Phillip Murphy began his working life in the wool trade in Bradford. However, the entrepreneurial spirit of his family, who were in the pub trade, had rubbed off on him, and he and wife Janine, whose family were also self-employed, began trading in fish and chips in 1969 in Tadcaster.

The business had belonged to Mr Murphy's uncle and offered him the ideal opportunity to take the plunge and become his own boss.

It was here that Mr Murphy learnt the trade and developed the skills and knowledge that enabled the business to prosper. It was this original experience that enabled him to focus on two guided principles that developed to become the foundation for the ‘whaler experience’. These principles are always using the highest quality haddock, cooked in the crispiest batter with the best available potatoes, and warm friendly service with a smile.

Twenty years later in 1989 the couple bought the original Wetherby Whaler, in Wetherby, where the business is still based.

Ambitious for growth, but a keenness to stick to their Yorkshire roots, saw the couple acquire a business in Pudsey in 1990, before building new restaurants in York in 1996 and Wakefield in 2001. The opportunity then arose to obtain the historic, original Harry Ramsdens restaurant in Guiseley.

Following a £750,000 investment the restaurant was restored to its former glory, maintaining the historic features of the building, including high ceilings, stained glass, oak panelling and crystal chandeliers.

Throughout the growth and expansion the Wetherby Whaler has remained a family business, and Mr Murphy’s two daughters are now an integral part of the day to day running of the organisation ensuring that the future is in good hands.

What job would you like to have other than your own, and why?

"A successful professional sportsman – football, cricket, rugby I’d love to have excelled at one of those."

Greatest achievement?

"My two daughters and six grandchildren; my daughters are now integral to the business and I’m very proud of that."

What makes you most angry?

"Red tape, bureaucracy and officialdom."

Biggest mistake?

"I don’t dwell on my mistakes but learn from them and move on."

What would make life complete?

"The world being a much happier place; there’s too much unhappiness and misery around."

Why do you make a difference?

"Because I learnt the fish and chip and restaurant trade from the ground up so can empathise with staff at all levels."


"He came, he saw, he battered."