Expert Eye: John Molnar, owner, The Cod’s Scallops, Nottingham 

Home » Interviews » Expert Eye: John Molnar, owner, The Cod’s Scallops, Nottingham 
Cod's Scallops Team

It might be The Cod’s Scallops’ quietest time in terms of footfall, but it’s still busy behind the scenes, reminding customers they are there

June, July and August is notoriously our quietest quarter so we’ve been working hard to make sure our customers know we are here. I’ve taken on a lady called Liz to do our social media who has made a big difference and, because she’s in the business, it’s a picture of our fish and chips that goes up, it’s not something generic. 

Since Liz has taken over, our followers have gone from 2,000 to 8,500. And what we’ve found is that posts that involve our staff, whether it’s the girls carrying out a plate of food or someone smiling in the morning making boxes up, seem to get more engagement because the customer feels like they are part of the journey. 

Because of the warmer weather, we’ve been doing more posts recently about our ice creams, our grilled fish and our salads. For the past few months, potatoes have been an absolute nightmare on price and quality so we did everything we could to get customers on a salad rather than a portion of chips!

And rather than keep putting up prices, I’ve looked at other changes we can make to stay competitive. Every time I have a new box run, I lower the size by 5mm, which doesn’t sound like a lot and it’s not – it’s probably only three chips less – but over five shops it makes a massive difference. And we also put the sauces inside the box now rather than on the side. It saves a bag, plus about 10 chips. We’ve all eaten a portion and agreed we still feel full afterwards, so it’s still a good portion. I think once a box is full, people don’t question it, they open that box and see a pot of peas, a beautiful bit of cod and a box full of chips.

Cod's Scallops Salad

We’ve also signed up for the Fish in Schools initiative and agreed to store frozen hake here for about 13-14 schools in Nottingham so that they can incorporate lessons on handling, preparing and cooking fish into the curriculum. The schools that are local to us come in and collect the fish while the schools that are further out we’ve agreed to deliver to. We think it’s a great way to engage with local schools and it’s giving thousands of kids an opportunity to cook and eat fish. 

A little while ago we hand-delivered some discount vouchers to local businesses and retirement homes offering 20% off and free delivery on orders over £250. That’s paid off and we now deliver to BMW and a retirement home. Just recently, we did 160 portions of fish and chips and delivered them in two batches 30 minutes apart and it meant by 12.10pm on a Friday lunch we had £800 in the till and we’d had no one come in the shop at that point!

As it’s our quietest time, we’re putting on a picnic in the park to say thank you to our team. We’ve invited partners and children and said we’ll take some sandwiches and sausage rolls along with some bats and balls, so it should be good for morale and for team building.

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