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The buzz word

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Don’t lose the buzz of the summer with these simple tips to help attract and retain customers and keep a busy shop

No one seems to have told the weather that the summer holidays are over! Not that we are complaining, who doesn’t love a few extra days in the sun? But with schools back and trade beginning to settle down for many shops, it’s a good opportunity to do some housekeeping, take stock and make any changes for the months ahead. 

Here are a few tips that can help streamline operations and hopefully bring in some additional footfall:

Analyse your menu: Take a really close look at your menu and see what sells and what doesn’t. Keep the high turnover items, of course, but make a decision whether you really need to keep stocking those spring rolls that you only serve a couple of once a week. You’ll be freeing up valuable stock space and making room for the products you sell more of. 

Limited-time offers: Add interest and variation to the menu by offering products or combos for just a week or two. One of the easiest additions is loaded chips as you’ll probably find you have most of what you need and you can charge a decent premium. Develop three of four variations and put one on each week, take some photos to really show them off and promote them on socials, instore and online. Ask customers which one is their favourite to create engagement. This will keep customers coming back as they look out for their favourite.

Promote your loyalty scheme: Lots of shops are saying the weekly chippy treat has become every two weeks or even once a month, so entice customers to return more often with a loyal scheme. After all, selling to your existing customers is both easier and cheaper than trying to attract new ones. Decide on what you are going to give away and how. Customers prefer points these days which they can redeem as and when rather than free food that they have to build up to. If you can encourage every customer to pay you just one extra visit a month, you’ll notice a huge difference across the year. 

Focus on lunchtime trade: Offer a dedicated lunchtime menu with items that are geared up for the middle of the day. Rather than a full portion of fish and chips, promote sausages, nuggets, chicken strips or halloumi with chips and a drink. If you can hit a price point around £4 to £5, you can compete with the likes of Tesco, Boots and Subway. Offering a different product at a discount each day can also work well and customers will get into the habit of looking out for their favourites and making you their lunchtime pit stop on that day of the week. Think of KFC with its £5.99 Chicken Tuesdays and McDonald’s with its Wrap of the Day. 

Encourage reviews: A lot of customers these days will Google a venue before deciding where to eat and base their purchasing decisions on what they find. According to a study by Revoo, part of Feefo, having online reviews increases sales by an average of 18%. So it’s imperative to, first of all, offer great customer service, and secondly, encourage customers to leave a review when they have had a good experience. It’s also important to monitor reviews – but be careful not to get bogged down with them. Simply thank those that left a good review and address any where customers feel you haven’t hit the mark by asking them to get in touch directly to help rectify the situation. 

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