The Class of ’22

The Class of ’22 number around 10,500 Fish and Chip shops in the UK. The last few years have proved difficult with increasing competition, Covid restrictions and inflation in energy and food prices. Nevertheless, many in the industry have proved resilient with new initiatives to increase access and distribution. Fish and Chips still remain the Nation’s favourite meal and exceptionally good value. Frymax remains the brand leading cooking oil in the UK, a title it has now held

for over 65 years. Why ? Because we have been producing the same product without additions and modifications for all this time resulting in the same delicious results. Frymax is pure white premium palm which is additive free, contains no hydrogenated oil and less than one percent trans fats. As befits the brand leader, Frymax has recognised the need for economic fairness and is sourced from approved, certified production units and is 100% sustainable and traceable.


For information, advice, or customer support material please contact ADM Trading (UK) Limited. e-mail: Frymax – In a Class of its Own


JULY 2022

another blow There’s no denying it, the consumer spending squeeze is biting and trade is beginning to be affected. I’ve not spoken to a single shop owner this month who reports anything different. Even coastal shops that would normally be buzzing this time of year are seeing trade slightly down as people take fewer trips out to the seaside due to sky-high petrol prices. On top of this, the industry has been dealt another blow with the announcement from DEFRA that any whitefish exported out of Russia after 19th July is now subject to an additional 35% import tariff. This will not only affect those shops that use Russian fish but it will also add further pressure to prices across the board. Not what we need right now.








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editor’s article





ENZO’S SERVES UP 24 KARAT GOLD CHIPPY TEA Enzo’s in Glasgow is serving up fish and chips topped with 24 karat gold. The £80 dish comes with tartar sauce, lemon and mushy peas – all coated in edible gold.


The price of frying oil and fat has dropped and in some cases prices have fallen back to pre-Ukraine war levels. The news will offer some light relief to business owners who, since March, have seen record highs, with rapeseed oil increasing in price by 70% and palm oil by 40%. Soaring prices have been driven by panic buying amid concerns over shortages ever since the Ukraine-Russian conflict broke out. Ukraine is the largest exporter of sunflower oil in the world and Russia the second largest. Gary Lewis, president of The National Edible Oil Distributor's Association (NEODA), comments: “We saw a panic rise in March, which pushed prices up so much that it hurt global demand, and what we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks is a panic fall, which has caused quite a big correction in prices.” As well as a fall in demand, concerns over rising interest rates and inflation as well as slowing economies have caused some investors-speculators in these markets to cash in some of the profits, driving prices down further. In addition, Indonesia lifting its temporary ban on palm oil exports - a tactic introduced to support domestic prices - has released supplies onto the market, easing pressure further. “It’s like a tumbling effect,” says Gary. “Fish and chip shops should see the correction in prices in the market now, with some frying mediums, in particular palm oil, recovering to pre-Ukraine war levels.” One positive impact of rallying oil prices this year is the effect it has had on stimulating planting, with more sunflower grown already and additional rapeseed going into the ground in the next couple of months. “This will have a positive long-term effect because it's making farming more economical,” explains Gary. He warns, however, that the industry is not out of the woods yet with the hot, dry weather a potential concern for the next season’s crops as well as rising Covid cases. “We are still seeing problems with labour in Indonesia and Malaysia, which rely on foreign workers from poorer countries where Covid restrictions are in place. “We saw a report yesterday which said palm oil production is only rising slightly when it should be jumping up. At the moment it’s not a big problem because exports are down where obviously demand has been hit by these high prices. But once demand starts to kick in, that will change. With resurging Covid cases worldwide, it’s something we have to have on the horizon.” There was also a warning to users of beef dripping, with Gary advising that while supplies have improved slightly and prices have eased, there is still an overall shortage due to an increased demand for biodiesel. “Diesel prices and crude oil prices have rallied to record highs too so we're seeing bio-diesel margins looking better,” explains Gary. “This means people are buying more rape, soybean oil, and particularly beef tallow animal fats, to use in bio-diesel. “Things are much better than they were, but I don't want people thinking this is the start of a major fall, it’s really just the market recovering and correcting itself.”

KFE SCHOOL OF FRYING EXCELLENCE APPEARS ON THE GADGET SHOW Did you see KFE’s School of Frying Excellence on BBC 5’s The Gadget Show earlier this month? Host Ortis Deley spent a day filming alongside award-winning trainer Mark Petrou as they put air fryers through their paces to determine whether modern technology could cook a decent portion of fish and chips. Whilst the experiment generated some interesting results, Ortis had to concede that for the best fish and chips, you can’t beat your local chippy! You can watch Episode 7 of The Gadget Show at



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The profitability of hospitality businesses across the UK is plummeting with only 37% currently turning a profit, new research has revealed. The survey, conducted by the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality, shows businesses are struggling with rising costs of energy (74%) the most followed by goods (55%) and labour (54%). Almost half (45%) of businesses reported forced reducing opening hours to avoid closing permanently and one in six said they have no cash reserves.

