With reports that a third of fish and chip shops could close due to soaring energy and food prices, making a saving here and a saving there could help balance the books. Some will require a little investment and not all will suit your business, but being open to working more efficiently is essential right now.
1. Get a set of scales and a sharp knife and cut your fish to an exact weight. Creating a template fish that all others should replicate can really help. Use any off-cuts in homemade items like fishcakes, croquettes or kids' fish bites to maximise profits.
2. Fill peas, beans, curry sauce and gravy just short of the lid to save just a little. This will also create less mess and spillages.
3. Drywhite chips to ensure any leftovers can be carried over to the next day. Make sure you read the instructions carefully and that stock rotation is clear so these are used first.
4. If you've got a pan on just for a few small items, try using a basket in a pan that is already getting used heavily and close that spare pan off to save on gas.
5. Turn heater cabinets off on your range when not in use to save on energy.
6. LED lights use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs so fit them throughout the entire shop.
7. At the end of a shift unplug anything that is not necessary as some equipment will draw energy simply by being plugged in. Turn any devices off standby mode, such as menu screens, and educate your staff so they are energy aware too.
8. Consider investing in energy display monitors to see what pieces of equipment are consuming the most energy and at what times. This will help you identify any changes that can be made to help reduce this.
9. Investing in energy-saving equipment such as frying ranges, fridges, freezers, bottle coolers and boilers will not only result in lower running costs but may also enable you to claim capital allowances which reduces the amount of tax you pay. You could also reduce your tax bill by applying for schemes to help you demonstrate that you’re operating more efficiently and producing waste that’s less damaging. Check out the details at www.gov.uk/green-taxes-and-reliefs
10. Regularly defrost your fridge and freezer, as the more they ice up the more energy they will use. Make sure they are running at the correct temperatures (-18C for your freezer, 3C for your fridge and 1C for your fish fridge) and bear in mind that a full freezer is more economical to run as the cold air does not need to circulate as much, so less power is needed.
11. Endocube devices placed on your refrigerator’s thermostat sensor can save between 15-30% on refrigeration bills. They work by using the temperature of stored food to control the refrigeration cycle, rather than relying on fluctuating air temperatures.
12. Get paid for used cooking oil. Speak to your wholesaler or a reputable collector, such as Olleco or Arrow Oils, as you could be getting up to 70p per litre back. Make sure oil is stored correctly, safely and securely and that you receive and retain a waste transfer note.
13. Lots of lemons left over? Cut them into wedges and freeze while still fresh. These can be added to drinks instead of, or as well as, ice.
14. Put a lid on boiling pans as this can save up to half the energy. Turn off the gas half way through cooking and let items cook in the residual heat. Make sure you temperature probe to ensure they are up to a safe temperature.
15. Let over mushy peas? Make into pea fritters ready to batter and fry the following day.
16. Cooking to order will help reduce wastage but if you have a hot box of food ready and at the end of the night you have excess, look at food-sharing apps like Too Good To Go where you can sell surplus food at a much-discounted rate, still bringing in a few pounds.
17. Speak to your local council and see if there is any small business support funding available, including sustainable business growth grants. You will generally need to submit supporting evidence to apply.
18. Don’t forget the government’s super-deduction runs until March 2023, offering 130% first-year capital allowance for qualifying plant and machinery assets and a 50% first-year allowance for qualifying special rate assets. Find out more at www.gov.uk/guidance/super-deduction
19. Pizza is highly profitable but don’t just think whole pizzas. Serve by the slice at lunchtime with chips. It’s more affordable and likely to sell for lunchtime trade, plus the profits are higher compared with selling a full pizza.
20. Keep in regular contact with your suppliers and make the most of their promotions. And ask what free support they can offer whether it’s free samples or posters to drive sales.
21. Think about pushing your back bar sales - items that are not cooked or heated so do not command VAT. Bread rolls and pickled eggs are high profit, low cost items, but why not step it up with a pot of cockles, clams or mussels?
22. Randomly weigh bags of potatoes to make sure you are getting what you are paying for and use a timer to make sure you don’t over-rumble your spuds and lose valuable product.
23. Chip scoops and boxes used correctly will help address portion control and can make a significant difference to what you give away.
24. Increase revenue by signing up to delivery platforms and serving a wider area. If you already do this, perhaps it’s time to think about converting your customers over to your own app, which could save you thousands in commission.
25. Looking to buy new accountancy, CRM or e-commerce software? The government’s Help to Grow: Digital scheme is still open for applications, offering a discount of up to 50% or £5,000 (excluding VAT) towards the cost of buying approved software. Find out more at www.learn-to-grow-your-business.service.gov.uk
26. Contact your energy company to see if they offer schemes or grants to help you improve your business energy efficiency, which can reduce costs. For example, some offer subsidies on the upfront costs for more energy-efficient equipment. Some even offer business hardship funds.
28. If you offer click and collect, why not add an offer to the bottom of customers' receipts offering a 10% or 15% discount on any additional items they purchase on pick-up?
29. Train your staff in up-selling and cross-selling. One extra bottle of drink or carton of mushy peas per order will soon add up across the month.
30. Keep your oil in optimum condition by filtering regularly so it lasts longer. If equipment allows, filter during shifts to save time either before a shift starts or at the end of a shift.
31. Remove items from the menu that don't sell or that aren't profitable as this will streamline staff prep and increase simplicity while also freeing up freezer space for those items that do sell.
32. Keep communicating with your customers and ensure the message remains positive, hammering home how fish, chips and mushy peas is a high quality, great value, nutritious and substantial meal that compared with other takeaways cannot be beaten.