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It's oh so quiet

With most chippies hitting a quiet period around January and February, we take a look at what shops have been up to in order to help get through the new year lull

“For the last three to four years I’ve produced a leaflet which we’ve given out in December detailing our Christmas opening hours and on the back I feature a winter saver offer. This year it included our lighter options meals at a lower price, as I thought people would be thinking about healthier eating and smaller portions. We had 10,000 printed and also put the offer on our social media pages so customers could either bring in the flyer or show the message on their phone. We’ve found it’s something our customers tend to expect now and it means we don’t see the significant drop in trade that we used to. It doesn’t cost me any more as I’ve always produced a leaflet with my Christmas opening times on anyway and we find it attracts extra customers or customers buy more as they are using the offer.”

Mark Drummond, Towngate Fisheries, Idle, Bradford

“We did have some nights that were very quiet, even for January, but we found we bounced back the next night or had a good weekend of trade.

"Last year, I ran a promotion for January and February offering cod, chips and any side for £2 cheaper than usual, but I didn’t do it this year as I found it was the same customers coming in using it who would have come in anyway. Sometimes I don’t believe these offers benefit your business, although I’m sure many would disagree.”

Nick Damurakis, Athena’s, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

“We usually close at around 2pm until 4:30pm. But in recent years we’ve seen a slight shift in people’s shopping habits and takings in the later evenings have dropped a little. To make up for it, we trialled keeping the shop open right through to 9pm. The takings over the extra few hours have varied greatly but we’re averaging around the £60 mark. Yesterday we took £130! So overall, we’re looking at an extra £350 a week, which is great! We’re also right next door to a school, so we have just started to offer a 99p chip cone special over those extra hours only. That launched this week, so it’s too early to say how that has taken off.”

Samantha Finney, Foodcraft, Winsford, Cheshire

“We ran a weekday special Monday to Wednesday whereby customers could purchase a large cod, chips and peas for just £4.50. This was quite popular, but the downside was that fish prices went through the roof. We also ran a weekly competition where if people “liked” and “shared” our business page on social media, we would enter them in to a draw to win fish and chips for two. This proved popular too and, after to speaking to our suppliers and our potato merchant, we seem to have been busier than most, although prices going up seem to have cut a little profit overall.”

Matthew Orange, The Codfather, Northwick, Cheshire

“We have a good local trade, which keeps us going through the winter months and also we have caravaners who start appearing again in February and March. We don’t run any promotions, instead we use January to get all the big jobs done and all the deep cleaning, ready for starting the season again.”

Matthew Chambers, Pride of Bridlington, East Yorkshire

“We ran a “buy one, get one free” deal in the restaurant, which consisted of cod or haddock with chips, peas and tartare and curry sauce, and we exceeded expectations with sales up 40% on last year. We’re also offering black cab drivers a 50% discount on food as they get a lot of people who ask where the best place is for fish and chips, so it’s worth us doing it as they send a lot of punters our way.”

Pete Taylor, Mayfair Chippy, London

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