Cheers to Chips
Chip Week, a long-established annual promotional week run by the Potato Council, provides a great opportunity for chip shops, pubs, restaurants and other catering establishments to promote their chips and increase revenue.
Returning for its 24th year in 2015, Chip Week will run from 16-22 February and will once again be supported by a high-profile PR campaign, across various media platforms including national and regional press and across social media platforms.
Choice Chip Awards
A key part of Chip Week is the ‘Choice Chip Awards’, which recognises and rewards the best chips being served in pubs and restaurants throughout the country, as voted for by customers. Winning the award provides a fantastic boost to business, generating press and radio interest for the winning foodservice establishment.
With the deadline only days away (9 February), it is probably too late to sign up for the Awards now, as votes have been pouring in since October. If you serve chips, it is worth making a note in your diary to sign up for Chip Week 2016 in October 2015 and encourage your customers to vote for you. All information can be found at lovepotatoes.
Kate Cox, Potato Council marketing manager, says: “Whether you serve hand cut, home-made chips, chunky wedges or skinny fries, taking part in Chip Week should be high on your agenda. While chips already offer good margins, Chip Week brings a real boost to business and offers the perfect platform to drive sales and increase revenue, while encouraging consumers to celebrate the everpopular chip.
“It is never too early to start planning and looking at ways your business can benefit: from introducing Chip Week-themed menus or special promotions, to entering the hotly contested Choice Chip Awards. Remember, using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is a great way to promote your activities during Chip Week and tempt diners through the door.”
Top tips for chip week
- Run a chip-themed menu with a selection of chips such as thick, skinny fries and gourmet – or a chip-sharing platter with different dips and sauces
- Run a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ (BOGOF) offer in your local paper
- Plan a charity fundraiser, making a donation to a local cause for chips sold during Chip Week
- List all Chip Week activity on your website and link to www.chips.lovepotatoes.co.uk
- Encourage customers to join in chip celebrations via Facebook and Twitter
Choice of chips
From lattice-style chips to spicy wedges, the opportunity to deliver an exciting chip-themed menu is endless. Kate adds: “A mix-and-match chip menu is a great way to support Chip Week 2015; not only will it boost chip sales, customers have the opportunity to choose their favourite style of chip.
“There are plenty of ways caterers can deliver a successful mix-and-match chip menu. For example, herbs and spices are a great addition to potato wedges, from Indian and Cajun flavours to combinations such as rosemary & Parmesan and lemon & garlic. Offering chip toppings such as cheese and guacamole will also boost your mix-and-match menu. Condiments too are important – from the usual salt, vinegar, ketchup and mayonnaise to the less predictable sour cream and salsa – any of these will help to heighten the chip eating experience for the customer.”
What’s more, as customers become increasingly interested in the food they eat, why not include information on the menu such as the variety of potato and cooking method – it is a great way to boost customer confidence and increase sales as a result.
The first fish and chip shop in the North of England is thought to have opened in about 1863 in Mossely, near Oldham, Lancashire. Mr Lees sold fish and chips from a wooden hut in the market and later transferred the business to a permanent shop across the road which had the following inscription in the window: ‘This is the first fish and chip shop in the world’.
However in London, it is said that Joseph Malin opened a fish and chip shop in Cleveland Street within the sound of Bow Bells in 1860. In the East End of London, a 13-year-old boy called Joseph Malin had the bright idea of combining fried fish with chips. To increase the family income they began frying chips in a downstairs room of their house.
Fish and chips were served in newspaper until the 1980s. Serving fish and chips this way kept prices low, but in the 1980s it was ruled unsafe for food to be touching newspaper ink. Now fish and chips are wrapped in a layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of newspaper if wished.
The longest running fish and chip shop still in operation is based in Yeadon near Leeds. The shop trades under the name ‘The Oldest Fish & Chip Shop in the World’. It is believed that fish and chips have been served from the premises continually since 1865.
Fish and chip shops were originally small family businesses, often run from the ‘front room’ of the house and were commonplace by the late 19th century.
The Territorial Army prepared for battle on fish and chips, provided in special catering tents erected at training camps in the 1930s.
Fish and chips played a part in the D-Day Landings. British soldiers identified each other by crying out ‘fish’ and waiting for the response of ‘chips’.
Fish and chips were the only takeaway not to be rationed during World War II. Frederick Lord Woolton, Minister of Food at the time, even allowed mobile frying vans to carry fish and chips to evacuees around the country.
Fish and chips became so essential to the diet of the ordinary man and woman that one shop in Bradford had to employ a doorman to control the queue at busy times during 1931.
- Over 247 million servings of fish and chips are sold in the UK each year at chip shops
- The average spend in a fish and chip shop is £3.22 – less than half the average price we Brits spend on a takeaway curry. Chinese food is around 86% more expensive than a meal from the chippy, while a pizza is 89% more expensive.
- There are over 27 million visits to fish and chip shops every month
- A survey of 1000 adults shows ‘chip shop chips’ are the nation’s favourite chips, with nearly half (45%) of all respondents putting them first, followed by French fries (16%), oven chips (14%), potato wedges (8%), crinkle cut chips (7%) and curly fries (7%).
- The annual spend on fish and chips in the UK is in the region of a staggering £1.2 billion
- Studies show that where we live affects our chip choices; people in the South prefer salt and vinegar, while the Scots are more likely to choose curly fries. People in the Midlands have a fondness for curry sauce and cheese with their chips; the Welsh are more likely than other regions to eat their chips straight from the oven; and a quarter of Londoners favour the French fry.
To create the perfect chips, the Potato Council recommends using a potato variety that produces a fluffy, light centre when cooked. Varieties such as Maris Piper or King Edward are ideal and will help to make your chips taste great. For more information on understanding the different tastes and textures visit lovepotatoes.
Chip Week recipes
To support caterers looking to get involved in Chip Week, Potato Council has developed a range of inspirational chip-based dishes for 2015. Brand new recipe ideas for this year include Spicy Tomato and Bean Stew with Garlic and Parsley Chips, ‘Thai Turkey Burger with Sweetcorn Salsa and Chips’, and ‘Pork Schnitzel with Paprika and Mixed Herb Chips’.