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What Does Good Customer Service Look Like For Local Chip Shops?

By Stephanie Lowndes on September 19th, 2022

Fish and chip shops have been common on UK high streets for decades. Who doesn’t love the smell of salt and vinegar hitting fresh-cooked fish and hot chips before they are wrapped in paper? There is also something very comforting about clutching a warm paper parcel containing a fish and chip supper as you make your way home after work.

As the nation’s favourite dish, it is no surprise that customers will have their favourite fish and chip shop that they regularly visit, even if there is more than one establishment in town.

But is a fish and chip shop a good business to start? What will make customers choose your shop over your competitors? Opening a chip shop is a good move, but its success or failure will often boil down to your customer service.

Apart from having a delicious choice of food and drink on the menu and fish and chip shop insurance to protect your business from the many risks your face in this industry, a chip shop owner’s success will depend on the quality of customer service you deliver.

What Makes Great Customer Service In A Fish and Chip Shop?

Being greeted with a friendly smile and giving prompt, accurate service is essential if you want your customers coming back for more.

Yes, other factors will turn your customers into regulars, such as having a good location, convenient parking nearby, high-quality food, and cost-effective prices. But delivering excellent customer service will often be the deciding factor if a customer is faced with choosing between you and another fish and chip shop with the same great qualities.

You often hear marketers in many other industries talk about the importance of the customer experience or user experience in the success of their business. This is precisely the same for anyone with a fish-and-chip shop business.

Your customers expect good service and want to be acknowledged and listened to while placing their orders and stating their preferences. So you need to have the right people and customer service processes in place to achieve this.

How Can I Improve My Chippy’s Customer Service?

You can do a few things as a chip shop owner or manager to strike the right balance and deliver an outstanding customer experience for everyone setting foot on your premises.

1: Recruitment

Find The Right People:

Your shop staff will be the face of your business, so you may want to decide if you wish to be the person behind the counter that serves your customers or if you would prefer working in the background managing the fryers and assembling the food orders.

As many fish and chip shops are open late into the evening, it makes it easy for you to recruit people looking for a part-time job outside of regular working hours. This means you could employ students at college or university who need a part-time job to earn a bit of spending money or a parent looking for extra evening work to top up their income while their partner is at home looking after the kids.

When interviewing candidates, ask yourself:

  • Can you train them in customer service, or do they already have fish and chip shop training?
  • Do they look the part?
  • Do they smile?
  • Do they sound the part?
  • Are they friendly and approachable?
  • Will they take pride in their work and speak well of your shop?

Sometimes, Attitude Is More Important Than Experience:

You may feel wary about hiring inexperienced staff, but sometimes being overcautious doesn’t pay off.

You may interview a young student with no shop experience, but they have a bright and bubbly personality that you know your customers will adore. No matter their previous experience – or lack of it – having the right person in front of house can encourage first-time visitors to become repeat customers.

2: Training

New staff will always need some training in how to run a fish and chip shop. You will need to show them how you operate, such as how the till works, the correct portion sizes to give out, etc. However, the practical procedures are only one part of your staff training.

You will have to give your staff proper health and safety training, including fire, first aid, food hygiene etc., because of the dangers associated with operating deep fat fryers and handling hot oil.

But an essential part of training your staff to give outstanding customer service is to teach them how to meet, greet and handle customer interactions.

Customer service training should include:

a) The Opening Comment: Give your staff options for greeting customers as they walk in the door or reach the counter to place their order.

b) Ask About Children: If customers are ordering kids’ meals, your staff could ask what ages their children are and their favourite flavoured drinks. You could keep a tub of lollypops or fun stickers nearby to give to any children coming in with their parents.

c) Gently Encourage The Customer To Talk About Themselves: People love to have a personalised experience where they are being paid attention to. Asking friendly questions about work, family, favourite foods or drinks, TV shows or hobbies can help to break the ice and build an excellent level of trust between your staff and your regular customers. Soon your team will create a profile of your regular customers who will enjoy the warm and friendly welcome.

d) Thank Your Customers: Customers always appreciate being thanked for their orders, so train your staff to thank each customer and say goodbye as they leave the shop.

3: Complaints Policy

Your fish and chip shop is a business and should have a customer complaints policy like any other responsible business. While you won’t want to give your customers any cause for complaint, there may be occasions when a customer wants to complain, and you need to set out how to handle these complaints.

Having a customer complaints policy in place can ensure your business complies with legal regulations and will limit the damage to your business’s reputation. While there is no legal requirement to have a complaints policy, there are legal regulations in place to protect consumers in their dealings with companies, so it can help make your business more professional by having a policy in place.

a) Deal With Complaints Politely & Efficiently: Your complaints policy should include a commitment to deal with customer complaints as quickly as possible, using your ‘best efforts to resolve the issue. Make it clear to customers who to contact and how to contact them when making a complaint.

Keep Your Shop’s Hygiene Levels High

You must keep on top of your cleaning and sanitising routine when operating your chip shop. Customers will be put off placing orders with you if they see an untidy counter, grubby work surfaces and overflowing litter bins.

As a food retailer, your fish and chip shop will be subject to your local council’s regular health and hygiene inspections. Your food safety inspector has the power to close down your establishment in an instant if they find your hygiene level concerning or if you are breaching your fish and chip shop regulations.

Creating a cleaning rota that covers every area of your premises helps keep on top of your cleaning. Scheduling regular oil changes and rotating food and drink stock to bring the older stock to the front of your shelves, fridges and freezers and re-stocking from the rear will ensure your products will stay in date and be safe to sell.

Ensure Your Customers and Employees Are Protected

As a fish and chip shop serving your local community, you face several health and safety risks you need to protect yourself and your business from. Fish and Chip Shop insurance will help to protect you, your staff, your customers and your business.

Standard insurance protection taken out for chip shops, takeaways, cafes and other food outlets include:

  • Buildings Insurance
  • Business Equipment Insurance
  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Contents Insurance
  • Employers Liability Insurance
  • Fixtures & Fittings Insurance
  • Legal Expenses Insurance
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Products Liability Insurance
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Stock Insurance

Brisco Business Insurance helps all kinds of retail food businesses find the perfect insurance cover for their needs. From protection against fire damage to customer compensation claims, we can help build you a policy that will fit your business needs.

Conclusion

Fish and chips shops are much beloved businesses in the UK, so as a new chip shop owner, you will want to do everything you can to keep your customers happy and returning for more.

We hope these tips help you develop an outstanding customer service experience and explain why it is essential that you protect yourself, your staff and customers with the right business insurance cover. Don’t let unforeseen events jeopardise your business’s future. Secure it with the right business insurance from Brisco Business.

Stephanie Lowndes

Stephanie is a digital marketing masters graduate with extensive customer service experience gained in the retail and hospitality sectors. Stephanie is currently a marketing executive at Brisco Business.

All articles by Stephanie Lowndes

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