Quality counts and consistency is king, says Kingfisher’s Craig Maw
One piece of advice which was given to us when we bought Kingfisher Fish & Chips a little over four years ago was this: “Above all things, be consistent,” and it’s something I would like to share with you.
There are those who may be preparing to enter the National Fish & Chip awards this spring. Or who are in preparation for a busy season. No doubt you will be looking at what you do in your businesses to stand out from the crowd. It is great to have your own USP, your own story. But don’t neglect the basics, the way you run your business!
Your operating standards need to be excellent and your fish and chips need to be delicious. Not just to impress a mystery diner or a special visitor occasionally. They need to be consistent for your customers; in our trade consistency is king.
So how do we achieve consistency? There is no doubt about it, we are up against it. To produce fish and chips we use four basic, but high quality, ingredients: fish, potatoes, flour and oil. These ingredients are natural and, therefore, have their natural variances. What that means is that if you are not consistent in your operations, you are really fighting a battle.
In our shop we use digital timers for as much as we can. When we peel potatoes, we use a timer. When we treat our chips, we use a timer. For our batter, we use a mixer, and we know that a specific amount of flour, with a certain amount of water for a set amount of time will produce a consistency which we are happy with. In fact, every product we cook has a cooking time and process to it. Everything is written down, nothing is left to chance.
To be as consistent day in day out, throughout the year means systems and procedures are vital.
With this in mind, if something goes wrong with any aspect our product, all we have to do is trace back our actions and go back to basics. Of course, this isn’t fool-proof and doesn’t take into account seasonal variances, but it gives us a good base to work with. Without these operational practices we would be winging it on every shift and that wouldn’t give us the consistency we demand.
It also means training our team on our systems and our procedures is easier and more straight-forward. We have everything written down and laminated for quick reference.
Another example is a telephone script for how we want the telephone to be answered. It covers all eventualities and, provided the script is followed, it is professional and simple and does the job well.
My point is this; everything we do is about giving our customers the best experience possible all the time, consistently. Not just for an award, a season or a mystery guest, but all the time.
It’s easier and better to run a business in this way — eventually! It will be hard at first, instilling routines into your shop and team, however, putting everything in place will pay off. Like a well-oiled machine, every part will know its place and what it has to do to run smoothly.
Now is the time to look at what you do, put into place systems and procedures or make your existing ones better. Run your shop by them and I guarantee you will have a better business as a result.