With just a few weeks to go to Seafood Week, we explain how restaurants, cafés and fryers can get the most out of the annual promotion of the bounty of the seas
One of the major ways that the UK's seafood authority Seafish supports the restaurant and wider foodservice sectors is through Seafood Week. It's a week when the UK-wide seafood industry, in all its many guises, comes together to champion, celebrate and promote seafood to the nation's consumers and media.
What's it all about?
Seafood Week is all about the industry working together to celebrate and promote the great variety of fish to be enjoyed in the UK - whether eating out at restaurants and cafés, enjoying a fish supper at a fish and chip shop, cooking fish at home, or even a lunchtime prawn sandwich.
The annual promotional campaign comprises eight days of consumer-focused, cross-sector industry activity. Seafood Week unites the seafood industry and celebrates the wide variety of seafood available to consumers in the UK. The week is the UK's biggest seafood promotion campaign and is supported by retailers, fryers, fishmongers, restaurateurs, processors and foodservice outlets.
The promotion is all about celebration and adventure, and during the week Seafish will:
•promote seafood as one of the most healthy, convenient and delicious foods around
•promote the huge variety of different fish and shellfish available to consumers in the UK (there are more than 100), all with different flavours, textures, etc
•promote the incredible versatility of seafood - there are thousands of recipes for seafood and a great many ways to cook it
•make consumers aware of seafood's great value for money.
The eight days of promotional activity begin on Friday 5 October with the social media campaign Tweets by hashtag encouraging the public to take part online, and giving businesses the opportunity to raise their brand visibility for potential customers. The following days will see a series of consumer-focused activities organised by all sectors of the seafood industry. The week will be promoted through various media channels.
What it could do for your business
Undertaking some promotional activity in support of Seafood Week could make you and your restaurant very popular. It should help increase your sales and profits by prompting your customers to visit more regularly, particularly if you keep promoting your business.
Customers from restaurants where no special promotional activity will be taking place may well visit your business if they come across reports of your promotional activity plans.
Seafood Week gives you a platform to create some theatre. It provides you with an opportunity to contact your local press/media in advance with details about the activity that you have planned for the week and what is happening in your restaurant, which will hopefully get some media coverage for your business.
You should endeavour to contact your local press at least a couple of weeks in advance of Seafood Week to give your local newspaper enough time to draft an article or gather additional information.
A variety of Seafood Week promotional materials are available for use by restaurants, including a campaign toolkit with lots of great ideas on how to get involved in the celebrations. Materials are available via the Seafish asset bank library at bit.ly/Seafish-assetbank.
For existing customers, one initiative is to create a Seafood Week loyalty card scheme, encouraging them to visit you more often, with incentives such as a 10% discount on their next purchase. Other promotional activities you could undertake for Seafood Week include:
•staff incentives - the person who sells the most portions of fish or shellfish on a certain day wins a prize
•art competitions - encourage younger customers to design a poster or a fish cartoon character
•product tastings with some lesser-known fish species, such as coley or gurnard
•a seafood-themed quiz for customers, offering the chance to win a prize
•free prize draw for all customers who purchase fish or shellfish - present winners with their prizes at the restaurant during Seafood Week and invite the local press to attend (getting a local celebrity to present the prizes will raise press interest).
Whatever your promotional activities are, give your local newspaper or radio station the details. Remember: if you have a good photograph of an event, the story is more likely to get coverage.
Restaurants, cafés and bistros can register their interest in Seafood Week at seafoodweek.co.uk. Seafish is always keen for interested restaurants to let it know of any particular activities they may be running for Seafood Week so that Seafish can help with the publicity and promotion.
Fish of the day
Each day of the eight-day campaign will focus on a particular species or dish, shining a spotlight on some of the nation's favourite fish and shellfish.
Mackerel Friday 5 October
Crab Saturday 6 October
Mussels Sunday 7 October
Fish and chips Monday 8 October
Scallops Tuesday 9 October
Langoustines Wednesday 10 October
Plaice Thursday 11 October
Tuna Friday 12 October