FRY JUNE 22

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10 BEST

RESTAURANTS

2022/2023

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www.frymagazine.com THE UK’S NO.1 MAGAZINE TO THE FISH FRYING & FAST FOOD TRADE JUNE 2022

The Class of ’54

Fish and Chips have long been recognised as Britain’s National dish, no more so than in the 1950’s. In the Class of ’54 there were over 30,000 Fish and Chip shops serving the Country’s only take away food. The primary fare was cod or haddock and chips, fried initially in animal fats, principally dripping and lard. The average price for a medium portion of cod and chips was one shilling (5p in today’s currency) and Friday

night was the most popular night for the take away treat. In 1954 the market changed dramatically with the launch of Frymax vegetable oil. Unlike the high level of saturated fat and cholesterol in animal fats, Frymax was pure white premium palm, which had a higher smoke point, was additive free, contained no hydrogenated oil and less than one per cent trans fats. Frymax produced delicious light results and soon became the industry favourite and has remained so until today, the same product with the same consistent results.

RSPO-2-0677-16-100-00

For information, advice, or customer support material please contact ADM Trading (UK) Limited. e-mail: frymaxinfo@adm.com www.frymax.co.uk Frymax – In a Class of its Own

CONTENTS

JUNE 2022

cod this really be happening? It was great to welcome so many of you to The T. Quality Fish Frying & Fast Food Show at Warwickshire Event Centre earlier this month. The turnout was impressive and the buzz was felt around the hall all day. If you did miss it, don’t worry as we’ll be rounding up all the key takeaways from the exhibition in next month’s edition.

rfect Pizza Be prepared for the Prices are still going one way and unfortunately it seems like it will be some way off before we can report any different as not only is a 35% tarrif on Russian white fish looking inevitable but also it’s highly anticipated that quotas will be reduced later in the year too. It means some difficult decisions ahead - we’ve already heard that Rockfish, which has nine sites across the South West of England, has made the once unthinkable move and dropped cod from its menus over the summer. Could more follow suit? CONTACT US: Fry Magazine Limited 196 Pettswood Road, Orpington, Kent BR5 1LG Frymagazine.com www.frymagazine.com @fry_magazine info@fry-online.co.uk NEWS 04 big interview 13 shop focus 10

PUBLISHER: Reece Head T: 07917 821 015 E: reece@fry-online.co.uk EDITOR: Helen Edmonds T: 07515 691090 E: helen@fry-online.co.uk

ACCOUNTS: E: accounts@fry-online.co.uk

survival strategies

19

shopfitting

23

what’s new

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MANAGING DIRECTOR: Andy Pybus

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2022/2023

INDUSTRY NEWS 06.22

WINNE Fish | 10 RESTA Fish | 50 TAKE

| AWARDS

& Fish 50 BEST TAKEAWAYS 2022/2023

10 BEST

RESTAURANTS

WINNE

FRY AWARDS 2023 LAUNCH WITH A BRAND NEW LOOK

of the industry’s 50 Best Takeaways or 10 Best Restaurants. “This year the feedback from entrants has been fantastic with owners saying the awards have saved their businesses and others now putting improved practices and procedures in place to go again for 2022/2023.” Don’t delay, enter your takeaway, restaurant or mobile unit today at www.frymagazine.com. Terms and conditions apply. Entry costs £110 per category and the competition closes at midnight on 31st October 2022. Winners will be announced in March 2023.

This year’s Fry Awards may have only just been handed out but we’re delighted to announce we’ve set the ball rolling for next year by opening up entry for the 50 Best Fish & Chip Takeaways and 10 Best Fish & Chip Restaurants 2022/2023! As we enter our 11th year of running the Fry Awards, we thought it was about time we gave them a makeover, so we’ve had fresh new logos designed for both competitions. The Fry Awards have gone from strength to strength over the past 11 years and have grown in status so much so that coverage of the winners now reaches national media, with features this year on Sky News, in The Daily Telegraph and on BBC Radio. Winning an award not only generates fantastic PR for the winners, however. Entering provides an excellent opportunity to grow and improve a business, too. Operators receive a full appraisal of how their shop runs, following the order process from start to finish by a secret mystery diner. They take into account all manner of aspects from how they are greeted by staff, the ease of ordering, the quality and variety of the food as well as the general appearance of the premises, before

giving a score out of 100. The top 50 performing takeaways and top 10 performing restaurants make up the winners list. This year the criteria remains unchanged with a simple and short online form all that’s needed for shops to enter. The rest is left down to us! Once again, mobiles can enter the takeaway category and all entrants receive two mystery dines across two separate days and an average taken from the two scores. Restaurants will receive one visit, although two diners can eat. Entry remains anonymous and all entrants receive a copy of their mystery dining paper, providing that all-important feedback that enables operators to appraise and improve their businesses. Reece Head, competition organiser, comments: “This year is going to be another turbulent one for the industry and that’s going to make it difficult for operators to work out ways to improve their business, inspire staff or even stay motivated themselves. The Fry Awards are there to do exactly that, they offer guidance, feedback, publicity and, more importantly, a huge pat on the back when shops find out they are one

