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Catering for Christmas

With trade picking up year-on-year over the festive period, Krispies has already planned its opening hours and, more importantly, its staff party!

Over the years we’ve definitely become busier and busier in the build-up to Christmas, mainly due to increasing changes in people’s lifestyles and working hours. To ensure we’re there to give everyone their fish and chips fix (and something other than turkey), we open our business 362 days of the year, closing only Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. We have in the past closed on the occasional Christmas Eve when our children were younger as we felt there should always be a work-life balance for all. In between Boxing day and New Year’s Day, we open reduced hours as this allows our staff some time with their families.

Working out the rota over Christmas can sometimes be tricky to balance, but we’ve found that people with younger children tend to want Christmas Eve off, so in that case, they work New Year’s Eve. We find the young adults and people without children would prefer to have New Year’s Eve off anyway so it’s a balance that works well.

For us, we tend to see trade steadily increase from Black Friday onwards. There are a lot of extra people out late night shopping and busy lifestyles along with Christmas parties make cooking at home more of a chore. So this works in our favour!

After Christmas, as with all businesses, we see a slight dip in trade for the first couple of weeks, but once things have settled after Christmas and people are back in their normal routines, trade starts to gain pace again.

As for marking Christmas on the menu, we tend to do a monthly special with a festive feel. Last year, we did brie wedges with cranberry dip and the year before we did pigs in blankets with cranberry. Both were extremely popular and I would definitely recommend them.

The new range going into Krispies Click & Collect and Delivery, due to open late November

This January, we made a much bigger thing of grilled fish when we launched a Go Grilled section on our website and menu. We’ve always offered grilled fish but we didn’t shout about it. When we invested in our new grill last year as part of the refit, we purposely waited to launch it in January as we were very aware of dietary habits and New Year’s resolutions. It’s gone down really well and it’s allowed us to tap into a huge Slimming World community we have in Exmouth, too. Although we can still be quiet in the first few weeks after Christmas and New Year, this picks up some of that slack and keeps the customers coming in.

Of course, it can’t be all work, work, work, there has to be some downtime and a chance for us to say thank you to our staff for all their hard work throughout the year. We believe that investing in the staff outside of the business allows them to be themselves and relax with colleagues. So we usually close on the second Sunday of December, which tends to be the quieter day out of the month but is close enough to still feel Christmassy, and all have a night out. Having said that, this year, due to the new Krispies Click and Collect & Delivery opening in late November, we have moved this forward to the middle of November.

We’ll certainly have lots to celebrate, not just the second shop opening but the return of our or managers Darren and assistant manager Rob, who are out in Japan frying fish and chips for the thousands that turn out for the annual British Food Fair at the Hankyu department store in Osaka. They are doing fantastically well, it’s been hard work so they tell us, but they are also getting to experience the culture whilst they are out there. We are very proud of them for doing a sterling job representing not only our brand but also the industry.

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