The manager of a fish and chip shop in Beaconsfield said a zero food hygiene rating handed to the business last month was down to ‘paperwork issues’.

Tom, the general manager of Old Town Friar on London End, said a food hygiene rating of zero out of five – necessitating urgent improvement across the board – was issued by the Food Standards Agency following an inspection on April 2 because of issues with record-keeping and documentation.

He said a reinspection had been speedily scheduled and took place on Tuesday, May 7, where an inspector reportedly bumped the chippie back up to a five rating after Tom and his team updated an online bookkeeping system and compensated for a lack of recorded temperature and general checks.

Adding: “We have a good relationship with the hygiene inspector who came in, and she gave us a report on everything we needed to update.

“New rules for labelling things came in recently, every little pot, and you’re meant to keep a record of everything you fry.

“It was literally just a lack of paperwork management.”

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Although Tom said he hadn’t been especially frustrated or impeded by the negative rating, other takeaway owners who were similarly scored because of subpar record-keeping have said the perception that their premises were dangerously unhygienic had hurt business.

Speaking to the Free Press earlier this month, Hakan Kandemir, who runs the Fish and Mangal in Great Missenden, said he was “in shock” when his business received a one-star hygiene rating at the end of last year.

He said the rating was due in large part to “paperwork issues”, and credited “loyal customers” for getting him through the difficult period.

“I had never received a score like that before. But my customers knew that I look after (the shops) well and they kept coming to see me.”

Hilal ‘Harry’ Olgar, who owns Cozy Fish and Chips and Zem Kebab in Hazlemere, had a similar experience at the tail end of 2023, shortly after learning that his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

He said: "I was going through the hardest time of my life, but my customers - some of whom have been coming to me since I started 25 years ago - kept on showing their support and helped me through it.

“Yes, we needed to improve on a few things, but we’ve got back to a five and I’m very happy."