“Ahhh! We haved worked so hard, this comes at such a good time while we all dig a little deeper for a little longer. “Thank you all so much.”

“Thank you very much, we are very surprised and pleased to have made the top 10 restaurants.”

“Thanks for the feedback, we are delighted to have scored overall 99% and 97%. “I take on board the comments about uniform but so pleased our food was all 100%.”

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INDUSTRY NEWS 06.22

HMRC CRACKS DOWN ON TILL FRAUD WITH £50,000 FINES Businesses involved in making, supplying or promoting Electronic Sales Suppression (ESS) systems that help businesses hide or reduce the value of till sales, now face fines of up to £50,000 and criminal investigations. New powers introduced in February to target the tax evasion practice mean users can also face fines. Two men and a woman have already been arrested in Nottinghamshire as a result of the new powers and are now subject to a criminal investigation into the alleged supply of ESS software. The men, aged 43 and 58, were arrested along with a 56-year-old woman on suspicion of fraud offences and cheating the revenue. A search warrant was executed by HMRC officers at three addresses where computers, digital devices and paperwork were seized. All three suspects have been released under investigation. As part of the same investigation, HMRC also visited 30 businesses, including shops, takeaways and restaurants. ESS users will either have access to specialist software or will configure their Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) device in a specific way that allows them to consciously hide true sales and the resulting tax that is due. Sales processed through the till give the impression they have been recorded as normal, however the end of day report is deliberately manipulated behind the scenes to reduce reported takings. As part of investigations into ESS, HMRC can also recover tax evaded and launch investigations that could result in criminal convictions. Financial secretary to the Treasury, Lucy Frazer said: “The overwhelming majority of businesses are paying their taxes and rightly want to see HMRC stepping in where needed to ensure a level playing field for all. “Tax crime does not stand still and neither do we - the new powers available to HMRC allow them to clamp down on ESS and help recover tax revenues to fund our vital public services.”

NSC PROVIDES FREE ONLINE TOOLS TO HELP PROMOTE SUSTAINABILITY

The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) has launched a new sustainability hub featuring resources created specifically for fish and chip shop operators. Following the recent launch of its educational video series, the NSC has created a dedicated digital resource hub where friers can access materials to help them communicate the importance of sustainable seafood – and to show the value in every portion of fish and chips. The Fish and Tips resource hub has a range of materials available to download including a short film showcasing the provenance of Norwegian cod and the care that goes into guaranteeing its quality, taste and sustainable status, a social media toolkit featuring advice to ensure sustainability messaging is spot on, and a ‘know where your fish is from’ poster. The NSC is also releasing point-of-sale including branded window stickers, bag and box stickers and A3 posters through a number of its suppliers. These resources feature a QR code which customers can scan with their smartphones, allowing them to watch the Ocean-to-Plate short origin film while they wait for their fish and chips. The consistent messaging across these digital and physical resources will clearly communicate to customers the importance of sustainably sourced seafood, and will help to reassure them that the fish being served to them is of the very best quality. Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, UK director, Norwegian Seafood Council, says: “We’re delighted to offer these sustainability resources to talented and dedicated fish and chip shop operators across the UK. We expect them to drive engagement with customers around the issue of sustainability, and ultimately give them a greater understanding of the importance of sustainable seafood. “We’ve already seen a shift in consumer understanding of the positives of well-sourced meat, eggs and dairy, but we’re not as far down the line with this education piece for the fish industry in the UK. It’s important that we change this.” The Fish and Tips Resource Hub can be accessed at www. seafoodfromnorway.co.uk/fish-and-tips. Physical point of sale can be requested from distributers including Smales, T.Quality and Unique Seafood.

FILMING TOOK PLACE AT DEWLEY CHIPPY IN CRAMLINGTON, NORTHUMBERLAND, THIS MONTH AS IT PROVIDED THE BACKDROP FOR A NEW MOVIE CALLED BONNY CHIP. THE FILM TELLS THE TALE OF HOW THE STAFF AT HARBOUR CHIPPY, IN NEARBY AMBLE, SELL CONTRABAND GOODS OVER THE COUNTER TO FUND ITS RENOVATION.

