National Fish & Chips Day: Peterborough shops still need your support

As we celebrate National Fish & Chips Day today (August 4) chippies across Peterborough say they still need the support of the public.

Friday, 4th September 2020, 5:01 am
Peterborough Telegraph 2019 Chip Shop of the Year winners Carl Smith, Trina Coles and Marcus Smith at Netherton Fisheries.

With the easing of lockdown, many people in the city have flocked back to their favourite outlets serving Britain’s most iconic takeaway, with many ‘chippies’ having found new ways to connect with their communities.

However, many outlets in the city say that there is still a long way to go until business returns to normal levels.

One particular problem has been competition from the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

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The scheme, which offered a 50 per cent discount on food and non-alcohllic drinks three nights a week across August, proved so popular that many restaurants have pledged to extend it beyond Monday’s deadline.

However, many local chip shops with no eat-in facilities do not qualify for the scheme and face increased competition, forcing business owners to be a little more creative.

Marcus Smith, who runs Netherton Fisheries said: “We’ve started a delivery service as we really wanted to help out some of the older members of the community and those shielding, it’s gone really well.

“We’ve also created a new website where customers can order online and ‘pick up in store’ and have launched a new gluten free range, available on mondays. We’ve had great feedback from our community.”

Netherton Fisheries have also been running a competition every day this week on their Facebook page to give away two free fish suppers.

Clancy’s of Eye have adopted a similar policy with owner Robert Cockerill running weekly competitions and fun riddles to keep the customers coming in.

He said: “Things are slowly returning to normal, all the suppliers are open again now and that makes things easier.

“We never really closed, just moved to three days a week. We now operate a call and collect service as I don’t think fish and chips travels well, we don’t want to compromise on the quality of our food.

“We are also offering free chips with any purchase to mark the day and encourage the local community to support us.”

A national survey of 2,000 UK adults carried out by UKCaravans4hire.com recently found that the while 59 percent of Brits say cod is their go to choice, mushy peas is the most popular sauce to accompany it.

The survey found that 25 percent preferred mushy peas, with curry sauce polling 19 percent and gravy 8.3.

Robert added: “Fish is definitely the best seller and still a favourite of the public, especially on a friday night but we pride ourselves on our curry sauce and that has proven very popular.”

While many seek a return to normal, there is a general acceptance that the Covid-19 pandemic will have a lasting affect on the takeaway industry.

BJ’s Plaice in Orton say they has seen the percentage of their orders that are deliveries rise to 90 percent.

A representative said: “ We are all adjusting the the new normal and I think people are used to it now. There’s much more demand for deliveries and I can’t see things ever going completely back to the way they were. We’re ok as trade it still good, which is helped by selling kebabs as well.”

Last year, the PR campaign around National Fish and Chip Day led to shops reporting record footfall and local outlets would massively benefit from this being repeated and they seek to get back on their feet after lockdown.