January is a tough time for fish and chip shops, having to ride out of the dieters and the lack of spending, and this year it’s been made worse by the cost of living crisis really beginning to kick in
There is a glimmer of light in that the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show inflation was 10.7% in November, down 11.1% in October. Lower inflation does not necessarily mean prices will go down, but it does mean they stop rising as quickly. The latest prediction by The Bank of England is that inflation will keep slowing in 2023, falling to around 5% by the end of the year.
It means there is still some way to go before consumers have the confidence – and the cash – to return to their old habits. In the meantime, shops have got to do everything they can to keep their businesses in customers’ minds.
My inbox is currently full of special offers from restaurants and takeaways, 25% off this, £10 off that, even KFC has jumped on the January sale bandwagon and is offering 50% off one item a week for five weeks.
Now you may argue that the big chains can afford to do offers like these, which is fair enough, but the question should be, can you afford to do nothing? It doesn’t have to be much, it could be a free side, or a free kid’s sausage and chips with every purchase of an adult’s fish and chips.
Look at days and events coming up that you can PR and run promotions on the back of. British Pie Week, for example, kicks off on March 6th so why not offer a different pie promotion each day, free chips with every pie, or buy one pie get another in the week half price? If you don’t want to discount your offering or give anything away, create a signature pie unique to you and promote that.
Take advantage of competitions and freebies by staying in touch with your suppliers and reading each issue of Fry, not forgetting our website, which is updated daily. Just this month there’s a competition to win a year’s supply of Nutella while Pukka is giving away £1,000 of pies for the next five months. Even if you don’t usually stock these items, you could offer them at a reduced price or even free with a purchase of something else. It costs you nothing, yet the customer thinks you are being generous.
You can get through these next few months, you’ve just got to be seen and heard and that involves getting your shop out there.