Over the years we’ve seen demand for food delivery services rise as people increasingly enjoy ordering food from the comfort of their home.
In this post we take a look at the process of adding a take away and/or delivery service to your business and guide you through all the elements you might need to think about.
Traditionally take away and delivery food options have been limited to Chinese, Indian and Pizza restaurants but recently there has been a boom in pubs, bistros, restaurants and cafes who are including off-site options as part of their menus.
This has been driven by both customer demand and new technologies and services that allow all food businesses to access this growing market.
The take away food market
The take away food market is expected to be worth over £11bn in the next few years, so now is the perfect time to grab your piece of the action. Sixty five percent of Britons enjoy a takeaway at least once a week and spend on average £9.47 per head per order. In total 851 million takeaway meals were ordered in 2018.
Dine-in options are limited to the number of tables and waiting staff you have in place but these limits don’t exist with take away or delivery, giving you access to more customers without having to alter or upgrade your current facilities.
How to provide a take away service
There are a number of options open to you in terms of getting the food to your customers:
- Handle delivery yourself: Use your own delivery drivers in properly insured and equipped vehicles.
- Outsource delivery: Delivery (and often marketing as well) is taken care of by a specialist food delivery service.
- Offer collection to customers: Food is available for customers to collect themselves and take away.
If you are keen to outsource your delivery then you will need to partner with companies such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, One Delivery or Food Hub. To do this you’ll need to visit their websites and apply to be a partner. Many will need you to upload menus and photographs as well as your Trip Advisor rating. These services incur fees so it’s vital to consider that in terms of your margins.
What you’ll need
To ensure that your food reaches your customers in the best possible condition you will need to package it well and transport it safely. As a starting point you’ll need to think about:
- Catering disposables: Food packaging, napkins, cutlery and straws.
- Takeaway food containers: Pizza and burger boxes, chip shop food trays, condiment pots, cups, lids and food bags.
- Food handling items: These are likely to be things you are already using in your business but you may need to consider if delivery staff also need access to gloves, wipes and allergy information.
- Eco-friendly disposables: This is a big trend and worth considering in terms of all of your take away products. Going green is great for the planet and for your marketing.
Not every item will be suitable for delivery, often due to margin or how well it travels. Intricate, complex dishes with lower margins probably won’t be suitable, so it’s best to leave those out. Many restaurants choose to simplify dishes and streamline their menu to adapt to a take away model. Many even run two separate menus, one for dine-in customers and one for those who choose to eat at home.
Desserts, drinks and side dishes are an important element of a take away menu. These can be upsold to customers as a way of increasing individual order value. Think about portability and transport of fragile items such as desserts, for example individual portions often travel better, eg Individual white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake (C28013).
There is no point going to all the effort of setting up a delivery option if no one knows about it. This is where marketing comes in. Social media is the obvious first port of call, updating your Facebook page and using offers, enticing images and regular updates is a great way of keeping your business at the forefront of people’s minds. An example of a new takeaway service being announced is shown here.
Post in local Facebook groups and involve friends, family and loyal customers in promoting the service for you.
You can also think beyond the scope of social media and look to local listing magazines, and newsletters where you could place adverts. Flyers and menus posted through local doors and on car windscreens is also a great way to get the word out.
If you’ve been collecting email addresses from customers over the years then this is the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal. Your loyal customers are among this group and they are the ones most likely to use your new take away or delivery service.
Using a platform like Mailchimp will mean your email looks great and as it’s all a drag and drop service it’s relatively easy to set up. They also have templates you can use as a starting point. Plus it’s safer than using your standard email package as you are protected from being marked as spam.
For the content of your email can explain to customers what you are doing and why. Include an image and/or downloadable PDF of your menu in the email. Consider messages like ‘you can still enjoy your favourite dishes from our menu with our takeaway service’ or ‘if you are unable to come to us, we can come to you’
Don’t be afraid to send emails regularly, for a service like food takeways customers need to be reminded that you exist as they will have their eyes drawn elsewhere by other advertisers.
We’ve put together an example of an email you could send to customers.
Print out and pop through doors and on windscreens
Create a flyer or print your menu in full. Canva provide excellent templates for all to use and they can be edited easily, downloaded and printed. Then don’t be scared to share these – get out and about and put these on car windscreens and pop through letterboxes.
If you’d like more information about setting up a take away or delivery service please talk to your MKG Account Manager.