Market Hill Hits the Mark as Business Remains Buoyant

Market Hill Hits the Mark as Business Remains Buoyant

Posted by Emily on 12th Feb 2023

Working at Market Hill Fisheries in Winterton, North Lincolnshire, as a teenager while studying for his A’ Levels, Ryan Moody had no idea that four years later, his family would own the takeaway and that he would be running it.

That was back in 2004, and in that time Ryan has successfully built up the business, with 95% of his customer base being regulars from the immediate village or surrounding ones. Getting busier year-on-year, Ryan didn’t feel the need to run a January offer as customer numbers were up “massively” on last year.

Like many businesses, Market Hill experienced a surge during Covid when click and collect and delivery were launched. Two years on, online ordering has maintained its popularity, representing just over 50% of takings.

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It’s not only popular with customers, however, as Ryan explains: “Online is really good because it’s like having free staff. Taking telephone orders takes a member of staff up to five minutes, whereas online it’s just done. It’s the cheapest member of staff you’ll ever get and it helps make the shop more efficient.”

Online ordering is fuelling customer spending, with the average transaction value double that of walk-ins.

“Unlike in the shop, people take their time online to read the menu so we sell quite a few fishcakes for example, but not as a meal, just as an add-on item,” says Ryan.

Other drivers online are retail-size condiments, which customers splash out on out of convenience, and, more specifically, meal deals.

“We found that by offering a meal deal for an extra £2.50, customers take it up and spend more. It’s free upselling, you don’t have to ask if a customer wants to go large, they do it themselves. We started doing it in the shop too, offering fish, chips and a sauce a little bit cheaper than buying them separately, and now we sell a lot more items like sauces and drinks than we ever used to.”

Market Hill doesn’t just sell fish, customers also have the choice of chicken, wraps, burgers, kebabs and, in addition to chip shop chips, french fries too. To some, it may seem like a large menu, but for this area it is expected of a fish and chip shop, plus Ryan believes it saves him from losing orders to his two closest takeaways.

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“People see the menu and think we have a lot more equipment in the shop than we do,” says Ryan. “But we’ve got an oven that we used to do pizzas in that we now use for pies, wraps, chicken, kebabs and things like that. It allows us to expand our menu without having to expand the amount of staff we need.”

Using a range of Ceres products, including its Natural Batter Mix, Curry Sauce, Gravy Mix, Mushy Pea Seasoning and Fishcake Mix, Ryan says they don’t just taste better than others on the market, but they perform better too.

“Where the business has grown and we’re now busier than ever, consistency has become key to everything we do. Even though batter can change throughout the year because it’s a natural product, we find with Ceres Natural Batter Mix we can make it consistently how we want to make it. The way we operate, we cook to order and the batter always comes out really well. Even for deliveries it’s always positive feedback.”

Using Ceres Fishcake Mix also helps the team nail consistency. Ryan comments: “We’ve always sold homemade fishcakes and I’d say that there isn’t much difference between the ingredients that are in the Ceres Fishcake Mix and what we used to put in our fishcakes, but it’s the consistency that is better. There are no lumpy bits where you haven’t mashed the potato properly or where a bit of parsley or pepper hasn’t been mixed in.”

Although Ryan has costed out Ceres Fishcake Mix to be slightly more expensive than boiling potatoes himself, the time savings easily counteract this. “The fact you’re not waiting an hour for the spuds to boil and cool down is such a bonus,” he says. “And anyone can make our fishcakes, I don’t need staff in just to do that job. Even on a Friday night when we are busy, we can quickly make up a small mix for half a dozen or so fishcakes just to get through the last hour if necessary.”

As well as buying products from Ceres, Ryan often refers to the resources that it creates for its customers.

“I’ve just downloaded the Ceres Fish & Tips e-book,” he says. “While some of it is common sense, there is a lot of good advice, even for people like me who have been in the industry for 20 years. It’s very easy to get stuck in your business rather than actually run your business, so it is nice to read through and think, I need to do this, or I’m doing this wrong and I just need a push to do it differently.

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“You’ve always got to look to improve turnover, quality and staff retention because if you are stood still you are falling behind.”

Listening to the Ceres Podcasts too, Ryan enjoys the opportunity to hear different opinions from people both in the fish and chip trade and the wider hospitality sphere.

“You can’t be stale and static, you have to move with it,” he says. “You’ve got to look at the advances in technology coming into the industry whether it’s a new range, an oven, menu boards or ingredients.

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