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Canvassing for customers 

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Cods Scallops

With the twice-a-week regulars increasingly becoming twice-a-month, The Cod’s Scallops is doing everything it can to attract new customers, as owner John Molnar explains

Business for us has been plateauing for about four to six weeks now and although we have had an uplift because this is our busiest quarter, it’s not gone up to where it was last year. So we’ve started doing what we can to encourage new customers to try us. 

One of them is weekly recipes, which Liz our marketing manager films on her phone. It doesn’t cost us anything, just a bit of time in the morning, and it’s not necessarily to showcase stuff off our menu. If you think about it, McDonald’s is on every bus shelter and it is doing that as a reminder so they stick in your head. If we can get some momentum with these videos then great. And actually, we already are, some have had 700-800 views. 

One we did recently was a smoked mackerel mac and cheese which cost £4 and fed eight people. Afterwards, I had a lady get in touch who said she has three kids, money is tight, the kids loved it because it was pasta with a little bit of fish in it, and it fed all of them and they still had leftovers, thank you very much. Hopefully, when people like that have fish and chips, we are on their radar because they’ve cooked our recipe on a Friday.

Something else we’ve done is at our new shop in West Bridgford which is next to a Pure Gym. We approached the manager and asked if we could showcase the fact we do salads and baked fish. He let us have a little table where we did some seared salmon with a little Asian salad, which is on our menu at the moment, and we handed out about 100 little pots. Every single person said, I never knew you did baked fish! I guess if you’re going to the gym five days a week, you’re less likely to think about coming to us. 

We’ve been back since and done a little prawn salad to show people we’re not just fish and chips, and that’s had a really positive response. 

We’re also approaching larger companies with 60, 70, 80 employees and promoting the fact that we can cater for big orders if they want to treat the team to a chippy tea or lunch. 

We’ve written a letter with a £50 voucher and a few takeaway menus and we’re going to hand deliver them with something staff can eat straight away, like our homemade brownie. We’re offering a 20% discount on bulk orders – I know margins are tight but if we can get a bulk order for £250-£300, well that’s one drop of 40-50 portions, it’s guaranteed and, hopefully, it becomes a regular thing. It’s all about being on these guys’ radars. 

We’ve also teamed up with a few big local companies and we are now listed as a company perk, meaning all their staff get a 10% discount on their takeaway.

Shops have got to do everything they can to market themselves. We’re seeing the twice-a-week takeaway people become every fortnight and I think eventually it’s going to be once-a-month. But these people are still working on our doorstep so it’s targeting them but in a different way while also attracting new customers too.

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