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INDUSTRY NEWS 06.22 CHIP SHOP OWNER SETS UP CHARITY TO BENEFIT HIS LOCAL COMMUNITY

THE NATIONAL FISH & CHIP AWARDS ARE BACK FOR 2023 The National Fish & Chip Awards will return this year with the award ceremony taking place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel in London on Tuesday 28th February 2023, the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has confirmed. The revised judging criteria and the categories will be available to view from Tuesday 28th June at www.thefishandchipawards.com when shops will also be able to enter.

A fish and chip shop owner from Ipswich has set up a charity which is set to pump thousands of pounds back into local causes. Ozzie Bozdag, owner of Codfellas in Chantry, has established Codfellas Chantry Charity which people can donate to via a collection box on his counter or at the numerous local shops that have got on board. The boxes are collected up on a three-month basis, with the first donation of £2,400 just issued to the local library to help towards setting up a soup kitchen and a community fun day. Ozzie, who has owned the shop for two years, regularly delivers food and groceries to the homeless staying at a nearby hotel as well as elderly residents in the town who cannot get out. When his grandfather recently passed away, Ozzie wanted to step up his contribution. Ozzie comments: “My grandfather has been involved in charitable organisations for many years. He went to three villages in Africa to help build a well for those that live there but who didn’t have access to clean water without having to walk 15km. “On my last visit before he passed away, he said you’ve got a great community behind you, do something to start giving back to them, and that’s where the idea started.” Ozzie ensures every penny collected goes to charity with any costs, expenses, bank or admin charges covered by his business. Which charities the money goes to is decided with the support of the whole community who vote on Facebook. Ozzie adds: “When we collected up the boxes we thought there was about £1,900 but when we took it to the bank there was just over £2,400, I couldn’t believe it. “Everyone has been so generous and the feedback has been amazing. We’ve had people coming into the shop, thanking me for putting the community first. I had one gentleman come in add £10 and another that gave me a brown envelope, which I had to wait until I had a witness with me to open! The support has been incredible. I just want to help as many local projects and charities as possible.” Asked what his grandfather would have thought of the new charity, Ozzie said: “He would have loved it. Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to meet him in a second life and tell him all the things I’ve been doing since that day I made him that promise and left the hospital.”

NORTECH FOODS HIDES HOLIDAYS IN BOXES OF SUPERIOR FRYING FAT This summer, Nortech Foods is showing support for fish and chip shops across the UK by giving three lucky businesses the chance to win a holiday as part of a giveaway aptly titled “A Plaice in the Sun”. Nortech is hiding three separate tickets – bronze, silver, and gold – in boxes of Superior Frying Fat, its refined and deodorised beef dripping. Each ticket is tied to a special holiday prize. The finder of the golden ticket will win a £2,000 TUI holiday voucher, the silver a £1,000 Tui voucher, and the bronze ticket a weekend break for two. Nortech has launched the giveaway to reward fish and chip shops following the many challenges they have faced over the last few years. The coronavirus pandemic combined with inflation and supply chain issues have forced business owners to find new ways of working, with many taking significant financial hits as a result. Commenting on the initiative, Leanne Green, sales and commercial manager at Nortech Foods, said: “We’ve seen first-hand just how difficult the challenges of the last few years have made things for the frying industry. “Despite this, we’ve been amazed by the commitment that our customers have shown in the face of adversity and their dedication to doing the best they can. From business owners through to the serving staff working at the frontline of the fish and chip industry, our Plaice in the Sun giveaway is our way of giving back and saying a

huge thank you to the people who make what we do possible.” A Plaice in the Sun will run from 13th June to 31st August.

Superior Frying Fat is one of Nortech’s best-known brands. Made from 100% natural British beef dripping, it has the advantage of being low in trans fats and non-hydrogenated.

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BLEND 30 Batter Mix

To celebrate 30 years of trading we have produced this special batter mix Blend 30. We have been passionate about making batter mix for over 50 years and in this Blend 30 we have used all of our expertise and skill to produce a product that is the best of the best. This celebration blend is the ultimate product for crispness, increased holding time and quality.

