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Let’s do lunch

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Fish and chips lunch

Is it time to give your lunchtime trade a reboot? We offer some simple tips

KFC launched two new TV adverts last month with the tagline “lunch with no finger-lickin’ required”. It’s an excellent concept designed to overcome the perception that consumers don’t think of KFC as a workplace-appropriate lunch option. 

Both ads feature people working at jobs that rely heavily on fingers, who can now take a break for lunch and enjoy a chicken wrap before resuming their work.

It really hits the mark and is a great prompt for the fish and chip trade to make more of its lunchtime trade again. For a lot of shops, lunchtime trade dipped after Covid, with many operators deciding to close during the day, but maybe now it’s time to take another look at the lunchtime market. Ask yourself, could you re-open and does your menu need a refresh to appeal to lunchtime customers?

As with KFC, a lot of takeaway customers don’t see fish and chips as a viable lunchtime option, so consider adding smaller portions, light bites or healthier choices, as well as convenient grab-and-go items, such as wraps, tacos, burgers and goujons.

Why not add a side and a drink to create a lunchtime-specific deal to attract customers during this short window? This could include discounted combo meals, lunchtime-only specials, or limited-time offers. 

Introducing a loyalty program to encourage repeat business at lunchtime, making it easy for customers to order online for delivery or click and collect, and partnering with local businesses or offices and offering catering or group discounts for lunch orders could also help increase uptake. 

Ultimately, focus on providing quick and efficient service during lunch hours to accommodate customers with limited time, and maintain consistent quality in your food and service. 

Interestingly, I was talking with Sophie Angell, co-owner of Angell’s Fisheries in Newark this month and she mentioned their “Brilliant Box Meals”. These include items such as cod, haddock, pie or sausage, alongside a portion of chips and a side, but instead of going smaller, this is a slightly bigger portion than their lunchtime deals. The reason is that they get a lot of older customers who like to eat their main meal at lunchtime. So size does matter, as does knowing your customer base. 

And finally, don’t let your customers guess if you’re open. I read a report recently that said one of the top frustrations among diners currently is the struggle to find quality eateries open early in the week. Many restaurants and takeaways have scaled back their hours due to the cost-of-living crisis, leaving hungry customers searching in vain.

If you are open for business, let customers know. Take to social media and announce your hours and ensure it is obvious from the pavement with signs or strategic lighting.

In a sea of closures and limited hours, being open and ready to serve sets you apart. 

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