This year’s National Fish & Chip Day promotional activity reached an audience of 33.8 million with an equivalent advertising value of £1.22 million. These figures are down only marginally on last year’s (36m and £1.23m respectively), with organiser NEODA fighting to get heard over a media saturated with stories of shops facing closure, huge price rises for consumers and high tariffs on Russian white fish. In an evaluation of the campaign, NEODA said: “This publicity did have a detrimental effect on our own efforts to switch the narrative and sell in the positive, celebratory stories we had lined up. “During our usual ring-round of national and key regional media we were met with reluctance from editors and producers to include any further fish and chip stories. “That said, there was still some excellent coverage of the day.” NEODA praised the many shops that went all out to celebrate the nation’s favourite dish as well as those operators and suppliers that took part in roadshows in London, Wales, Edinburgh and Cambridge, with the latter attended by the Shadow Minister for Fisheries. Social media highlights include a tweet by chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay that clocked up over 1,000 likes, a post by coach company Stagecoach West Scotland which gave followers details of which fish and chip shops were on each bus route, and retail giant Tesco which asked customers to vote if curry sauce has a place alongside fish and chips. National coverage was also high again this year with The Sun and The Daily Mirror among the newspapers dedicating column inches to the day, while air time was given by stations including LBC, Talk Radio, Heart FM and BBC Radio 2. When it came to TV, we were spoilt for choice with segments on BBC Morning Live and This Morning, and John Molnar cooking fish and chips live on Saturday Kitchen. In addition, ITV Wales watched on as Zohaib Hussain, owner of Zero Plus Fish Bar, successfully set a new Guinness World Record for wrapping five portions of chips. As a result of the activity, followers increased across National Fish & Chip Day’s three social media platforms while separate analyses by NEODA revealed the number of people talking about fish and chips compared with a normal Friday rose from 181,000 to a staggering 320 million, generating an advertising value of £7.56million.

NEW ENTRY FOR ERIC’S AS THE GOOD FOOD GUIDE MOVES TO AN APP Eric’s Fish & Chips in Thornham, Norfolk, is the first fish and chip shop to be included in the new app version of The Good Food Guide. The restaurant was praised by the guide’s inspector for serving “excellent fish and chips and mushy peas, done properly”. The review states how “a sparkling fresh plate-filling plaice, in local ale batter and fried to crisp perfection in beef dripping" was the star of the meal. Praise was also given to the halloumi and spinach arancini, deep fried cookie doughball and local bottled beers, before the reviewer summed up by saying: “In all, a laudable updating of the class British seaside cafe”. Owner Eric Snaith, who owns branches in Holt and St Ives as well as the 3 AA Rosette restaurant and hotel Titchwell Manor, comments: “I’m chuffed. We had no idea anyone came in and inspected us so it was very unexpected. “It’s such as great guide, it’s so well-respected and although we’ve been in it before with the hotel we’ve never been in it with Eric’s. “I think it’s an indicator that people value simple, really tasty food. It’s great that fish and chips wasn’t overlooked as a greasy takeaway and for it to be shown the respect it deserves. When it’s cooked well, fish and chips is a really good dish.” Medium cod and chips at Eric’s costs £10.75.


traditional, 65% of our trade is click and collect and the other 35% is walk-ins and we can't ignore that. So we’re taking both models to Exeter and amalgamating them into one.” The student market will be a key focus for the business when it launches, with Kelly adding: “We are looking at going to Fresher’s Week, that will be the focus of our first marketing plans, but we’re not going to go along and just promote Krispies, we’re going to hand out sanitary products, condoms, things that students need. We might be a fish and chip shop but we understand what that generation needs and needs help with.”

long. It has one of the biggest universities in the country but there are also a lot of chimney pots so it’s a very family-based area as well which means our target audience isn’t just one genre, it’s a massive collective.” The unit is currently an empty shell that needs fully fitting out, but when it’s open it will offer the same menu as its two counterparts, plus vegan options aimed at the student market. Kelly adds: “I’m a bit apprehensive about starting from scratch but what we’ve learned from Pines Road is that click and collect and delivery works, it's about 95% of our trade there. Exeter Road, on the other hand, is very

Award-winning fish and chip shop Krispies is opening its third business later this year in what owners Kelly and Tim Barnes call their “dream” location. The chippy, which has branches in Exeter Road and Pines Road in Exmouth, Devon, will be opening in Isleworth Road, Exeter, in October. It will offer walk-in, click and collect and delivery, and will employ an additional 25-30 members of staff. Opening a takeaway in Exeter has appealed to Kelly and Tim for several years due to the city’s huge student and family populations. Kelly comments: “We’re really excited to be coming to Exeter, it’s been the plan for so



INDUSTRY NEWS 07.22 DEVELOPING LACTOSE-FREE KEBABS NETS KISMET £370,000 TAX RELIEF Kismet Kebabs, one of the UK’s biggest kebab manufacturers, has netted more than £370,000 in government tax breaks after developing lactose-free doners.

