Industry sector:

Fish and chips: What to sell

Eat-in or takeaway

An important decision to make is whether you will sell meals to eat in as well as to take away. Space is an issue here - you will need more space if you want to offer eat-in facilities. You'll probably need extra staff as well.

How big will your menu be

You may decide, like some traditional chip shops, to focus heavily on fish and chips, with a range of side dishes such as mushy peas and a few alternatives to fish like pies and sausages. You might offer a choice of fish - favourites include:

  • cod
  • hake
  • plaice
  • haddock

Cod is the most popular choice in England and Wales while Scottish customers tend to prefer haddock.

Bear in mind that customers have become increasingly concerned to eat fish from protected or sustainable sources.

Some other types of fish you could serve include huss (dogfish or 'rock salmon'), pollack, hoki, ling, squid and even salmon. In some areas battered cod's roe is popular and both scampi and calamari (squid) feature on many chip shop menus.

Other typical chip shop items that you might serve include pies, pasties, rissoles, fish cakes, sausage rolls, sausages and so on.

You might decide to serve a range of other dishes. Pizzas, kebabs, burgers, jacket potatoes, hotdogs, soup and deep fried chicken pieces are now commonly served in chip shops. Some chip shops offer vegetarian products like veggie burgers, cheese and onion pasties and mushroom pies. Curries and Chinese dishes are also to be found served alongside fish and chips. Remember that you may need extra equipment to serve some types of food. Check that you have the space for this and consider whether you will sell enough items to justify the initial investment.

Other things that you might sell include small items like pickled eggs and sauce portions, hot and cold drinks (alcoholic if you have a licence), cakes and confectionery.

Think about what portion sizes you'll offer too - many chip shops serve both regular and large portions of fish and chips and other items. Remember that there's a lot of pressure now to produce less fattening meals. Cutting the size of the portions of chips makes a fish and chip meal less calorific and more attractive to people watching their weight. Think too about offering children's portions so that the whole family can eat out at a reasonable price. It might be an idea to offer easy to handle snack-type items like fish goujons for people who want to eat something on-the-go.

Estimating the average 'spend'

When you're working out your Cash sales, you need to make an estimate of how many items each person might typically buy. As part of your market research notice what happens in other fish and chip shops. This will help you to decide what the average 'spend' in your business may be.

For example, you may estimate that, for every 20 customers who buy a portion of chips at £1.95*:

  • 4 will have fish or a similarly priced item @ £4.50 each = £18.00
  • 6 will have a pie or a similarly priced item @ £2.75 each = £16.50
  • 11 will have a soft drink @ £1.00 each = £11.00
  • 4 will have a hot drink @ £1.50 each = £6.00
  • 5 will have curry sauce @ £1.45 each = £7.25
  • 2 will have mushy peas @ £1.45 each = £2.90
  • 2 will have a buttered roll @ £0.65 each = £1.30

Based on the above estimates and prices, you would receive £39.00 from these 20 customers for the chips sold plus £62.95 for the other items, giving a total of £101.95.

£101.95 divided by 20 customers = £5.10 average 'spend' per customer.

*All figures on this page are included for illustrative purposes only