Battling a huge increase in costs they face a dilemma – will they drive their customers away if they put up counter prices? Would a price rise turn fish and chips into a luxury treat?
Just days ago the owner of popular Preston chippy Umberto’s announced his chippy was closing due to soaring costs. He said he hoped it would be a temporary closure.
At Jit’s Plaice on Ripon Street, Preston, owner Jitendra Panchal told how his costs have risen too. He said: “I would say costs are going up crazy. I bought fish recently and it had gone up £54 in a week for the fish I get – cod and haddock. Oil has gone up, everything is going up. I have just put prices up this week… I kept the same prices thoughout Covid.”
He continued: “Fish and chips used to be £3 now they are £3.50 for a regular fish and £4 for a large fish. Chips are £1.50 regular and £2.50 large. You can’t put prices up too much, so we’re making less money, we are taking less money wages wise. You’ve got to look after your regular customers.”
He cited how cooking oil had gone from £14/£15 a box to £20 and said suppliers had advised it would rise to £30. He predicted his fish bill would be £50 higher next week.
At the Top Chippy on Market Place, Longridge, owner Jayne Lambert said she fully understood what the Umbertos’ boss was saying. She said: “I’ve got the same problem and every other fish and chip shop has got it at the moment. Prices are increasing astronomically You can only put the price so much because customers can only afford so much. We’re all in the same boat. We do smaller portions for those with smaller appetites £3.80 for fish and chips and that’s become much more popular.”
The regular portion at Top Chippy costs £6.30. Looking ahead to rises in charges for gas and electricity she said: “What we’re going to do with prices I don’t know … that’s one bridge we have to cross.”
At Andreas Fish and Chip Shop on Liverpool Road, Penwortham proprietor Andreas Evangelou said:”Our raw materials have gone up 30 per cent and some costs have doubled. I’ve been here 30 years. I have never witnessed such a large increase. ”
He cited examples ranging from the pack of the dried peas going up from £10 to £20 , polystyrene trays rising from £10 to £20 a pack and the cost of wrapping paper more than doubling. Andreas prides himself on serving large fish portions and charges £6.30 for fish and chips.
He said: “We are contemplating putting prices up. We are trying to look after our customers...We have to do it but we are a bit frightened because this time of the year we are quiet. If we put 10 per cent on fish you’re talking like 40p a fish it’s bound to be looked upon as a negative thing by the customers. Fish and potatoes go up and down, but when other things go up they don’t tend to put them down.”