UK IMPOSES 35% IMPORT TARIFF ON RUSSIAN WHITEFISH The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has confirmed a 35% tariff will be imposed on imports of Russian whitefish. The tariff was due to come into play on March 24th when the UK government applied sanctions to hundreds of Russian exports following its invasion of Ukraine. However, it was postponed while the impact on Britain's seafood industry was considered. With the war still ongoing, the government has decided to step up its action and a 35% tariff will now apply to any fish that has not cleared Russian or Belarusian customs before 19th July. The decision was taken at a round table meeting held today with the Minister of State for DEFRA along with members of the seafood sector, BEIS and HMRC. Also in attendance was Andrew Crook, president of The NFFF, who said the decision would have dramatic consequences for the industry, with approximately 30-40% of UK fish and chip shops using Russian fish. “Unfortunately, the Government has decided to pull that lever and now we have to deal with it. It’s not great news for us but we knew it was a possibility.” “There’s still a little bit of a grey area when talking about countries of origin because if it’s moved to a different country and processed is it still going to be counted as Russian fish? If they are going to ignore that and apply it to direct imports it’s going to have a huge effect on the industry, about 30- 40% of the fish and chip industry uses Russian fish. It is a significant amount of fish. “Demand for seafood across the board is down due to the high prices, so that will help mitigate some of the price increase a little bit and maybe the Russians will absorb some of it, but that’s yet to be seen.” From today's roundtable, the government has agreed to hold a separate meeting with representatives from the fish and chip industry to discuss the pressures the sector is facing. Andrew adds: “The government does understand what impact this is going to have on our sector. I was first to speak to the Minister and I laid it out that there is a big risk to independent businesses. I pointed out that while you might see all the big brands expanding, it's because they have the borrowing power, the buying power and the marketing power to keep growing, whereas independent businesses don’t have that and we are definitely feeling the brunt of everything going on at the moment anyway. “We need the government to listen to our calls because there are businesses out there that won’t survive this. "The industry will get through it, we have a great product, a great network and a lot of support. But there are a lot of businesses that will have to change what they are doing if they are to survive.”

The Essex-based business was driven to innovate and remove milk from its doner kebabs and chicken shawarma after becoming aware that a large number of customers with this food intolerance weren’t being well-served by the industry. It was one of a host of innovative projects undertaken by Kismet Kebabs that qualified for £372,422 in R&D tax relief — a government tax incentive introduced in 2000 to reward innovation RESULTS OUT VERY SOON!! Milk has traditionally been used in the making of kebabs as a binding, flavouring and texturising agent, as well as a colourant. There was no product available that substituted lactose so Kismet’s food technologists set about developing new recipes that would open up new markets for itself and its customers. 45 MOTHER HUBBARD’S OPENED ITS LATEST SHOP IN ERDINGTON, BIRMINGHAM, REPEATING ITS NOW CUSTOMARY LAUNCH OFFER OF 45P FISH AND CHIPS. THE MEAL WOULD NORMALLY COST £8.75.

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The show may be over but with operators leaving with deals, discounts and a host of new products to try, the effects of this year’s T.Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show will be felt for some time

It was a nerve-wracking wait, wondering after two years away what would be waiting for us when we opened the doors to the Warwickshire Event Centre on Sunday 12th June. But we needn’t have worried, visitors attended attended from far and wide, proving that The T.Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show is still one of the biggest and most popular exhibition for the fish and chip industry. Shops travelled many miles to attend the show with visitors coming from as far as Paignton in Devon, Bradford in South Yorkshire and St Helier in Jersey. There was no getting away from the fact that cost was on visitors’ minds, with shop owners keen to secure deals and savings that would help soften the blow of constant price rises. One visitor who attended with a vision of stocking up was Ozzie Bozdag from Codfellas in Chantry, Ipswich. Impressed

to want to improve the food they are offering their customers, trying new coatings, whether it’s fish, chicken, Peri-Peri or burger seasonings. We at Rupert’s Ingredients can offer those choices. It was great to speak to the long-term fish and chip shop owners still in the industry who were open to new ideas to improve their menus.” With the restaurant trade not fully recovered following Covid, visitors were also looking at products that would help them maximise takeaway and delivery opportunities. Dave Carpenter, national account manager at Kerry Foods, comments: “We had a lot of interest in Goldensheaf Crisp and Light Batter Mix, which is blended with rice flour so it stays crispier for longer and drains a little bit better, as well as our Goldensheaf Smart Batter where customers are still looking for a batter that delivers well.”