We hope you love it as much as we do. Leonard & Sylvia Middleton

• A unique blend of flours • Fries extra crispy with a light golden colour • Designed to sit longer in the holding cabinet • Ideal for take-away, restaurant and delivery

For a FREE sample please call 01902 608122 or visit www.middletonfoods.com

@MiddletonFrying

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SHOP FOCUS

D. Fecci & Son’s in the small coastal town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has a big reputation

Whenever a list is published of the best places to eat by the seaside, there’s one chippy that you can guarantee will always be on it - D. Fecci & Son’s with its 80-seater restaurant and takeaway. And the latest, written by food critic Jay Rayner and published by The Observer, didn’t disappoint. “We always say ‘aren’t we just so lucky?’. For a small seaside town, how the devil do we get there?” says Delmon Fecci, who owns the business with his brother Charles. Del - as he is referred to by his work colleagues - is being modest because D. Fecci has been an institution in the town ever since his grandfather Guiseppe opened up here 90 years ago. Like many Italians of that time, he walked from Italy across Europe, meeting and marrying his wife in Paris before continuing their journey to Wales together either by catching a train or thumbing a lift. Interestingly, when Guiseppe first showed an interest in the building, which had a price tag of £100, the seller wouldn’t sell it to “the Italians”. Not one to be deterred, they had a family friend buy it on their behalf for £1

under the asking price. “We gave him the £1 for his troubles,” says Del. With Guiseppe and his son Derek having passed away, it’s Del and his brother Charles who head up the venture, helped also by Del’s son. Del, in his 51st year with the shop, is front- of-house frying and serving while Charles, who is in his 43rd year, does the hard graft back of house, chipping locally grown spuds, cutting frozen at sea fish and making what Del describes as their “killer” fishcake. On a good day, they can sell well over 100. “Back in the day, what we used to do was have housewives make us stuff,” explains Del. “So we had one lady who used to make a fishcake and one lady who used to make faggots. Obviously, we could get fish, potatoes, oil and things and so we used to trade those and they would make them for us. The fishcake we serve now is based on that original recipe.” Del is full of quirky tales about his family, the business and his childhood, including one where he recalls learning to make mushy peas from an uncle in Loughborough.

“It’s quite a funny story in itself because I went to an Italian family to learn to cook proper mushy peas but Italians like to keep secrets and my uncle wouldn’t show me. I went out with his son to a nightclub and the next day I feigned a terrible hangover and sat in the kitchen dying. What I actually did was keep half an eye open so I could see how to make mushy peas! I came home, said ‘get me a pan’ and I’ve been cooking them ever since.” Those mushy peas aren’t just popular, they are biblical, says Del! Overfishing Del recalls how it was hake bought from a local port in Milford that was the shop’s staple in its early days. Overfishing unfortunately meant stocks eventually collapsed, a mistake Del is keen not to repeat by ensuring the cod he now buys is only ever from MSC certified fisheries. “Through ignorance I’ve lived through one species collapsing but I’m better educated than my parents ever were and hopefully my grandchildren will always have fish to sell.”

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SHOP FOCUS

With the future of the planet at stake, the shop is a founding member of Tenby’s Plastic Free movement and as such all packaging is paper and cardboard, biodegradable and/or compostable where possible. “Packaging is a nightmare to get hold of at the moment and prices are so expensive. But you’re either plastic free or you’re a muppet as far as I’m concerned. We’ve managed to ruin our planet so easily that a few pennies aren’t going to kill me, and my grandkids will hopefully thank me for it. We have to think about those that come after us.” Gluten free As well as fish, chips and those biblical mushy peas, D. Fecci is known for its Welsh rissoles, locally made faggots and its chicken curry that a Moroccan chef working for the restaurant next door helped Del perfect. One of its biggest success stories has been gluten free, however. Del explains: “We used to do vegetarian and about 20 years ago a couple came in and said they had eaten with us before but they were now gluten free. I thought what the bloody hell is that? We researched it a bit and changed vegetarian to gluten free. About two years later, one of my sons got diagnosed with coeliac disease so as he was growing up, once a week we would feed him something gluten free and as long as he wasn’t ill, we knew we were doing it right. It’s the most awful thing to admit to now but there was no

managed. Since Brexit it’s been horrendous. I used to have so many Eastern Europeans working here, Polish, Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks, but of course, with Brexit, that’s a non-starter.” “I’ve worked here for 51 years and I have never shut. Even during Covid we didn’t shut, we stayed open seven days a week. “We feel bad because we disappoint customers but there’s nothing else we can do. What we do now is prep a little bit every morning and then we wait to see what staff come in. If there’s enough, I’ll open, if not then I turn everything off and we go home. I know it sounds bad but if I can’t do it properly, I will not do it at all. There’s a limit and I will not sacrifice all these years of working hard just to turn rubbish out. It’s not going to happen.” Although Del officially retired last year, it’s a wonder if he’ll ever fully give up the reins - even his grandfather was still prepping potatoes at 84. He adds: “We have one of the most picturesque harbours anywhere. Every morning, I come to work and I stop for a minute, just to get the spirits lifted, and I look at the view. “It’s the best place to work and I think that helps us produce the food that we do. If you’re in a grump all day, every day, nothing good will come from it. Although it’s not that difficult because we use such good produce. If you start right, you can’t go wrong.”

