Giancarlo Celino, owner of Catch in Glasgow, talks about winning a Fry Award and what he is doing across his three shops to stay top of mind
We like to enter awards so were really pleased when our West End shop won a Fry 10 Best Fish & Chip Restaurants Award earlier this year.
Awards are a great morale booster for the team who work hard day-in, day-out. It’s a big achievement to win an award and it makes the team feel proud to work for us. I’m very particular about the quality of the product that we’re putting out so for me it’s good too to see that recognised in an award.
Awards also help drive sales and improve the financials of the business. When we won the Fry Award, we sent a press release to all the local newspapers and we also sent out a news-shot to our regular customers, and sales escalated almost immediately. I think what you do with an award is as important as actually winning the award itself.
It came at a great time too because we are seeing price increases across the board and, unfortunately, we are having to pass small rises on to our customers. Winning an award helped soften the blow a little bit because at least our customers knew they were still getting a quality product.
As an operator, it’s important right now to think outside the box and adapt. We can deal with all these different blows – VAT, price increases, rising energy costs – we’ve just got to be clever about it while always maintaining quality. With customers watching their money, we need to do things like give a smaller portion or maybe bulk it up with extra sauces to make even more of a meal deal.
For example, we’ve recently changed our two-piece fish supper. Previously, it was two pieces of fish, both about 3.5 ounces each, in a box with chips for £10.50. We’ve had to increase that price to £12.50 so we’ve added in an extra portion of chips and a couple of sauces, renamed it and called it our sharing fish and chips as it is perfect for two people. At the same time, we’ve brought in a smaller piece of fish that we’ve put out at the same price as the old two-piece fish supper. We now have a small, a regular and our sharing fish and chips so that there is something for everyone’s budget and we are still making a good margin.
We’re also sticking with our ‘Two for Tuesdays’, which we offer across all three shops, with customers able to pick two small fish, tempura chicken or sausage and chips for £11. It’s not really to make money, it’s just to keep the footfall going through the shops and keep our name out there so that hopefully, after coming to the shop on a Tuesday night, when customers have their family over at the weekend they think, that was really nice, let’s take the family there and we gain that custom from the whole family.
It’s about being clever and not cutting corners because if you don’t have quality, you won’t have a business.