David and Nick Miller share a last few words of wisdom before handing over their title of Fish & Chip Shop of the Year to the next worthy winner in just a few days time
You never stop learning in this industry. As this incredible year as the UK’s fish and chip shop champs draws to a close and we prepare to hand over the trophy, we wanted to share some of the things we’ve learned over the years. No one has a clue what’s going to happen with Brexit and there is a whole raft of challenges our industry must navigate its way through in 2019, so we hope the following advice will be useful.
Watch those portion sizes
The research is there: we are a generous bunch, notoriously so when it comes to portion sizes. The Enjoy Fish & Chips Size Matters Report found a difference of 504% in medium cod prices across the UK and a staggering 697% in a medium chip portion. Given the average price of a meal only varies by 34%, a lot of shops are literally throwing their profits down the drain!
Has your shop got portion control in place? Are your staff trained on the damage excessive portion sizes could do to the business? Invest time into the importance of ensuring everybody knows what average sizes are for all the portions you offer. With the rising price of fish and potatoes, there’s never been a more important time to do so.
Plan in advance
We know how busy it can get and there’s no such thing as a weekend off in our business, but there are loads of opportunities to get involved in wider campaigns such as National Fish and Chip Day, National Seafood Week, Children in Need, Great British Food Fortnight and whatever is happening in your local community. The key tip to making the most out of these is by planning your activity in advance.
By planning it in you can minimise the impact on staffing and ensure that you gain as much benefit as possible from taking part in these initiatives by giving yourself time to contact the local media, display posters in your shop and encouraging your staff to spread the word. The more visible you are to your customers, the more likely they are to pop in and give you those all important sales.
Whether it’s through updating your own website or making sure that your social media feeds are up to date, it’s no longer a choice for successful businesses to be online - it’s a must! For example, a run of bad TripAdvisor reviews can undo many months of hard work and can really impact sales, so make sure you are active on the site, responding to feedback and driving customers to leave you a positive review. More customers than ever make their buying decisions based on what they find online, so make sure that your digital footprint says a lot about you… and that it’s resoundingly positive!
Stay connected with the industry
We have found that, as a team, being really involved with this big family we call an industry has been a huge support over the years, and we have learned so much. We were pleased to give something back this year by attending shows and exhibitions, and through hosting open days at the shop, as these relationships are so important to us as a family and team.
Whether it’s attending training sessions through the NFFF, or simply by reaching out to fellow fish and chip shops in your area, maintaining a dialogue and tapping into the knowledge we can all offer each other can be hugely beneficial. If you are keen to get more involved with the industry and you’re unsure where to start, get in touch with the federation today to find out more.
Standards are the key to success
Before we began our journey to the awards back in 2016 we made a promise as a family to always keep an eye on the quality and standards in our shop and to never lose sight of how we do what we do. It can be really challenging when you’re busy and juggling the many plates you have to spin when running a business, but as long as you maintain your high standards in produce, quality and service you will never go too far wrong.
Finally, enjoy what you do! We work in a terrific industry, which is enhancing its standards and service delivery every day so there is a lot to celebrate. We are so looking forward to heading down to London for the biggest celebration of the year at the National Fish and Chip Awards and look forward to seeing many of you there.
For now, it only remains to thank our industry friends and colleagues for all of your support over the last year, it really means the world.