with Tyson Foods’ Hot ‘n’ Kickin’ Chicken as well as Meadow Vale Foods’ chicken bites and strips, he left the show with more than he bargained for, adding: “The show was very good, I went to get some good deals, especially on things like fish and packaging. My budget was £3,000 but I believe I went way over spending that. When you are saving £2-3 a box on everything, it all adds up.” Quality Although the cost of gas, electricity, fish and oil are a cause for concern, squeezing already tight margins, it was clear that shops weren’t going to compromise on quality, a trend picked up by first time exhibitor Rupert’s Ingredients. While offering samples of its Southern Fried Chicken breading and peri-peri basting sauces, sales manager Calvin Harris said: “Shops seemed





Technology Despite the difficulties facing the industry, visitors were not put off investing in their businesses with those companies exhibiting technology promising newer, quicker and more efficient ways of serving customers remaining busy throughout the day. QikServe, which showcased its digital ordering platform, reported particular interest in features such as Suggestive Selling, offering upsell opportunities like drinks or accompaniments, and order slots to manage customer expectations. Head of marketing Wil Chung, added: “Our digital platform allows owners to offer online ordering for collection or delivery at 0% commission and low transaction rates. Talking to many attendees, we were offering better value than their current suppliers.” With prices constantly changing, digital

Steven Benning, who owns Andrew’s Fish and Chip Emporium in Northampton with business partner Manjit Sidhu, was the lucky winner of a pallet of Plus20 Palm Oil worth over £1,000. Speaking about his win, Steven said: “It was a lovely surprise. I’ve been 21 years in the game and this is the first time I’ve won anything. With the price of oil what it is at the moment, it’s a very generous offer from T. Quality. “It is a little bit of an uphill struggle staying afloat at the moment so the win has eased the pressure on the outgoings a little bit.” New to using Plus20, Steve was excited to try the frying medium, which he anticipates should keep his pans filled up for a good few months. He comments: “So far it seems on a par with what we were using before in its taste or quality. If it does have 20% extra life in it, which it promises, that will be a plus too.”




“We did enjoy the T. Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show. It was my first show and we met up with range manufacturers and got some good contacts for products.” Lloyd Glendewar, Hectors, St Helier, Jersey

customers! I must thank our suppliers and exhibitors, who without their support we wouldn’t have been able to put on such a great show and provide some amazing offers on the day. “The whole world - not just the fish and chip industry - is facing challenging times, but it was great to speak with so many positive shop owners who are looking to evolve and grow their businesses. We are looking forward to hosting another Fish Frying & Fast Food Show in 2023!”

It was good news for another show visitor, Codfathers in Ipswich, chosen as the winner of the FEC till system with ICRTouch courtesy of PanaEpos. We’ll catch up with them next month once the system is installed and up-and-running. menu boards commanded most of the attention for PanaEpos. Meeting what he could only describe as a “phenomenal amount of potentially new customers”, Jason Bailey, sales manager, said: “The boards have the ability to update the price as the price is updated on the till which saves a lot of time and money.” Keeping hungry visitors fed was Middleton Foods with the team serving over 500 portions of fish, chips, mushy peas and curry from a mobile van courtesy of West Midlands Chip Company. Area sales manager for Middletons, Dean Baker, comments: “We never stopped and we had a spell from 11.30am- 3pm where we couldn’t keep up. “There was a big focus on pricing and deals where shops are finding it difficult at the moment. However, our Vegetarian Curry Sauce went down really well. We cooked hake for a change, which customers enjoyed, and we coated it in our new Blend 30 Batter Mix which is a very crispy batter and got a lot of good feedback.” Commenting on the success of the show, Mike Crees, MD at T.Quality, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank all our customers who attended the show, it was great meeting so many current and new

QikServe is delighted to announce the winner of its Ultimate Driving Experience competition is Stephen Westhead who visited the show from The Trawlerman Fish & Chip Shop in Wigan.






