5 ways to modernise your traditional fish and chip shop

Here in Britain, we are renowned for our traditional cuisine, from Sunday roasts and bangers and mash to full English fry ups and, of course, fish and chips.

However, whilst these dishes remain traditional, they must up their game and modernise the ways in which they serve food in order to keep their “plaice” within the food industry.

Currently, there are an estimated 10,500 fish and chips shops in the UK and almost a whopping 2 million #fishandchips posts on Instagram, proving just how popular the traditional British cuisine really is.

In 2019 almost one in five Brits stated that they visited their local chippy once a week, with a staggering £1.2 billion spent annually, demonstrating its demand with British consumers.

More recently, almost one in five people ordered fish and chips the night before all UK lockdown restrictions came to an end and after more than 18 months of uncertainty, consumers continue to seek consistency and familiarity. Marking the date with a meal that is nothing short of satisfactory - this is exactly what they get when they head down to their local fish and chip shop.

Daniel Reid, chief marketing officer of digital food safety consultancy Navitas Safety claims that competition will nonetheless remain high and therefore fish and chip shops must modernise.

Evolve with edible trends

Trends such as veganism and vegetarianism are on the rise in the UK, with 3.1 million people following a vegetarian diet, 2.5 million people considering themselves to be pescatarian and 1.5 million vegans.

“Fish and chip shop owners must include meat-free and trendier offerings, which is why it is so imperative for businesses to expand their services,” said Dan.

“Playing on the regional delicacies for tourists to try out. Whether it’s a Scottish battered Mars bar, or a Southern pea fritter, offering something unique on the menu can help you stand out from the crowd, especially at a competitive seaside town.”

“The same goes for allergens, and alternatives for those with the likes of dairy, gluten and wheat intolerances should be provided.”

A great example of this is award-winning fish and chip shop The Cod’s Scallops, with restaurants situated across the midlands, it offers’Veggie Monday’s’ and ‘Gluten Free Tuesday’s’.

Create Insta-worthy eating out

With social media savvy customers coming through the doors, fish and chips shop managers must implement a positive marketing culture.

“From using humour such as fish puns on menus, right through to developing an appealing presence for your premises - for instance using neon signs and adopting takeaway packaging that stands out, can attract consumers to take photos and share them to social media - enhancing your reach online.

Making the experience more memorable along with your brand name and visuals makes your business more recognisable. New generations of consumers want to see you and look for authenticity so add some personality to your brand - and on your social media profiles!

Enhancing this with a 5-star safety rating that is effectively communicated to customers via your website, and social channels can also reassure potential consumers of the high levels of food hygiene and safety that they can expect upon their visit.

Appealing to the conscious consumer

Consumers are no longer only after a satisfactory meal, but one that is environmentally friendly, whilst maintaining high levels of food hygiene and safety standards.

Sustainability is something that has been on people’s minds a lot recently. But even more so since the beginning of the pandemic, with 60% of people reporting that they have been making more ethical and eco-friendly purchasing decisions ever since.

Both consumers and business owners alike are becoming more apprehensive about not just what they eat, but the way in which the food is produced. Or in the case of a fish and chip shop, how a fish is caught.

Daniel explains that sustainability can be implemented in various ways. He said: “Consumers are keen to learn about where the food they are eating is from, and the impact that can have on the planet.”

“So fish and chip shop owners should try to source their food, and in particular, their fish, from local fish markets and suppliers and where possible, organic and ASC-certified suppliers.”

“Food and packaging waste is also a massive contributor, so the provisions of recycling bins on the premises should be considered as well as understanding the ways in which food waste can be effectively managed.”

“Partnering with other businesses can also assist this, think about how potato peelings can be purposed into compost and how correctly disposed of fryer oils can be used as animal feeds, commercial products such as paint or repurposed into biofuels.”

Improving e-fish-iency: digital technology in your kitchen

For many busy fish and chip shop owners, improving efficiency is at the top of their priority list. Daniel believes that introducing modern technology can be a key ally to save time and manual effort, allowing fish and chip shop owners to focus on what truly matters to them.

He said: “What better way to modernise traditional cuisine than with advanced technology? From automatic fridge and freezer temperature recording pods, through digital food probes which monitor food temperatures and use by dates, there’s a lot to gain in terms of efficiency.”

“From a recent poll we conducted among Fish and Chip shop owners, 37% of votes mentioned that getting staff to do safety tasks correctly was their biggest food safety challenge. That’s where digital cleaning schedules and opening/closing checklists can help. This ensures that staff complete their safety tasks correctly and easily, whilst preventing anything from slipping through the net.

It is proven that with the right digital safety set up your business can save 20+ hours per month in manual work by having everything centralised mand automated.

Introducing hybrid services

Lockdown restrictions may be no more, however consumers are still as keen to be surrounded by a safe and secure environment, and businesses are expected to provide such a thing.

“Allowing consumers the opportunity to mitigate risk of infection even further by providing a pre-payment and collection hybrid-alternative, will reduce queue times and busy periods,” said Daniel.

And The Cod’s Scallops also offers a collection service, alongside its delivery and eat-in services, proving that smaller franchises and local fish and chip shops can, too, provide hybrid eating opportunities.

For more information on the food safety and modernisation of fish and chip shops, visit: https://www.navitas.eu.com/fish-and-chips/

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