way of anybody quantifying it back then.” Fast forward 20 plus years and it’s a very different story with D. Fecci’s gluten free options tested to reveal a negligible 3ppm gluten at the most. Del is not the only storyteller in this fish and chip shop; its 3 pan Preston & Thomas frying range, which his grandfather helped design in the ‘80s, has a life of its own, having been redesigned and rebuilt three times. Del adds: “As a kid, most people had cars and bikes to play with. When I was a kid, there was an old garage and I had my own three pan Preston I used to play on!” Another quirk Del reveals about his life is being born in the shop although he says it’s his great ambition not to die there. “I’ve bought a little house about a quarter of a mile away so at night I go home but that still means there’s a 50/50 chance,” he jokes. Staffing crisis Despite the current situation, Del remains upbeat about business with trade still good - when he’s open that is. The current staffing crisis has seen his team of 24 slashed to just six members. Somedays it means he closes the restaurant, others the takeaway too. He’s also moved to disposables in the restaurant due to an absence of a pot washer. “Where we are in a tourist location we’ve never found staffing easy, but we’ve always

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BIG INTERVIEW

It’s a murky picture but Howard Weston, commercial energy broker at Midland Business Solutions, sheds some light on what shops can do to tackle rising energy prices

Where are we at with energy prices? There is so much speculation but wholesale energy prices are still massively high, there are no two ways about it. Shops coming out of their contracts now aren’t going to get anything better than double their current rates. There may be slight fluctuations, but we’ve got to brace ourselves for at least another 18 months before we see any respite in prices. Should shops coming to the end of a fixed contract look at agreeing to a new one? This is an area that is causing some confusion because of what people are hearing in the news regarding home energy prices. Commercial energy and domestic energy are two completely

separate entities. Regarding home/ domestic energy, everyone knows there is no point being in a fixed rate contract as typically they are 30-50% more expensive than staying out of contract and on the variable rate, which is capped by the government. The commercial sector couldn’t be more different. Even though prices are massively higher at the moment, being out of contract for your commercial energy can be another 50-60% higher than being in a fixed rate contract. To keep it simple, your businesses must be in a contract. You mention the price cap on domestic energy, can you see this introduced for commercial energy? It would be a fantastic idea but I feel it’s very unlikely because it’s too big a hole

for the government to fill. It’s something like eight times the National Health budget. Unfortunately, our energy strategy over the last 20 years has been really poor. We’re the fifth-largest economy in the world and we haven’t looked after our energy requirements, which means we rely on importing an awful lot of our gas and electricity and we are paying the consequences now. What is your advice to shops coming to the end of a fixed contract? I’m seeing a lot of brokers selling longer-term contracts, but it doesn’t sit comfortably with me to have customers agreeing to three or four year contracts while the prices are at

the highest they’ve ever been. I would generally be happier with customers agreeing a two-year contract but,

“Even though prices are massively higher at the moment, being out of contract for your commercial energy can be another 50-60% higher than being in a fixed rate contract. To keep it simple, your businesses must be in a contract.”

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BIG INTERVIEW

could be the difference of £30,000 a year.

I’ve seen a few shops add solar panels, is this a realistic option? I’ve dealt with the electric contract for a shop that has just put solar panels on their roof. It is a significant outlay but if you’re in it for the long term, if you own the building and you have the roof space, it’s something to consider because electricity is never going to come back down to the prices it has been in years gone by. The electricity you generate you can sell back to the grid - although it’s a pittance at almost a fifth of what you currently pay for it - so it’s best to use that to power your own business and cut your own bills. What about an energy audit? It probably wouldn’t be top of my list because it adds a further cost to a business and I think the majority of operators know where they’re using most of their energy. It may be worth some of the bigger shops or those run by managers to look at it as they might not be quite so aware. An alternative is to get an energy display monitor, which is similar to a smart meter but it’s a small screen that shows how much energy you’re using at particular periods. It doesn’t change things drastically, but it makes you aware of when you are consuming the most energy for you to potentially make small changes. What should shops do if they get into trouble paying their energy bills? If you run into problems, putting your head in the sand is the worst thing you could do. Speak to your energy company and ask to be put onto a payment plan because if you stop paying or get behind, you’ll get red letters and then what starts to happen is they put extra charges on - late payment fees, disconnection letters, which could be £100 - and it just makes the whole situation worse. Paying by direct debit is always the cheapest way to pay, but if you cancel your direct debit all you’ll do is end up paying up to 7% more. So speak to your energy supplier, they will want to work with you.

