Fish and chip shops across the UK are gearing up for their busiest weekend of the year by pulling in extra staff and doubling their orders of fish and potatoes.
Shops are anticipating a boost in footfall as people continue the tradition of eating fish on Good Friday, with sales bolstered further due to favourable weather and an increase in staycations.
Temperatures are predicted to reach 24°C in parts of the UK this weekend, while research by VisitBritain shows that 7.4 million Brits are planning an overnight holiday trip in the UK this Easter weekend, 2.6 million more than last year, bringing an estimated £1.8 billion boost to the economy.
Richard Ord Jnr, owner of Colmans Seafood Temple in South Shields, Tyne & Wear, expects to be at full capacity. He comments: “Easter weekend will undoubtedly be our busiest weekend ever. It always is.
"For the people of South Shields, Good Friday is all about fish and chips and we see many people come into South Shields just for fish and chips.”
Richard hopes to beat last year’s record of opening at 11.30am and being full by 11.34am and is fully prepared, adding: “We’ve got a full team on and our fridges are full to the brim. You can never be over-prepared for the Easter weekend and if it’s sunny as predicted, we’ll use everything we’ve got.”
Fred Capel, owner of Chez Fred in Bournemouth, describes the conditions as “perfect” for fish and chip shops and predicts a 25% uplift in sales compared to a normal Friday. He comments: “It’s going to be incredible, the weather looks perfect for us and it’s not often you can say that about a bank holiday!
“The tradition of eating fish on Good Friday still stands for a lot of people. A lot of our increased business will be in the takeaway as our restaurant is usually full on a Friday and you can’t get any busier than full.
“I’ve made sure we have the strongest possible team on because the quicker we can serve people, the more people we can serve.”
Even inland shops like The Crispy Cod in Tonyrefail, Rhonda, are expected to do well.
Owner Mathew Williams predicts trade to be up 30-40% on a normal weekend and has doubled his food orders this week.
He comments: “Easter weekend is always good for us, although I expect Monday will be the busiest day as people tend to go to the seaside on a bank holiday and come to us on the way home. We’ve got an extra three members of staff on at the shops and we’ve ordered in more fish and potatoes to arrive Friday.”
At Fiddlers Elbow in Leintwardine, Herefordshire, owner Dominic Eusden says it’s all down to being organised, adding: “If the weather stays like this, it will be a really busy one and I think we stand to see trade up by 15% on Good Friday, and that’s people coming in purely for fish and chips.
“We’ve placed an order for extra fish, pies, sausages and potatoes and we’ve got an extra member of staff working in the evenings. I’m going to be in early myself doing the extra prep and I’m also planning on being on the customer side, taking the orders to take the stress off the member of staff on the till.”
Tony Forgione, owner of Captain’s Cod in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, meanwhile is using the uplift in trade over Easter to boost awareness of his National Fish and Chip Day promotion, which will see him offering fish, chips and tartare sauce for £5 instead of the usual £7.
“I feel like we should really pump National Fish & Chip Day and what better way to do this than shout about it on our busiest day of the year? I’ll have a poster up on Good Friday, advertising the fact we’re doing £5 fish and chips. We’ve done it for three years now and the first year we did it, sales were up 40%. So it’s a great opportunity to boost trade and let my customers know that they can enjoy fish and chips at a fantastic price.”