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​Hugh Lipscombe on Episode 134: Legacy, Leadership, and the Future of Fish & Chips

​Hugh Lipscombe on Episode 134: Legacy, Leadership, and the Future of Fish & Chips

Posted by Emily on 4th Mar 2023

In this captivating episode, we sit down with Hugh Lipscombe, the Founder and Chairman of The Chesterford Group. Hugh's journey began with the establishment of Fish N Chick'n and has since expanded into a diverse portfolio, including Churchill's Fish & Chips, Bankers Fish & Chips, Serial Grill, and a partnership with Pret a Manger.

Hugh shares fascinating insights about the business and industry landscape he entered in 1971. He reflects on working alongside family members, including his father, Harold Lipscombe, and the dynamics of evolving a business across generations. The discussion delves into strategic decisions such as choosing Icelandic fish over Peterhead cod and the impact of such choices.

With a nod to the past, Hugh fondly remembers his father's influence and how it shapes his current business philosophy. The conversation turns personal as Hugh opens up about the experience of working closely with his son,  James Lipscombe, who progressed from Managing Director to CEO, and the current Managing Director, Paul Goodgame. Hugh discusses the challenges and triumphs of implementing new ideas in an established business and the complexities of stepping back to let the new generation lead, especially during times of disagreement.

Hugh offers his perspective on the industry's biggest challenges, particularly focusing on VAT and its implications. He touches upon pivotal moments like introducing VAT and dealing with illegal business owners. His commentary on the current market dynamics, such as the fluctuating demand and fish prices and the uncertainty around power and energy costs, provides a timely insight into the industry.

Reflecting on his 50-year tenure in the business, Hugh highlights his proudest achievements and the significant challenges the industry has overcome. The discussion explores the key factors that have contributed to the growth of the Chesterford Group and contemplate whether building a business like this would be easier in today's world.

Don't miss this opportunity to gain a unique perspective from a seasoned industry leader. Hugh Lipscombe's journey offers invaluable lessons on family business dynamics, industry evolution, and the art of sustaining a legacy.