Not just for Fridays: fish & chips industry innovates to stay afloat

As the hospitality industry opens back up and Brits celebrate finally being able to reunite in restaurants and bars once more, quintessentially British dish, fish and chip, should be high on the menu after research from Flipdish revealed it’s one of the hardest hit sectors of the industry.

The chippie has established itself at the heart neighbourhoods all around the UK – indeed, 32% got regularly involved with their local communities before the pandemic hit. Almost one in four (23%) knew their regulars by name and 34% regularly engaged in small talk with their punters – not surprising given that pre-pandemic, three quarters (75%) of fish and chip shops saw their regulars at least once a week.

However, a third of Brits (34%) stopped ordering fish and chips during pandemic – a worrying trend which led to 60% of owners worrying about going out of business at least once a week. Unlike other restaurant takeaway options, fish and chips is a cuisine that two thirds (66%) of customers like to order and pick up in person – something that has been unsafe during lockdown. As a result, 93% of fish & chip sellers around the UK believe national and local governments should do more to support them, especially after research that shows that nine out of ten (91%) of Brits believe that fish and chips are an integral part of British culture. Indeed, recent stats have shown that there are approximately 8,500 fish and chip shops across the UK, making British fish and chips the nation’s favourite take-away.

In order to survive during the pandemic, many chippies have turned to third party aggregators such as UberEats, Deliveroo and JustEat to help deliver food to customers, but over half (52%) have said that food delivery platforms take too big a cut of revenue, and 41% struggle with poor customer service from them.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom; despite this stat, 41% have found that the pandemic affected them positively. Whilst 89% invested in digital tech offerings to help overcome Covid challenges, 68% created their own digital ordering system to modernise their business, streamline the ordering process and keep their regulars safe with allocated pick-up times and loyalty schemes.

Andrew Crook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers said: “Fish and chips are the undisputed national dish of Great Britain; steeped in history and still loved and enjoyed by customers across the UK on a regular basis. A cultural and culinary symbol of our country that is instantly recognised as British the world over, its sellers continue to be an important part of every community. The industry that has been hit particularly badly by the pandemic, but an incredible have managed to continue serving their customers by innovating their ordering and delivery offering that’s sure to set them up for years to come.”

Fionn Hart, UK Country Manager of Flipdish, said: “Fish and chip shops have historically been synonymous with in-person ordering and pick up, but we’ve seen a real increase in demand for digital ordering as a result of the pandemic. Whilst third party aggregators have negatively affected many of their bottom lines, it’s become evident that bespoke digital offerings such as apps or web solutions Flipdish offer have a whole host of additional benefits, from streamlining their businesses, reducing waiting time for customers and even helping develop marketing and loyalty campaigns for regulars. Fish and chips are such a vital part of UK culture, and we hope to continue helping them thrive in the post-pandemic world.”

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