WHAT’S NEW Aviko brings premium potato sides to the table in TWO minutes Aviko has launched the market’s quickest cooking gratin, enabling operators to serve a premium potato side quickly and efficiently. Made with cream and Emmental cheese, Aviko’s Quick Cook Gratin takes less than two minutes in an industry standard speed oven or 12 minutes in a combi-steamer, bringing both convenience and flavour. With an extended holding time of 30-60 minutes, Aviko’s Quick Cook Gratin is said to be ideal for eat out or order in and works across a range of menus. It is available frozen in 6 x 1500g cartons with a shelf-life of 18 months and is vegetarian friendly. Aviko 0800 633 5611

Toast, heat and grill with the Sirman Q sandwich toasters FEM has launched new Sirman Q sandwich toasters that not only cook toasted sandwiches, but also heat pizzas and ready-cooked foods, as well as grill burgers, sausages, rolls and many other menu items. The space-saving countertop units are ideal for food-to-go establishments wanting to deliver quick and convenient food items. They have a sturdy stainless steel construction, easy to clean grills and removable drip trays. Chromium-plated steel pincers hold food items safely in place during grilling. To prevent burning whilst grilling, all models are fitted with a timer of up to 15 minutes. There are three models in the Q range, the largest boasting a 355 x 240mm grill and a height of 365mm.

Prices start at £355 excluding VAT. FEM 01355 244111


KTC launches first Halal Certified Beef Dripping Edible oils manufacturer and distributor KTC

Edibles has launched a Halal Certified Beef Dripping – making it the first of its kind available in the UK.

KTC Beef Dripping is ideal for all kinds of roasting and frying, adding depth of traditional flavour to a wide range of dishes. It’s an excellent choice for fish and chip shop owners who are looking to advance their inclusivity and cater for the Halal market. This is an exciting development for the oil and fat industry, as it will open up lots of new opportunities for businesses, enabling them to reach a wider demographic and offer a greater choice of menu options to their customers. Gary Lewis, chief commercial officer at KTC, said: “We’re always looking for innovative ways to be more inclusive and our Halal Certified Beef Dripping has been the perfect way to do this! “There’s been a real gap in the market for some time. We’re thrilled that we can meet this demand and be the first UK business to provide a beef dripping solution that delivers on performance and taste.” KTC Beef Dripping is also available as a standard, non- halal product. With no allergens, additives, GM ingredients or hydrogenated fat, KTC Beef Dripping also has the benefit of being low in trans fats. It is the latest addition to the company’s growing range of high quality frying solutions, which includes a selection of sustainably sourced vegetable oils, as well as the Super Hi Fry range of high performance frying blends. KTC Edibles 0121 505 9200 Us4SLUSH OFFERS UP NEW SYRUP MULTIPACK BUNDLE DEALS! Exceptional value slush syrup Multipack Bundle Deals are now available from well-known slush brand Sir Lush, giving more savings with larger profits. A 12 pack of slush syrup (six Blue Raspberry and six Red Strawberry) is priced at only £144 +VAT. The bottles have an 18 month shelf life and with a 6:1 ratio for water to syrup, the costs are just 6p per cup. Each bottle produces up to 175 x 7oz cups, which at an RRP of £1 for a small cup gives a return of £175 per bottle. Us4Slush 01202 798 100



While many chippies are streamlining their menu, Websters in Baildon, West Yorkshire, has boosted its offering in the last eight months from 80 items to a huge 365

Websters in Baildon, once one of four shops in the Websters chain, was taken over by a new owner in August 2020 who has since expanded the menu more than fourfold with burgers, chicken, milkshakes and ice creams just a handful of the new items added to the offering. The additions are partly down to the new owner’s desire to use his convenience retail background to drive impulse purchases and partly fuelled by the huge growth in delivery - introduced during Covid to cover some of the lost revenue caused by the sporadic closure of the 100-seater restaurant. With delivery now making up a third of the shop’s sales, it led manager Steven Ponsford, who has been with the business for 16 years, to take the decision not to re- open the restaurant. Steven comments: “Since I’ve been here, the restaurant trade has declined because we’ve been inclined towards the older clientele and the people that were in their 50s and 60s back then are in their 70s and 80s now.

“You need to be doing a more modern take on fish and chips to attract that younger clientele and we weren’t, ours was still very traditional. On Valentine’s Day, you’d expect a restaurant to be full whereas here you could get a seat anywhere. I felt we weren’t losing anything by not opening it back up because we were gaining on delivery.” Launching with all the delivery aggregators initially, Websters has stuck with Just Eat and Uber and they’ve used these platforms to roll out the new items before adding them to the shop’s menu. Steven, who spent 12 years working for Harry Ramsden’s, explains: “We’ve found the new items sell really well online, about 90% of the sales online are the newer products. It means we don’t have to get posters up, we don’t have to do much to promote it and if it kicks off, if it is a success and it works then we’ll incorporate it into the shop and publicise it.” For things that don’t work - and fruit and veg options on the kids’ meals were one of them - there’s a specials section online that

