Onwards and upwards for Naturally Inspiring Lorraine and Henry
I remember hearing about a takeover of the popular Pier Point restaurant slap bang in the middle of Torquay seafront and thinking to myself ‘best of luck with that!’
Lorraine Arnold, who had made a huge success of her Paignton Pier Chippy Co. In just a couple of years, was bringing her business and brand to Pier Point.
Not only was Pier Point well-established in its own right and not exactly renowned for fish and chips, but this was just as the first bout of the pandemic was about to hit us.
But Lorraine has done more much more than surviving in such challenging times, she and business partner Henry Moreton are actually expanding and investing a further seven-figure sum on the property now having secured planning consent
Central to that are the eye-catching plans for pier point which were given the go-ahead by Torbay planners only last week. They will see another level being built on top of the current building which will not only increase ‘covers’ but it will also provide a terrace with some of the best views in the entire English Riviera.
It is another massive vote of confidence in the bay at such difficult times.
“We just love the bay,” says Lorraine, who has had a rather colourful career to say the least.
She made her name as an actress appearing in Coronation Street and EastEnders as well as Solider Soldier, Boon and Making Out. She has also several West End theatre shows to her credit and has also appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe, with her own show.
She had been running a bar in Greece before returning home and opening her now award-winning chippy on the pier.
Henry is no newcomer to the business scene in the bay. He has already spent several million pounds on the acquisition and refurbishment to his other ‘baby’ - Paignton Pier.
An undisclosed seven-figure sum was paid for the remaining 27 years of a 35 years lease at Pier Point which now comprises four businesses in one – an ice cream kiosk, fish and chips takeaway, bar and restaurant. Lorraine and Henry have also taken over the Candy Bar just along the prom, opposite Abbey Sands.
Lorraine says: “it has not been easy opening four brand new businesses in the middle of Covid notwithstanding bringing in a brand new team to help work alongside the original Pier Point team, as well as maintaining the existing Paignton Pier Chippy business.
“Creating a new team was not easy and we have learned many valuable lessons in the first 10 weeks of opening. We even closed the kitchen down on several occasions because we didn’t get things right.
“However, it is all going from strength to strength even under those circumstances.”
She added: “The secret weapon for us was being able to bring to Torquay what made Paignton Pier Chippy Co. such a success in such a short space of time. Paignton became an award-winning fish and chip shop within its first year, gaining national awards and being named in the top three best newcomer at the national fish and chip awards.”
Lorraine says the business ethos is based on quality ingredients, only using the best potatoes available and the best quality MSC fish.
The vision for the new restaurant builds on this winning formula and Lorraine, along with head chef Steve Brown, and restaurant supervisor Bryony Hunt, and the rest of their team, intend to introduce a fish-based menu with fish sourced locally from day boats, as well as a gluten free menu which she hopes will gain accreditation from coeliac uk, just like its big sister Paignton Pier Chippy Co.
After a trip to Dubai last winter Lorraine and Henry saw table service buttons and knew immediately that’s what they wanted to introduce – customer service is high on Lorraine’s agenda and she would say is the most important part of any business.
In the new building there will be a separate bar area serving signature cocktails, and a distinct separation of the bar from the restaurant, allowing customers to relax with there drink.
“Quality isn’t expensive it’s priceless – that’s our motto,” says lorraine.
“It is all about building a brand – taking Pier Point to the next level in all areas – and bringing our ethos to Torquay. We are passionate about what we do and we always striving for perfection in all areas from the ground up.”
Lorraine and Henry said it was important that they invested in Pier Point, ‘creating an environment which the location deserves.’
She said: “Prior to pressing the button for the new building we do still have a few T’s to cross and I’s to dot but we are hopeful the project will commence as scheduled.”
She paid tribute to local architect Mike Hughes of Narracotts for the ‘patience’ in helping to turn their dream and vision into a reality.
Lorraine and Henry have certainly certainly proved yours truly wrong.
Amid all doom and gloom that is life at the moment, they are like a breath of fresh air. Some would say naturally inspiring.
Going forward, one thing is for sure - they need and deserve all the support we can give them.
* What the new building will look like: see Page 33