If you like your butcher, give him 25p more

A standard chicken that most Asian families have for a curry costs £2 each on the wholesale market. It takes approximately 3 minutes to skin, clean and cut it into curry sized pieces, which is a cost of 36p at minimum wage. Add another couple of pence for bags and you have a total cost of £2.38.

At my shop we sell these chickens at £2.50 each, which brings us a princely profit of 12p for each chicken. Still selling three of these chickens for £7.50 is borderline expensive in the halal market in my area.

Perhaps now you might understand my anguish when someone comes in and wants 9 chickens. 27 minutes of work for £1.08.

Fortunately, my business doesn’t rely on chicken sales and I actively discourage people buying multiple chickens. “Buy just what you need.” “Don’t purchase for the freezer.”

There are, however, many butchers, who do rely on their chickens sales. Even if they get cheaper chicken, how much cheaper could it be? £1.75? Then lets assume that they are paying an illegal worker below the minimum wage. £3.50 per hour? And that it only takes two minutes to do the actual work. It still costs 14p with the packaging. Bringing the total cost per chicken to £1.89, which would be very cheap. They then sale three chickens for £7 as is common. That gives them a profit of £1.33 for every three chickens. How many of these chickens do they need to shift in order to make a living?

Believe me those numbers are very optimistic.

If your butcher looks after you, cuts your chicken well and gives quality meat, then look after him. Give him an extra 25p per chicken. It won’t make much of a difference to the cost of your meal but could mean the difference between them closing up shop or being there to serve you into the future.

You may ask why doesn’t he just increase his prices? Competition is stiff. There are 38 HMC certified outlets in my city and there are other non-certified halal outlets. Because most shops sell the same small set of products from the same suppliers, the only options for a business to distinguish themselves from their competition are price, customer service and competency as a butcher.

The owner may not feel increasing the price is an option. Instead he is on a slow path to debt, despair and eventual closure. Just give him the 25p and save him the anguish and look after your own interests because the next guy that takes over might be a sloppy, dirty jerk, who doesn’t care about you or your chicken dinner.