includes anything the shop plans to delist where they sell them cheap. This frees up the freezer space enabling Webster’s to get a new line in pronto. As well as adding a stand-alone veggie pan to supplement beef dripping - which on its own has added between 10-15% to its sales - Websters has also added fried chicken. “The boss’s idea initially was to do pizzas and hotdogs, but there can be a lot of wastage when dealing with fresh ingredients,” says Steven. “Instead I advised chicken on the basis it’s popular and I had quick look on Just Eat and other platforms and it showed there was no other chippy selling chicken in this area.” Websters now sells spicy chicken, hot wings, southern fried chicken on the bone and popcorn chicken all in branded boxes to replicate the experience of the major chicken chains. “Chicken has taken off,” says Steven. “Some days on Just Eat, all the orders can be for chicken.” The hot drinks offering has also been upscaled with tea, coffee and hot chocolate




previously made using a hot water boiler replaced with a self-service Nescafe To Go machine. Sitting on the customer side of the counter, which means staff aren’t taken away from serving, it offers black and white coffee, tea, latte and hot chocolate for £1.80. “We had a few requests for lattes recently so we looked at leasing a coffee machine but the prices were in the thousands whereas this was £250. Within five days, we sold out of tea, latte and cappuccino. “Although we sold tea and coffee before, you didn’t know it. It was on the board, whereas because it’s there in front of the customer, people see it and they buy it.” Websters has also gone large on its range of soft drinks, adding energy drinks and smoothies to the mix but by far and away the biggest success has been its American-style candy milkshakes using soft serve ice cream. Steven comments: “Again, it’s something that we always did but they weren’t the best and they weren’t that popular. I noticed one day that half of my staff were going across the road and buying these big milkshakes so we looked at the different sweets available and decided to introduce six chocolate bar flavours in 12oz and 16oz cups online.” The milkshakes have been so popular

The shop is also attracting larger online orders that hit the £40-£50 mark more often. And it means the revenue it is now making from delivery - which can be over £5,000 on a good week - and increased walk-in sales more than make up for the restaurant which, although in its hey-day was taking anywhere up to £7,000 a week, was pulling in around half this by the time it closed. “When we started with delivery last year we didn’t know what to expect,” says Steven. “Our initial goal was to hit £1,000, we’re now on £4,000-£5,000 and even with commission taken off, we’re still taking more. “If it means adding a few more lines and

that Websters is now up to 18 flavours and the small is no more, making way for an even larger 20oz cup. Priced between £4 and £6, its milkshakes cost less than 70p to produce, making them one of the shop’s highest profit earners. Not surprisingly Steven has added these in-store too. “It’s important to keep innovating,” he says. “Fish and chips, especially with the prices going up, is not a cheap meal anymore. We’re getting people that were coming two to three times a week, coming just once a week now. All these extras help us bring in more customers.” With all the new additions, customers are spending more with the average spend up from £14-15 to about £22-23. Steven comments: “It’s one thing having the things on a menu board, but people don’t always pay attention or read the board, you have to display them. We have all this stuff available but it’s hidden in freezers or in the storeroom out the back. By putting ice creams, for example, in front of the customers they see it, kids pester their parents and while they might not have come in for ice cream, they leave with one and that’s £1 extra in the till.”

buying a few more products, so be it. “I think it works at the seaside for

outlets to sell three or four things on the menu. Inland, as we are, there is so much competition from different places. If you’ve got the facilities to do it, you need to offer as much as you can because you don’t want people coming in and thinking, I’ll get fish and chips but I’ll go down the road to get pizza for the kids. You want everything in one shop. Your bread and butter is always going to be fish and chips - 75% of our sales are still fish and chips - but you need people coming in and spending money.”

“If you’ve got the facilities to do it, you need to offer as much as you can because you don’t want people coming in and thinking, I’ll get fish and chips but I’ll go down the road to get pizza for the kids.”



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Kaylee Herbert and Richard Long, owners of Dorset and Wiltshire based Harlees Fish & Chips, discuss price rises, expansion plans and taking cod off the menu

