Athena’s in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, offers three sizes of chips - 6oz for meal deals, a 10oz regular and a 16oz large. Yet when owner Nick Damurakis carried out random weight checks on the portions his servers were giving out, they varied widely with the largest portion coming in at 22oz.
“I was horrified at the results,” said Nick. “In the current market, you can’t afford to give that much away. I’m paying £12.50 for a bag of Agria at the moment, so that’s some serious money I’m losing when you start thinking in terms of 40 or 50 bags.”
Looking for a solution to the problem, Nick purchased the new small (6oz) and medium (10oz) chip scoops from Hopkins
, which have been designed by shop owners Des Anastasiou and Lesley Graves at Burton Road Chippy in Lincoln.
Nick adds: “It was becoming quite frustrating before because, even though I was showing the staff what a portion was, they just weren’t getting it right. These scoops have been brilliant though. They are very well designed and very accurate. Staff just fill them up to the line and that’s a portion. I’m doing my random checks and the portions are much more accurate. For a regular portion, the most I’ve found staff to be serving is 11oz. An ounce or two I can accept but 22oz I can’t!”
Saving money was not the only reason Nick wanted to tackle portion control, it was also to improve consistency so that every customer gets the same portion size every time. “We’ve had a few comments about the portions sizes not being regular but, because I’m frying, I can’t keep an eye on everything the servers are doing. These scoops idiot-proof that side of things and I can now get on with the frying without worrying what the servers are doing.
“We actually had a guy coming in who used to buy two regular chips, now he buys three. OK, so he might have been a bit upset at first, but we are a business and everything needs to be regulated. I would never cut my fish 7oz too big and give away a 14oz fish as a 7oz.”
Starting at £51 for the small scoop, they are an investment, but Nick says it’s a worthwhile one, adding: “People might see them as expensive compared to a scoop you can get for £7-£8 but they are not a relative product. They don’t regulate portions. These do, and they do it simply and effectively.
“I would really like to see more shops giving these a chance. If shops were more consistent and not so over-generous it would help everyone across the board. People have come to expect a portion of chips to feed a whole family, but that’s just not relevant today where everything is so expensive.”
The chip scoops are made from stainless steel and cost £51 (6oz), £54 (10oz) and £59 (14oz) with £2 from the sale of every scoop donated to The Fishermen's Mission.
Hopkins 0113 257 7934 www.hopkins.biz