Get your cabinets stocked and your promotional material on point for British Pie Week, which kicks off on Monday 6th March
Pies are a firm favourite on any fish and chip shop menu and with the current cost of living crisis pushing people towards them even more, they look set to retain that position for many years to come.
Offering a hearty meal when paired with chips and gravy, the top sellers for most shops still tend to be steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom, and minced beef and onion. However, the growing trend towards plant-based diets is seeing a rise in sales of vegan and vegetarian pies and not having at least one or two options on your menu this British Pie Week could mean missing out on important sales.
Thankfully, there is plenty of choice. Holland’s, for example, offers a Cheese & Onion pie that is Vegetarian Society-approved and also microwaveable – ideal if you don’t sell many or if you sell out and need one in a hurry – while Pukka has Vegan Minced Steak & Onion and Vegan Chicken & Mushroom, perfect meat-free alternatives.
The best way to heat a pie is via an oven or a pie heater so, unless you are buying one specifically made for microwaving, stay well away from the microwave or you’ll have soggy pastry.
Serving perfect pies means not damaging them, ensuring thorough heating and avoiding contact between the pies and other products. The advice from Pukka is to heat each pie individually the right way up and not to stack them on top of each other or heat them upside down or you could very easily disappoint customers.
Getting pies nice and hot is key for customers’ enjoyment and safety, and it is good practice to initially heat a pie to a core temperature of 75°C. Pukka points out that in Scotland, however, it is a legal requirement to heat pies to a minimum core temperature of 82°C. Once heated, it says the heater/oven can be turned down a bit but pies should always be kept at a minimum core temperature of 65°C ready to be sold.
To help encourage sales, Holland’s Pies believes traditional shopper marketing applies to the chippy market just as much as it does to the supermarket aisle. According to the northwest pie maker, these last-minute appeals to influence either just prior to or exactly at the point of consideration are vitally important and include communication such as A-Boards outside, or information on the walls or menus. “It’s important to remember that our brain processes visual cues faster than the written word,” advises Leanne Holcroft, brand manager at Holland’s Pies.
Don’t underestimate the smell of a pie either, says Leanne, who believes it is comforting and will start building desire for the product. And remember, it is when people are physically hungry that they are at their weakest with willpower so upselling is key. “Never forget to upsell and ask customers if they want peas, gravy, and any other tasty extras with their pies,” she adds.
Finally, it is important to note that a pie that has been heated and not sold should never be reheated and sold later. Instead, these should be disposed of.
If you do have any leftover pies at the end of a night, why not bundle them up with chips and any other unsold food and list it through a waste reduction website such as Too Good To Go. It’s a great way to cut down waste and make a small bit of profit at the same time. Who knows, you may even attract new customers to your business.
Holland’s Pies www.hollandspies.co.uk/trade
Pukka Pies www.pukkapies.com
Too Good To Go www.toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb/business
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