A fish and chip shop chain in Lancashire has reduced the price of its chips by 50p as the pressure on costs begins to ease.
Seniors, which operates nine shops across the Fylde coast, put its regular chips up to £3.25 from £2.75 four weeks ago as issues with supplies and quality sent the price of potatoes soaring to £25 a bag.
Owner Alastair Horabin pledged to his customers he would reverse the increase as soon as the new potatoes came in and prices dropped. With the first earlies arriving this week, that promise has been honoured today.
Customers were thanked for sticking by the business during the price hike with a post on social media and an offer of a free donut for anyone coming into store today and ordering its Cheapy Tuesday meal – two regular haddock, one large chips and two large sides for £12.
Alastair comments: “We are not paying the top end price anymore for our potatoes. I feel like we pulled the chord as strong as we could to get us through but now our loyal customers are ready for the price to go back.
“The price was always going to come back, although, in my mind, I had envisaged the rise would be in place for about six weeks. But we’ve brought it forward by about two weeks as I feel many of our customers are feeling the pinch.
“Potatoes are still very expensive, but I feel we have got to look at the bigger picture and make sure people feel like they are winning.”
Alastair knew adding 50p to the price of a portion of chips was not going to be popular, but felt it was the only choice he had.
He adds: “The reality of paying £25 a sack was that we needed to do something, we couldn’t just swallow it. I didn’t want to be that price, but the cost of a portion of chips was £1 without even taking into account the packaging. With VAT and everything else, if we didn’t do something we’d be making less than 50% profit on what is our underlying profit maker.
“The reality was that I needed my customers to help me have a sustainable business. And all I can say is that I’m blessed with the most loyal, amazing customers. They have got us through the worst time we’ve had in our business’s lifetime.”
Alastair sent a personal e-mail to all 35,000 customers on his marketing database detailing the price drop and announced the news on social media, where customers were quick to heap praise on the business for keeping its word.
The roll back comes as Alastair believes the industry may have reached the peak of the price rises.
He adds: “I don’t see where the next price rise in fish and chips is coming from because fish is stable, oil is coming down and labour is baked in now so there shouldn’t be any new shocks there. I can’t see the confidence for a fish and chippers to put prices up anymore.”