How have the last 12 months been for Harlees? The last 12 months have been pretty good, up until the Ukrainian crisis that is when the price of fish went through the roof. I think we can all say in the industry we had a bloomin’ good year last year with great trade and very little tax. It was phenomenal, but how the pendulum swings. We have gone from one extreme to the other and, as a result, we are reviewing our prices this week. What kind of percentage increase are you thinking? It’s more so on the fish front and it will be a good 10-15%, which will take our regular cod and chips up to £10.70. How do you feel about being at that price point? I’m not happy with it but we have no choice. To survive in business, we have to make a profit. All these other underlying costs of oil and gas, electricity, we’re under pressure from our staff now for even more wage rises in addition to the two we have given them

in the last 12 months - and I can’t blame them. My biggest worry is the detrimental effect that our fish and chips becoming less affordable has on trade. We’ve got to look at alternatives to still entice people into the shop and offer value within the business. What items are you considering adding? We’re looking at three main species - saithe, hake and hoki. We have tried saithe before and although it has lots of flavour, the flesh is slightly darker and people want white fish, so whether we can wean them onto it I don’t know. If a customer wants cod, we will still have it there at £10.70 but if they want fish and chips at a more reasonable price, then we’ll have other species available. Would you consider taking cod off the menu like Rockfish has this month? It depends on how expensive it becomes and whether people will buy it. I admire Mitch for doing that and I understand his reasons because his shops are all seasonal and if you’ve got a very expensive raw material coming in, you’re not going

to make that gross profit that you need to make during the peak of the summer to keep going in the winter. Are you looking beyond fish? I know essentially we are fish and chip shops but, at the end of the day, trade is trade and we need to look at what will entice people into the shop. We need to sell what the customer wants, not what we want to sell so we are looking at vegan and vegetarian options. I think we have to look at what food trends are out there and what items other operators are having success with. One of the best to look at is McDonald’s; they are very forward-thinking and if there’s a food trend going on, then they are usually there with it. How are you approaching recruitment? As an industry, hospitality is suffering so we’re focusing on the added value that we as an employer can provide that isn’t just wages, so staff well-being for example. We’ve got a counselling service for employees to use, and we’ve held one-to- one sessions to help staff with budgeting




Have you found anywhere that you’ve been able to make cost savings without compromising on quality? As a business we do not want to cut quality, that is an absolute no-no, under no circumstances will we do that. But we have found some simple little things we can do to help save us money, like putting a timer on our drinks fridge. You don’t need to keep your cans cold overnight and by doing this you’ll probably reduce your electricity on that fridge by 50%. What would you say to other operators finding it tough right now? Hang in there and maintain your profit margins. Don’t worry about putting up your prices because, at the end of the day, it’s no good working for nothing. Yes, you will get some complaints but it’s the same anywhere you go. How do you see the future of the industry? We are generally quite a positive team and I think when you go through challenging times, it gives you a great opportunity to look at your business, as Covid did. We made many changes, which were massive improvements. The bottom line is that prices will come down eventually, they have to, we can only sustain this for so long. There is a great future out there. Harlees is celebrating 25 years this year and, although this is probably the most challenging year I’ve ever had, I’m looking forward to the next 25!

and financial advice, which has gone down really well. Next week, we’ve got a meeting with someone from the NHS who is looking to put people back into work after injury and after mental health problems so we’re looking at ways we can meet their needs. We’re also promoting our sustainability ethics because young people today want to work for a responsible business. You have eight sites, will you be opening more? We’re looking to continue to expand and adapt to what the market needs. We had two new sites planned for this year, one of which we hope to open by the end of the year but, with the current circumstances, we may well just put the second on ice for a small amount of time. We want to review

how the next few months go because we’ve definitely seen trade a bit subdued. Even the seasonal branches are not performing how I thought they would do. I think with the price of fuel going up people aren’t taking as many drives out to the beach as they normally would do. Are you maintaining your profit margin? We try to maintain our profit margin, that is always our goal because if you don’t, even just a 1% drop is a massive amount of profit to lose. You’ve got to maintain those margins, it’s vitally important for a business. You’ve got to be on the ball, watching the figures coming in all the time - getting weekly price updates from your suppliers can really help here.



The Class of ’88

By the late 1980’s the British public’s food tastes had become cosmopolitan with considerable growth in Indian and Chinese takeaway’s and gourmet food ranges in supermarkets. Nevertheless Fish and Chips still remained the Nation’s favourite takeaway with the Class of ‘88 numbering around 15,000 shops. They were attracting a more diverse range of customers who were paying around £1.60 - £2.00 for medium cod and chips. Greaseproof paper was introduced and newspaper for wrapping phased out on hygiene grounds. A BSE outbreak also resulted in many shops switching from animal fats to vegetable oils for frying.

By 1988, Frymax was still the number one brand. It was exactly the same product as on launch with no additions or modifications and remained pure white palm which is additive free, contains no hydrogenated oil and less than 1% trans fats. Frymax guaranteed consistently good results and long lasting performance without deterioration in quality and had become firmly established as the Fryers Favourite.


