First of all I would like to thank the many who read my opening blog yesterday and for the many retweets and comments I have received as a result.
Continuing on my theme, I’d like to outline what I think the benefits are and the reputation which could be gained from having trained and qualified fishmongers.
Being confident enough to hold a filleting knife and knowing that, whether it is a Whole Salmon or a Whole Plaice, you can prepare the fish to how the customer wants it is fundamental to being a fishmonger. Having the confidence to know you will achieve the yield and quality from the fish comes from being trained and as a result will bring in your customer base. Over time you can earn the trust of your customer and at the end of the working day, however tired you may be, however much your hands and fingers may ache from prepping fish all day, you are happy in a job well done.
INCREASED CUSTOMER BASE
If you have knowledge of the fish you display on your counter, your customers will come back. Being able to leave your customer to make an informed decision will usually result in a sale. Customers who used to go straight for pre packed fish will now venture over to the counter because they know that if they ask a question, they will receive an answer or a suggestion. I’ve had customers come to me, ask some questions about salmon, still go over to the pre packed section but then come back to me on the counter, and again I’m not alone on that.
Whether an independent or retail fishmonger, you build a reputation. Good or bad. If customers know that when they come to your counter and receive the service they expect and need from their fishmonger, they will come back and more than likely tell family and friends. The same is equally true if you have a bad reputation, customers spread the word. I’ve been told by customers who went to other retailers and expected the same level of service, only to be disappointed and a vow never to buy fish from that counter again.
Good Reputation gained through training = more customers and sales.
Bad Reputation through lack of training or inconsistent training = less customers and sales.
Being trained as a fishmonger opens up a whole new path. I’ve done so many things in the nearly two years since being signed off as a fishmonger, some of which I’d never dream of. I’ve done work experience for an independent fishmonger, I’ve done two British Fish Craft Championships and this year won The Seafish Industry Cup and I worked alongside Brixham Trawlermen and Fishmongers on The Brixham Trawler Agency Stall for a major charity event. Apart from that I’ve also met many people associated with the fish industry and many I’m happy to say are close friends.
There are so many training avenues open aswell. As I enjoy learning as much as I do, I always want to learn more. If I was actually to pin myself down to a career, it would be working as an independent fishmonger, advocating the MSC brand, whilst working closely with The National Federation Of Fishmongers and being trained in quality assessment. (I like to aim high!!) And there are again many fishmongers within retail, and many who are female, who would love to be independent and with the training, no reason why not.
When I did a few days work with Tarbetts Fishmongers in Leeds, it cemented my desire to be an independent fishmonger. I always remember the first day I was at the shop, it snowed. Liam Tarbett, the owner, gave me a poly box of Whole Mackerel and asked me to go and prep them. That’s all he asked. He didn’t have to explain or demonstrate, we both knew I was trained to do it.
Therefore, consistent training should mean a retail fishmonger could set him or herself onto an independent career and an independent fishmonger could walk into retail and know exactly what they were doing.
So, bearing all that in mind:
DO FISHMONGERS DESERVE TO HAVE A RECOGNISED QUALIFICATION?
And I’ll discuss that along with maybe a possible stumbling block for qualifications.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read my blogs.
Any fishmongers who read my blog and would like to get involved, please go to the National Federation OF Fishmongers website and there is a link which will send you to a survey to discuss it further.