However, for Porto Fish and Chips, it’s family.
The story of Porto Fish and Chips starts in 1970 when Wendy’s grandfather, Francisco Gonçalves Filipe, left his home in Madeira in search of a better life in South Africa. He arrived in the small town of Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal with the dream of opening his very own fish and chips business. Shortly after, he opened Porto Fish and Chips and began serving up the freshest fish and chips in the area. The shop quickly became the town favourite with people travelling from around the province to get a taste of their delicious takeaways.
Now, three generations later, Wendy and her family continue to run the family business and have even begun bottling the family’s famed peri-peri sauce. “The decision to bottle our peri-peri is something that my father had always wanted to do,” Wendy says. “So this is our way to honour him and to share what he created with the rest of South Africa.” The sauce is made from only natural ingredients sourced locally and doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives or emulsifiers. Driven by the desire to share their family’s food with South Africa, Porto Fish and Chips has become one of the most loved takeaway shops in the province. Here’s how they did it:
1. Quality above all else
It is so important to never compromise on the quality of your ingredients. Even when it becomes difficult and prices have escalated, maintaining that quality is what keeps your customers coming back and develops customer trust.
2. Treat people with respect
People remember how you make them feel. If you can create a sense of home in your business, it will make people feel a part of the story.
3. Do not fix what is not broken
With technology getting so advanced, it is important to not lose what made the business work in the beginning. We faced this challenge when designing the logo for our peri-peri sauce. We initially tried to go modern but nothing was working, so in the end, we used the same logo that was hand-drawn 50 years ago by Frans, one of the owners. He drew it in a few minutes without fuss and it’s been Porto’s logo to this day.
4. Focus on yourself
Do not be intimidated by competitors or new products coming into the market. My dad always said that there is plenty of room under the sun for everyone and that is so so true, if you focus on your business, believe in your product and work hard, then there will be room for you.
5. Take care of your employees
Your employees are the heart of your business, especially in the food industry. We would not be able to do what we do without them. They have carried this business in the good and bad times, and together we make it work.
Today, Wendy sells the beautifully bottled sauce at the Stellenbosch Slow Market and makes use of Stor-Age’s secure and affordable self storage units to safely store her stock. By continuing her grandfather’s legacy, Wendy and her family have not only kept their heritage alive but united South Africans far and wide. To find out more about Porto Fish and Chips and their delicious peri-peri sauce, visit their website or read our feature on their heartwarming business journey.
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