Top Takeaway Tips

Out of home businesses across the country are looking for ways to adapt if they are to survive the Covid-19 crisis, so if you are trading a takeaway-only service, or thinking of starting one to help keep your business ticking over and retain loyal customers both now and into the future when we all all go back to normal, here are Take Stock’s top tips to make your service safe and successful in the meantime.

What to do

Menus – adapt or change your dishes to feature ones that can be produced quickly and efficiently, or with fewer staff,in formats that are easy and safe to deliver such as one-pot dishes. Make sure you have an easy-to-read PDF of your menu for customers to easily download from your social media pages and website, or to email to customers.

Social media – keep your social media updated with your latest takeaway menu offerings. Make sure to add the time that you are operating a takeaway service, your new opening times, order and delivery details, and a contact number (if changed) and menu clearly.

Promote outside your venue – use A-boards or chalk boards to promote that a takeaway service is now available from your outlet to attract passing footfall and drivers.

Ordering etiquette – explain clearly on your website, social media channels and answerphone message how customers should order, pay for and collect their food. Do not take any orders on the premises. All orders should betaken online or over the telephone and ideally payment should be made by card prior to collection or delivery (over the phone or contactless).

Offers and deals – offers and deals encourage new customers and repeat ordering. There’s no need to be clever – offer a 2FOR1 deal at set times. Buy one get one free deals (BOGOFs) always go down well, as does sticking with your existing offers that you know work for your customers, but tweaking for takeaways. Also don’t forget about offers on key diary dates such as National Fish & Chip Day (7 June) and Father’s Day (21 June).

The correct package – invest in delivery-proof carrier items that retain heat, prevent leaks and maintain product quality, consistency and safety. Speak to your wholesaler about the correct takeaway packaging to use. From pizza to salads, paninis to burgers, pies to curries, there are many forms of packaging available in recyclable, compostable or bio-degradable formats.

Proper pick-ups – think about how you are going to manage the collection of orders, maintain the social distancing of two metres between employees and customers and consider arranging staggered collection times to reduce the amount of numbers of customers collecting at any one time entering your business. Use signs and plexiglass barriers at tills and counters as additional protection and reassurance.

Safer deliveries – join a national food ordering/delivery group like Deliveroo or Just Eat if they operate in your area. If you are considering setting up your own delivery service, you’ll need to follow delivery hygiene guidelines and practice no contact deliveries.

Drive awareness – actively market your offering by updating your website and social media profiles regularly to remind customers you are still operating. Post to your local community Facebook group and any other organisation offering cross promotion – such as CAMRA’s If you have collected email addresses and numbers over time, and the customers have agreed to be contacted, then send a group email,being mindful of GDPR regulations. Remember, not everyone has access to a computer or uses social media.

Get on the map – make sure that your details are up to date on Google Maps and other business search engines so that anyone searching or trying to find your outlet obtains the correct contact information.

The Avenue Hotel

The Avenue Hotel in Old Langho, Blackburn keep its takeaway menu simple with pizza, pasta and fish & chips, and a Sunday-only roast. Due to popularity it has now introduced lasagna and a chicken burger on a homemade bun. It also offers BOGOF on pizza every Thursday night.

Old Swan Inn

Sticking with traditional offers, however tweaking them for takeaway shows loyalty to your regulars. For example, The Old Swan Inn, in Gargrave, Yorkshire is still holding its ‘Pie Night Wednesday’ but is offering a free portion of homemade beer battered onion rings with every potion of steak pie and chips ordered.

White Cross Inn

The White Cross Inn in Caerphilly had to re-think how it could keep serving their loyal community. The small country pub’s licence allows it to do ‘off sales’, so with the help of a milkman and baker, it sells fresh eggs, milk, butter, yogurt and bread, and most customers who come in for bread take home a bottle of beer.

Make a lasting impression

At this moment in time nobody is clear how long the Covid-19 crisis will impact on our industry. The way you interact with your customers during this time really matters and could benefit your business for years to come. Here’s how:

• Any takeaway and delivery service during lockdown is a benefit to the community – making life easier and just that little bit better.

• Offering a free delivery to the elderly and vulnerable – or special offers and services – is above and beyond and won’t be forgotten.

• A takeaway service also reminds your customers that you are still there and will be ready for their custom the minute your doors re-open.

• Extra income for the future – if your takeaway option is successful, then why not think about continuing with it long term – even if it’s only a weekend service. Use this period as an opportunity to gauge customer interest.

Safety first

Now more than ever the safety of you, your staff and customers is paramount. The Food Trading Standards (FTS) has released its safety guide to follow and help prevent the spread of corona virus while trading.

Allergens – make sure your online menu has all relevant allergen information. Make sure staff remind customers on the phone about foods that contain any of the 14 specified allergens.

Packing and delivery – all food should be handled and delivered to customers in line with usual food safety practices. Mark all allergen-free meals clearly and wash or sanitise hands after each drop off.

Hygiene – all employers should stress the importance of more frequent handwashing and maintaining good hygiene practices in food preparation and handling areas.

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