Exactly why it started, no one is quite sure. What is clear is that an unsuspecting chip shop in the Midlands can now claim to have “gone viral” thanks to social media site TikTok.
The staff at Binley Mega Chippy in Coventry realized something was up as customers began to show up from across the UK – and beyond – in recent days.
There was the minibus from Dundee, then families from Essex and Portsmouth. Someone flew in from Portugal. Another went straight there after landing from Australia.
Visitors seem to have been drawn to the fast food restaurant by a catchy music video posted to TikTok and has since been viewed more than half a million times.
“I have no idea what happened,” said Kamal Gandhi, the store owner. “Thursday it started to get crowded and I saw people taking pictures in the front. I was like, ‘What are people doing?’ We’re assuming that someone nearby who likes the food made the song and it just went viral.”
The song was just the beginning. It has spawned Binley Mega Chippy remixes and reviews, with a particular focus on the eatery’s £4.99 “Morbius Meal”. This consists of fish and chips, mushy peas and a can of soda.
On Monday morning, people queued in front of the store before it opened and many others, mostly teenagers, posed for photos under the eye-catching red-and-yellow sign.
Ellie and George Foster, aged 16 and 15, traveled from Huthwaite in Nottinghamshire wearing Binley Mega Chippy Mega Fan T-shirts. “We saw it on TikTok. It’s just really random and that’s what makes it funny,” Ellie said. “We made the T-shirts to wear when we came, and they gave us a free bottle of lemonade and pictures.
“Normally I’m not a fish and chip person, but for Binley Mega Chippy I had to have something.”
“Of all the things they wanted to do in half the time, this was at the top of their list,” said the siblings’ mother, Claire. “We could have gone to the coast, but no, they said they wanted to go to Binley Mega Chippy.”
Friends Taylor, 18, Angus, also 18, and Amir, 19, traveled from London to sample some of the chippy’s food. “We were on the phone this morning laughing about the Binley Mega Chippy and one of us just said, ‘Should we go?'” Taylor said. “I think it’s one of those things where it’s so random, it’s funny. They didn’t even make the song themselves and they got so much free publicity.”
The store’s staff were particularly baffled because they don’t use social media to advertise their business. “We don’t do TikTok, we don’t do Twitter,” said Gandhi, who bought the store eight months ago, even though the chip has been there for more than a decade.
“We are not going to complain. We need to order more stuff because if it stays that way, we can’t handle it. We’ll have to see how the week goes… We have to be prepared, we don’t want to run out of food. We need to bring in all the staff.
“I think the novelty will wear off, we know that. But you never know, it could go on all summer.”
He said a customer who arrived Monday told him he had flown in from Sydney, Australia, and jumped straight into a rental car to get to Binley Mega Chippy. “We’ve had people from Portsmouth, Essex, Dundee. Sunday we were closed and there were still loads of people outside taking pictures. There were 30 cars outside,” he said.
“It’s all the young people. Most people just want to try the fries and curry sauce. But we just want to keep all our customers happy, on a regular basis.”
“One of my friends who lives in Surrey said she really wanted to come, so I said I’d come and get a picture for her,” said 11-year-old Olivia Taylor, who was visiting her. stepsister, Gracie Charlton, from Hatton near Warwick. “The song is everywhere – it’s crazy.”
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. They’re all just obsessed with TikTok,” said mother Rachel Charlton. “Yesterday we were in the middle of deepest, darkest Wales on a mountain for a mountain bike race and we could hear people talking about it. So we just had to come.”