sadly, three year contracts are cheaper than two years, and one-year contracts are even more expensive so I understand it’s difficult when the figures are put in front of people. But certainly, if you’re planning long term, I think two years is a better option for most people at this moment in time. Is there anything shops can do to tackle these price increases? Unfortunately, there is only so much a business can do and I think a majority will be doing everything they can anyway. If you’re in a fortunate position to be able to afford it, investing in newer, more energy efficient equipment such as frying ranges and fridges will be a huge benefit. You can

optimise your opening times and put LED light bulbs in but it’s only scratching the surface. Operators are swimming against the tide. There will be some shops who, through luck, came out of their contract last year, fixed for three years and are not being affected at all. But if you’ve come to the end of your contract in the last few months or you’re coming to the end of your contract in the oncoming months, you’re at the mercy of the market and you could be paying twice as much as your nearest competitor for your gas and electric, which

“If you run into problems, putting your head in the sand is the worst thing you could do.”

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Perfec Be prep DRYWITE ADDS comprehensive RANGE OF PIZZA UTENSILS Drywite has launched a range of pizza utensils and preparation equipment aimed at the growing number of operators adding this much-loved Italian favourite to their menus. Whether it’s deep-pan, thin and crispy or stuffed crust you want to serve, Drywite has all the equipment covered with pizza peels, turners, cutters, pan grippers, non- stick pans, stacking racks and screens. All are made from high-grade materials for strength and longevity.

WHAT’S NEW Tamper evident labels ensure consumer safety at a glance

Taking the worry out of anyone

interfering with packaged food before it reaches the recipient are Cambro’s StaySafe Tamper Evident Labels. Available through FEM (Foodservice Equipment Marketing), these single-use self-

Pe Drywite 01384 569556 www.drywite.co.uk Perfect P Be prepared for For more information pleas or email sales@drywite.c Pizza Preparation Equipment & Utensils made from high grade m Pizza Peels, Turners, Cutters, Pan Grippers, Non-stick Pans, St Exclusive Drywite range available from stockists around the UK Perfect Pizz Be prepared for the Pizza Preparation Equ Pizza Peels, Turners, C Exclusive Drywite rang For more information please call 01384 569556 or email sales@drywite.co.uk Pizza Preparation Equipment & Utensils ma Pizza Peels, Turners, Cutters, Pan Grippers Exclusive Drywite range available from stoc adhesive labels are perforated to break upon opening. If the label is damaged or the perforations broken the consumer can reject the item. The StaySafe adhesive sticks to most container surfaces, including Cambro GoBoxes, without messy residue. The labels are packaged for convenient dispensing through a cut-out slot, which prevents tearing or unrolling. Each label measures 30 x 50mm and there are 250 in each pack. They cost £205.00 per box of 24 rolls. FEM 01355 244111 www.fem.co.uk Heat up hot dog sales with Halal variety from country choice Hudson’s hot food-to-go concept has been extended to cater for the country’s 3.3 million Muslims with the addition of classic beechwood smoked flavour Halal hot dogs. The Halal hot dogs can be heated in a bain-marie for 25 minutes, oven steamed in a Gastronorm container for 20 minutes, or cooked in the microwave for just three minutes. They can be served in Country Choice’s fully baked, pre-sliced baguette that will defrost in two hours, and once on shelf can command an rrp ranging from £1.89 to £2.69. As well as hot dogs, the Hudson hot food-to-go range includes a BBQ Pork Ribuette, a flame-cooked pork rib steak, and the Burguette, a quarter- pound, flame-cooked beef burger offering a twist on a regular burger and bun. Branded display units, counter-top or floor- standing, and point-of-sale material are also available to boost interest. Country Choice 0344 892 0399 www.countrychoice.co.uk

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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

Access free sustainability resources on the Seafood From Norway website

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SURVIVAL

With shops juggling rising costs and customers cutting back, we look at what operators are doing so as not to drop a ball