For information, advice, or customer support material please contact ADM Trading (UK) Limited. e-mail: Frymax – In a Class of its Own

Sustainability Matters Business Matters Origin Matters

Almost 9 in 10 UK diners understand the importance of sustainable seafood …

… but only a quarter know what to look for in a fish and chip shop

Learn the rest from the best

Discover the ‘Fish & Tips’ video series made with friers, for friers

Communicate your sustainability credentials to show the value in every portion

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How can you make more of your accompaniments at a time when customers are cutting back?

The consumer spending squeeze is very real and the results are evident in shoppers’ spending habits as we see customers down-valuing their meals, swapping fish and chips for fishcake, sausage or pie and chips. As a result, many shops are now only offering one standard size of fish, getting rid of the large for the time being as customers simply aren’t ordering it or because it makes the menu look too expensive with it on there. Sauces and condiments, on the other hand, are still relatively cheap in comparison and can generate a high profit. And while fish, sausages and pies might be your bread and butter, Stelios Theocharous, MD at ingredients supplier Ceres, stresses how important sauces and sides are, adding: “Condiments and sides are essential at the best of times. They can help get a gross profit of a meal from, let’s say, 50% up to 80%, and because the customer is already making the purchase, it doesn’t cost you any more to provide this.” Quality first So how do you get customers to buy them? Firstly, you have to offer the best quality sauces and accompaniments you can, whether it’s in a sachet or a pot, bought-in or homemade. Eric Snaith, who has branches of

Eric’s Fish & Chips in Thornham and Holt in North Norfolk, and St Ives in Cambridgeshire, sells sachets of Stokes mayo and ketchup but makes his own tartare sauce and curry sauce, which sell for £1. He also makes four signature sauces - black garlic mayonnaise, seafood, spicy BBQ and buffalo sauces - in 50g pots that sell for £1.25. Eric comments: “Although people are cutting back, we find people don’t mind spending when what they are buying is good quality, so I think that attention to detail and quality is more important now than ever.” Offering a homemade sauce also helps set a businesses apart and build loyalty, important when people are being more cautious about how many times they eat out and where to eat out. Eric adds: “Our fish and chips is quite classic because it’s important to me that they are familiar. Having simple things like our homemade tartare sauce, our BBQ sauce or our buffalo sauce, they are unique to us so they make the meal a little bit more memorable and that’s why customers come back.” To make sure no opportunity goes un- missed, Eric’s also bottles its sauces for customers to take home at £4.50 each. “I’ve always thought it’s a great thing if someone has a bottle of our sauce in their fridge because every time they open the fridge we’re there, reminding them.”


Making the perfect partner not just for fish and chips but burgers, chicken and scampi is the Goldfish brand Tomato Ketchup from Keejays. Available in a 214g glass jar, it’s the ideal carry home size for customers. Keejays 01473 827304


Generate increased profits with Drywite’s Non-Brewed Condiment and its countertop dispenser. Giving customers the traditional chip shop taste at home, each pack comes with 12 bottles of non-brewed condiment. If sold at the recommended retail price of £1.80, shops generate a return of £12.35 for every case sold. Drywite 01384 569 556




A different approach It’s not always what you sell but how you sell it that is the difference between an extra pound in the till, and it’s something Middleton Foods is encouraging shops to get on board with. Offering a comprehensive range of curries and gravies, including gluten free options, sales manager Nigel Ramsay says where budgets are tight and customers are looking to save money, why not offer a splash of curry or gravy? “In addition to offering a full 4oz serving of curry or gravy, we’re saying add a splash and charge something, say, 40p,” he says. “It’s a great way to help people on a tight budget but also introduce side orders to new customers. Not everyone wants a whole pot of curry or gravy, but this way operators can simply add half a ladle over the chips and still charge something for it. “You don’t have to push the boat out to enjoy Middleton’s delicious curries and gravies!”


Middleton’s top-selling Chippies Choice Curry Sauce Mix is now available in a 10kg plastic sack rather than a tub and lid, reducing the plastic weight of the packaging by 88%. Middleton Foods 01902 608122

Suggestive selling In lean times customers can be quick to drop sides, so it’s up to you and your staff to employ some suggestive selling techniques to encourage them to make that additional purchase. It’s something Dominic Eusden does at his shop, Fiddler’s Elbow in Leintwardine, Shropshire. He comments: “We have our till system set up so that when you put the customer order in, it comes up saying, would you like sauces? So it prompts us to ask the customer would they like mushy peas, gravy, curry or tartare sauce. Our mushy peas, for example, cost 35p per portion to make and we sell them for £2.00

on their own. With everything

going up, each time we sell a pot of mushy peas it really helps towards covering our rising costs.” Dominic also bundles his sides into a meal deal, adding: “By adding in the mushy peas we’re able to make a good profit still while giving the customer value for money. With the cost of living rocketing, we need to do everything we can to offer cheaper alternatives to customers to keep them coming in.”



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