Coming just one week before the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, this year’s National Fish & Chip Day will be one to remember, says Lynda Simmons, secretary for event organiser NEODA
In light of the challenges the industry is facing, how important is National Fish & Chip Day this year to the trade?
It is really important this year more than ever and, let’s face it, everybody needs a feel-good day! Covid hit the industry hard but it was resilient, it adapted and it has bounced back with a bang. Unfortunately, price increases are impacting everybody and we want to give shops a well-deserved boost with this much-loved day. It’s good to have an awareness day to promote ‘brand fish and chips’ – it has always been a day to celebrate the entire sector and the valued part they play in their communities, and this year is no different
It’s the week before the Platinum Jubilee, what’s the thinking there?
It was either going to be before or after the Jubilee and NEODA figured that National Fish & Chip Day would get everybody warmed up for the Jubilee and that the shops can benefit from decorating for both events. And what a great way to celebrate this special occasion with the nation’s iconic dish. We also took on board the feedback from shops to try and avoid the half term.
With the current pressure on prices, where would you recommend shops concentrate their efforts this year?
We have never encouraged shops to offer discounts on the day, we know how important it is for them to protect their margins. The intention, and we stress this year-on-year, is that shops can do as little as putting up a few balloons (if you choose red, white and blue they will work for the Jubilee too) and maybe run a small raffle prize in the build-up to the day. Lots of shops do nothing but still have a successful day because of the PR generated around the day. With a few small ideas and a lot of enthusiasm you can create a real buzz. We also offer posters for the shops to display and great value branded (and more importantly undated) merchandise for shops to use to promote the day without discounting.
What sort of results have you seen from past campaigns?
Lots of shops have reported that National Fish & Chip Day is their most successful trading day of the year, even superseding Good Friday! We are always bowled over by the way some shops embrace the day. We love it when they just ‘get it’ and know that the purpose of the day is to celebrate the nation’s favourite dish and, just in case anyone has forgotten about fish and chips, re-ignite their love of it. This has the knock-on effect of driving footfall to shops long after the actual day. In terms of reach, more than half the population would have seen, heard or read about National Fish & Chip Day and it was featured on or in national and regional TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and across the internet from dawn until late in the day – trending on Twitter from 8am.
What have you found in the past really works to help encourage footfall?
The PR generates some really good interest and interaction and consumers often find themselves thinking about fish and chips long after the day has passed and then revisiting the shops or restaurants for more. Our campaign toolkit (at www.neoda.org.uk/national-fish-and-chip-day) for shops includes lots of advice on how to get the most from the day including a press release template that we encourage shops to issue to their local newspapers. Many shops deliver fish and chips to nearby radio stations too – a great way to get a shout out on local and regional radio!
Social media is a great tool for raising awareness of the day, what tips would you offer shops?
There’s a full guide to getting the most from social media in our campaign toolkit. Social media is such an excellent (and free) resource for shops to use. Most shops already have a large and loyal following, so getting that audience engaged with some fun posts and competitions works very well. Using the event hashtag #nationalfishandchipday will help drive traffic to your socials too. The National Fish & Chip Day team love sharing shop posts too, so make sure you tag us in!
How is NEODA supporting shops this year?
National Fish & Chip Day embraces all formats of the dish and we try to encompass everyone involved in creating this iconic British dish from fish and chip shops, suppliers, retailers to the fishermen and farmers who provide the sustainable and natural ingredients needed to create this nutritionally-balanced family favourite. As well as providing the PR to promote the day and hoping to put on various roadshows, we will again be offering prizes, discounted merchandise and a comprehensive toolkit to help celebrate the day. NEODA members’ sales teams will also be doing everything they can to get out to see shops and issue posters.
Where would you like to see the day get to in future?
In six years it has grown exponentially and we are looking for this to continue. We have opened up the day to external sponsorship this year and we are hoping that this will encourage further growth, enabling us to put on a greater show and get brand fish and chips out there even more. We would love to see those shops who haven’t already embraced the day getting involved. Now they can see that it doesn’t have to cost them anything and that with just a little imagination you can generate enormous results for your shop, not just on the day, but in the weeks and months afterwards, we can’t wait to see what they plan for 2022.
Something that often gets called for is a national advertising campaign. Can you see that ever coming to fruition?
We would love to get a national advertising campaign but, unfortunately, our budget doesn’t allow it. However, if the industry could set up a central fundraising pot, contributed to by the fish and chip shops, it could be utilised to pay for a national ad campaign.