“I haven’t altered anything, I haven’t downgraded my fish, my fat has doubled in price but I’ve not switched, and because I’ve not altered anything I’m quite happy to stand behind my prices. We had a price increase a few months ago with fish and chips going from £6.90 to £8 and I probably will have to put them up by another £1 at some point, but I will stand by it because I know I am putting out the best I can. There’s no point buying inferior fish or a different fish, our customers are used to what they are used to, that’s why they come back.” Keely Richardson, Frying Nemo, Carlton, Yorkshire “There’s not too much we can do right now but we have upped our staff training on portion control. Although we use the Hopkins chip scoops we noticed some team members were still overfilling them or adding a few extra chips to the large big bio boxes - I can see where the staff are coming from, it doesn’t look as much once in a box. We took in a dinner plate and showed staff how a portion looked and they could see it was plenty. We also took in a set of scales and got staff members to weigh their scoops and compare them to a portion we did using the scoop properly. The difference ranged from between 20g and 50g. On the first day after the training, we compared the amount of potatoes rumbled with the sales and noticed we would have used more chips at that point normally so that has made a big difference - and we’ve not had one customer say that there haven’t been enough chips.” Tiffany Irvine, The Fish Works, Largs, North Ayrshire

"Things aren’t too bad for us and that’s mainly because, during Covid, when VAT was cut to 5%, I still put away my VAT as if it was 20%. That’s helping a lot towards the increases we’re experiencing at the moment, for example, I’ve been able to forward buy my oil. And although I’ve put my prices up, I’m in a position where I’m able to absorb some of that cost because, as bad as it is for us, it’s an awful lot worse for a lot of our customers. That mentality is down to 30 years experience. If I go back 25 years, I wouldn’t have had savings. I had times when I had more going out than coming in but I learnt from that and I didn’t want to be in that situation again. I’ve also invested in a soft-serve ice cream machine, which we’re going to use with a quality Jersey milk, to replace the scoop ice cream that I’ve always served. It was a big investment but that will enable me to serve a product that has more profit in it so my food margin will be better and, because it’s a better product, I should serve more and spend per head will go up.” Fred Capel, Chez Fred, Bournemouth, Dorset

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SURVIVAL “It’s going to be a tough year, we’re already seeing a drop in sales because the rising cost of gas and electric means people can’t afford to go out. What’s made it harder is people have stayed at home the last two summers and not gone on holiday, now their priority is to save up and go abroad and I think that comes first before takeaways. We’ll have to sit tight and see how this summer pans out. I have just invested £23,000 in 54 solar panels. Currently, our electricity bill is £1,700 a month but when the contract comes up for renewal later in the year I’ve been told the cheapest I’ll get it is around £3,500 a month. I’m expecting the solar panels to save between £400-600 a month. We’ve had to look for ways to save money in the long term because we don’t want to keep putting our prices up, we want to keep them reasonable so customers keep coming back. With the profit margin so low on fish currently we are also trying to sell more of our homemade products, and sales are going pretty well. As long as we break even for the next two years I think I’ve done very well.” Emir Hikary, Hiks, Swansea

“Since Easter, our sales have dropped about 10-15% because people don’t have the money. We’re still serving the same amount of chips and sausages but we’re not serving the fish. If it’s not busy I’m putting the temperature down on my pans so I’m not burning my oil and I’m maybe keeping it for an extra day or so. We’ve tried selling coley and hake but it doesn’t work, people want cod. You can adapt as much as you can but if people aren’t coming in, they’re not coming in. We’ve got to see it out and hopefully in a year or two things will get better.” Tony Forgioni, Captain’s Fish & Chips, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire

“We’ve just put in a doughnut machine and we’re also creating a space to put in a pizza machine to try and offer our customers different things because there’s profit in those items whereas there isn’t much profit in fish at the moment. I do think things will get better but you can’t stand still, you have to keep evolving, you have to keep up with the trends and continually ask what can I do better and how can I bring more people in.” Maria Holmes, DJ’s Fish & Chips, Paignton, Devon

“It’s a testing time but I think we are set to be ok. We’re fortunate, we’re set in a relatively affluent area so we don’t have the issues some shops have. I made some good business decisions several years ago, for example, I only open in the evenings and my range is always busy range, we don’t have dormant times. I put the prices up about two months ago by 10%, which added 50p on fish and 20p on chips, and I’ll probably put them up another 10% next month because the price of fish and oil is quite scary. Potatoes are static and everything else we can kind of absorb because we do enough volume. We’ll see it through, the sad thing is some of the smaller chippies that aren’t doing the volumes will fall by the wayside, and they won’t survive. That will benefit us because people will still want fish and chips. It’s not what I want to happen, I’m happy with the way things are, but it looks like it’s going to be the reality.” Dan Edwards, Chips @No8, Prestwich, Manchester

