Takeaway shop owner’s blue cod dilemma as business costs keep rising

A southern takeaway shop owner has voiced concerns over her ever-increasing business costs which she is passing onto customers.

Bluff’s Galley Takeaways owner Diane Williamson said the reality was Kiwis now had to pay more for a feed of takeaways.

“If you want the standard Kiwiana fish and chips on Friday and Saturday nights it comes at extra price.”

And that includes paying more for her “go to” product of blue cod, which are plentiful in Foveaux Strait off the Bluff coastline.

Diane Williamson of Galley takeaways in Bluff will increase the price of her takeaways due to increased business costs.

John Hawkins

Diane Williamson of Galley takeaways in Bluff will increase the price of her takeaways due to increased business costs.

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When Williamson took over the takeaway shop two years ago she charged customers $8.50 for a piece of Blue Cod, the current price was $11, but she would increase the price to $12.50 in September, she said.

This was because the price she paid her suppliers for Blue Cod was rising, it went up by 3% in April and was going up another 7% in early September. She currently paid $38 a kilogram but it would rise to $42.95 on September 6, she said.

“That’s why the fillets are going up to $12.50. I feel reluctant to put it up, but I am left with no other avenue. To sustain an economical business I have to put it up. If I am going to still be there in 12 months I have to.”

She believed it was “quite sad” but there was little she could do, saying fishermen, seafood companies and suppliers were all enduring higher prices which had to be passed on.

“It’s a chain reaction, it starts at the top, and it has to filter down … they have to pass it on.”

Her suppliers had also ramped up the prices she was paying for likes of oils and frozen chips, she said.

A year ago she was paying $48 for a 20kg bottle of canola oil but the price was now $75; and the price of a 20kg bottle of shortening animal fat had risen from $44 to $78 in the past year, she said.

The frozen chips she purchased from a supplier had risen by 10 per cent in the past 18 months; while packs of eight burger buns she purchased from a local supermarket had risen from $2.69 to $4.35 in the past six months, she added.

Diane Williamson behind the counter of her Bluff takeaway shop.

John Hawkins

Diane Williamson behind the counter of her Bluff takeaway shop.

Williamson plans to increase her takeaway prices next week. “If I want to make a profit and maintain the viability of the shop I have to react to the market by increasing prices.”

Customers were generally understanding of the increased prices, she said.

Despite rising costs, she was seeing more international tourists through the shop, giving her optimism that trading would improve. “We just have to overcome these inflation price increases.”

Business New Zealand policy director Catherine Beard said the issue facing the Bluff takeaway shop was a widespread problem, which was why the Reserve Bank was trying to dampen down inflation.

“We haven’t had inflation this high for many years and a lot of people wouldn’t have experienced it … it’s really damaging in an economy because this is exactly what happens.”

The increased costs were a combination of domestic and international factors. Higher labor and fuel costs affected many businesses and anything being imported was attracting higher shipping costs.

Beard said fuel prices were so high some fishing companies were not sending out some boats because it wasn’t worthwhile financially.

Kaan’s Catering Supplies director Lindsay Kaan, whose food distribution company sells multiple products, including to takeaway shops, said “everything” had gone up in price.

“It’s costing more to produce and if a supplier charges us $1 more, we have to pass it on.”

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