A crispy battered cod and vinegar-drenched chips are well loved on fish and chip shop menus, but as fish and potato prices continue to surge, it’s become critical to look at other ways to increase margin.
We asked some of the UK’s most innovative shops to tell us how they are diversifying their offer to increase sales. Here’s our top picks – why not try them on your menu?
And don’t forget, many of the ingredients are stocked at JJ Foodservice!
Our Top 9 ‘Alternative’ Dishes for Fish and Chip Shops
1. Chicken Curry – a homemade chicken curry is quickly making it’s way onto the best-sellers list for many fish and chips shops. It’s a great way to use up leftovers, helping to reduce waste.
One business we spoke with started cooking up curry for staff and it tasted so good, they ended up putting it on the main menu – they now sell a portion of chicken curry with a small carton of chips for £5.50.
Low cost, high margin – chicken curry is proving to be a hit with fish and chip shops
2. Battered Haggis – Up in the North, battered black pudding, battered haggis and battered white pudding are making mouths water. You can ask your local butcher for a sample and if you mention you are a local business, you may even be able to get better prices. Mobile caterers Strathearn Food Company sell plenty of lip-smackingly tasty haggis ‘fritters’ with chips (pictured below).
Deep fried haggis and chips – a popular option if you are based up North
3. Slow-Cooked Beef Pie – encouraging customers to come to your shop more than once a week is key to increasing sales – at Halifax-based Hird’s Family Fisheries, homemade beef pies are flying out the door! “People come in to buy their usual fish and chips and grab a few pies to enjoy the next day”, explains shop owner Adam Hird.
Adam sells 150 homemade beef steak pies every week!
4. Loaded Chips – we think nothing goes better with chips than a crispy, battered cod, but there are some equally tasty, margin-boosting chip toppers out there.
The team at Strathearn Food Company offer ‘loaded chips,’ which include toppings like 24-hour pulled pork chilli; cheese and sour-cream and Piri piri and cheese (pictured above) which owner, Steven McPhee, says are their bestsellers. The meaty options go for between £6-7 while the veggy alternatives cost £4.
5. Halloumi Fries – this year consumers got very excited about Halloumi – Nando’s announced the introduction of Halloumi sticks (five for £3.70) and there was almost mass hysteria when a rumour spread about there being a Halloumi shortage.
Halloumi fries from Weymouth-based Bennett’s Fish and Chips, a JJ customer
Consumers clearly love this cheesy treat and it’s SO easy to make. Simply cut Halloumi into thin batons, coat in flour and fry! It makes the perfect side dish, starter or stuffed into a pitta for a takeaway option.
6. Hearty chilli – low in cost and high in flavour, a filling, fiery chilli is a warming winter option which some fish and chip shops are having success with. Serve on chips, jacket potatoes or rice. The best part, it’s easy to make in large batches, keeps for a few days and freezes well.
Hird’s brioche burgers are a best seller
7. Premium burgers –Many of the fish and chip shops we engaged with said that fish burgers were a popular grab and go option. Add a brioche bun, handful of rocket and a squeeze of lemon (pictured above) for the perfect premium fish burger option.
If you want to include beef options too but don’t have the time to make it from scratch – why not try our ‘Signature’ burger range.
Or our fried chicken fillets (pictured below), are perfect in wraps or brioche, with chips or even just with salad!
Our Crispy Southern Fried Chicken (CHI264) is a best-seller and just £12.99/2kgs
8. Freshly made wraps – we were impressed to see some fish and chip shops making their own wraps from scratch! All you need is flour, water and baking powder. But if you don’t have time to get knuckle deep in dough, choose from a wide range of ready-made wraps.
Chicken wrap from JJ’s customer Wraps and Wings
9. Vegan fish? We love the story about Sutton and Sons selling a fish-alternative suitable for vegans on their menu. But if you don’t have easy access to banana blossom, seaweed and samphire (which are apparently the main ingredients used to create the fish-like texture and taste) then why not include some other vegan options like onion rings and chips, homemade lentil curry, hummus wraps? Get inspired with our list of vegan-friendly ingredients.
‘Specials’ Menu Helps This Chippy to Thrive!
We interviewed Adam Hird (pictured below), owner of Award-winning Hird’s Family Fisheries in Halifax on how alternative dishes are driving sales for his shop
Adam is the owner of the Award-winning Hirds Family Fisheries
“At Hirds, we are always trying new things and have lots of passion behind what we do”, says Adam. In addition to his staple fish and chip offer, the Halifax-based shop has started selling homemade steak pies.
Meaty: Adam makes his pies in 8kg batches!
“It’s a great way to get people coming to the shop more than once a week”, he explains. “Customers will buy their usual fish and chips, plus a cold pie or two for the next day.”
Adam uses Yorkshire beef and slow roasts the meat for three hours. The pies are prepared in 8kg batches using foil trays and a glazed pastry crust.
“We sell 150 pies a week! It costs us around 70p per pie and we sell them for £2.55, so that’s a good margin for us”, he says.
“These really helped us to attract people with vegetarian or vegan diets, why let them go anywhere else?”
Hird’s adds Panko bread crumbs for an extra crunchy fishcake
Adam runs free ‘tasters’ once a month to help decide what dishes will make the specials menu next.
All homemade dishes are promoted on social media and the business recently launched a new website (with FOODit) where customers can order online for collection or delivery.
“We all must work hard and have passion if we want to thrive in this challenging market,” he says.
This month Adam is doing free sampling on chorizo fries & pesto mayo (right) and black pudding fries and apple sauce (left)
Expert view: Craig Maw, Owner (left), Award-winning Kingfisher Fish & Chips (Plymouth)
Craig Maw & Nikki Mutton, owners of Kingfisher, Best Fish & Chip Shop 2017. This year Kingfisher partnered with JJ’s for its Trade Days
“The introduction of ‘home made’ dishes are becoming more common on fish and chip shop menus as shops look for their Unique selling point. We make our own fish cakes, mushy pea fritters and tartar sauce. We also introduce ‘specials’ which is made entirely by us, like fish pie for instance. These ‘special’ lines will always be at a higher margin or increased spend.”
Margin-Makers from Tim Moncaster, Owner, The Chip Inn (Whitwell)
The Chip Inn’s MEGA box generates lots of interest on Facebook
We always make sure there are fresh buttered cobs on the counter (JJ’s Letsdough 5″ floured) in customer view, this can generate an extra 60p sale! We stopped putting ketchup bottles on the counter and switched to the Heinz squeeze me pouches turning a cost in to profit. In the hot box we keep onion rings, which fly out the door. We sell them in small portions as an ‘add on’.
We use The FOODit online ordering system for online sales which is brilliant because most customers that order take up the optional extras on burgers and wraps. It’s helped to bring extra customers in from outside of our area.
Sharing is caring: Tim’s fish feast!
We recently introduced two Big Box meals (pictured above). We saw a similar idea featured on social media by other shops and thought we should join in. They are good sellers and we get a lot of posts on our Facebook page when we post them.
For more information on how to diversify your menu get in touch with the JJ team. We are happy to help!
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