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SHOPFITTING

Operators need to give more thought than ever to the layout of their shop in order to accommodate a new omni-channel business that includes walk-ins, click and collect customers and delivery drivers

At Churchill’s site in Eastbourne, 66% of its business is walk-ins, 13% click and collect and 21% delivery, and all three work seamlessly together. Walk-ins have the choice of counter service or self-service kiosks, while click and collect have their own lane and collection point. But the best part is that the delivery drivers go virtually unseen, using the back entrance to the shop, which eliminates the hustle and bustle and that feeling that in-store customers are any less important than virtual customers. It’s this flow of the shop that Barry Dickman, owner of shopfitting company BD Signs and B Digital, says is so important for operators to get right if they want to keep customers happy. He comments: “With the new era of click and collect and delivery, customers have numerous choices as to how they use your business, but the most important

choice is still ease of use. So when laying a shop out it is important to consider that the same consumer will now visit you and either look at the menu and order, pick up a collection or maybe negotiate delivery drivers. So you still need to prioritise the customer’s experience.” One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to remove delivery drivers from entering the shop, as in Churchill’s case. But if you don’t have easy access to the rear or a set up that easily facilitates this, another option is to reglaze part of your window to form a hatch where all click and collect and delivery drivers can collect their goods from. If it gets too busy with deliveries, operators have the option of reverting click and collect to inside, leaving only delivery drivers waiting at the window. “The reason you should look at removing the driver from the customer

experience,” says Barry, “is that some drivers may look or act intimidating because they have to create a living from delivering goods as fast and efficiently as possible so at times they may not be as courteous to your customers as they are so focused on their task.” Hatch Having a hatch at the front of the shop is something The Bay Fish & Chips in Stonehaven, Aberdeen, introduced during lockdown to keep customers out and staff inside safe. With customers back in the shop, the hatch is prioritised for click and collect customers and its delivery driver. Owner Calum Richardson comments: “We’ve dedicated a whole area where one person can control the dishing up and bagging up of click and collect and delivery orders on their own. They pass

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SHOPFITTING

they avoid the feeling from other customers that they are queue jumping.”

walked in, we couldn’t do both which meant we ran the risk of upsetting the walk-in customer. We just don’t have that problem anymore.” Chris Frangeskou, owner of Fish King in North Hykeham, Lincoln, has also changed the layout of his shop, putting in a dedicated click and collect entrance door and swapping his range that ran lengthways to an island range and counter that now span the width of the shop. This created more space behind the range where three staff now handle eight to ten click and collect orders every ten minutes. “The money we take on a Friday we would struggle to do that without click and collect and the layout changes,” says Chris. “It’s given us a lot more space, we don’t get in each others way, it’s been such a great change.” What ever changes you make to your business it is always important to remember your in-store customers, stresses Barry, adding: “These are the customers that have made the effort to come to you, so they should always be prioritised.”

Staff space It’s not only customers you need to think about when it comes to shop layout. In July last year, Paul Francetti completely overhauled the layout of his takeaway and 50-seater restaurant in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, to give staff more space to package up the growing number of deliveries. Paul switched from a counter range to a wall range, which gave him a 6m stainless steel counter with two serving areas - one for handling walk-in customers and the other for the deliveries. Paul comments: “It was something I was very apprehensive about because I’ve always had counter ranges. But it’s given us so much more space now and made the whole takeaway so much brighter.” He adds: “There’s no hold-up when serving takeaway customers and deliveries because staff have their own stations. Before, if we were serving a couple of deliveries and a customer

it out the hatch and off they go. “What it does is eliminate customers getting in a queue for 20 minutes when they don’t need to and it stops those customers in the queue getting annoyed because they think folk are trying to skip the queue. For a tourist spot like me, it’s perfect, because I find I lose a lot of my locals over the summer because they couldn’t get near the shop, but this way I can deal with both perfectly. “Even deliveries are easy because our driver stays in his car until we press ‘ready’ on the app and then he gets out and comes to the hatch. He doesn’t have to set foot in a busy shop.” There is something to be said for having your click and collect point in store, however, as it provides an opportunity to generate impulse sales or for customers to pick up items they may have missed off their order. In this case, have your high-impact advertising right where the click and collect point is and ensure your collection point is nearer to the beginning of the queue than the end. BD Signs’ Barry adds: “With good signage - a very simple arrow hanging from the ceiling will suffice - you can drive click and collect consumers to the front of the counter. This way they don’t walk through a queue and

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