How to build a successful takeaway business?
By Kevin Moyse
There are a number of things that can help to make your takeaway business successful; below we will look at some of the most important things to achieve this. This information has been given to us by some of our most successful menu printing clients at Cheap Takeaway Menus. It is important to remember that there is not a single solution, there are many, all of which will work together to help build and grow your takeaway business to be successful.
- The most important way to make your takeaway successful is good marketing. A takeaways best marketing tool is a well-designed takeaway menu (yes we design and print menus but its true). You should always be distributing your printed takeaway menus to your clients (see What are the Benefits of Distributing Takeaway Menus?) Our most successful clients distribute at least 1000 takeaway menus per week, every week. It is easy for people to quickly forget about a takeaway outlet as new takeaway menus are constantly being delivered through letterboxes, so it’s important to keep reminding them about your business. Good menu design will make you money so make sure your menu design is better than your competitors! For more info please see What is Good Menu Design? and 10 Steps to a More Profitable Takeaway Menu. Try to keep your menu simple with clear clean branding. Make it easy to order from your menu, to do so menus should be uncluttered and easy to read.
- An often forgotten but powerful marketing tool for a new takeaway business is the process of giving away small product taste testers to passers-by outside your takeaway. Nothing works better to promote your food than the food itself. Even an established takeaway can benefit from using this method, on quite shifts put together a tray of food cut into small bite size pieces and give them away outside your shop. This is also a great method to promote new products. Next time you are in your local big supermarket check to see if the delicatessen has samples on the counter; it could be cheese or sausage etc.
- If done properly advertising can be an important marketing tool, but can be expensive so any activity must be monitored to make sure value for money is gained. Don’t advertise in multiple publications at the same time as it would be difficult to manage the conversion rates. Instead run trials in one publication at a time so success and value for money can be measured. Use discount codes on advertising for customers to quote when ordering food, this is an easy way to measure a campaigns success.
- Send extra FREE food to regular good customers, ie free prawn crackers or popadoms, don't forget to tell them so they don't think it's a mistake!
- Once food orders start to flow it is very important that you produce good food. It is very important for any takeaway business to have repeat and regular customers. A well designed and printed takeaway menu will get the customers to try your food but only good food quality will make them come back for more. If your food isn’t good enough then you are unlikely to get repeat orders. Monitor your orders carefully to see if people re-order from you, if they don’t try to find out why. Without repeat orders from regular customers your takeaway business is doomed to fail! Once you have established a good core of customers launch marketing can be reduced and retention marketing can be started.
- Make sure that there is enough profit added to the cost of producing your food. If you are not making enough profit your takeway cannot be successful! For more info about working out profit margins and selling prices please read our article How to make a takeaway profitable and successful
- Location location location.... The location of the takeaway store or shop is very important. It must engage with passers-by and create footfall into your shop. Increasing your passing trade will definitely help your takeaway business to be successful.
- The easiest way to increase your sales in a takeaway is to upsell. Upselling is a technique which encourages your customers to spend more money and is a major factor for successful takeaways. When taking food orders your staff should always ask the customer if they would like to go large (or offer them the bigger option ie would you like the ½ pounder it is only an extra £1.00), if they want a drink, side dishes or fries with their order etc. You have the customer ordering food; try to make them spend more!!! Remember that this trick is free, it costs nothing to achieve and could result in greater weekly takings. If you gained an extra £1.00 per order how much would this mean to your sales?
- Make sure your takeaways signage stands out and is illuminated at night to draw attention to it. Passing customers will notice the bright lights and be drawn to your shop. If the branding is clear on the signage hopefully it will be associated to the takeaway menu delivered through their letterbox - “I know this takeaway it’s the one by the traffic lights near the Post Office, we haven’t tried them yet what would everyone like to order?”
- Make your products different to all your competitors. Variety is the spice of life; people like to try to new things. Make your products better and more appealing than your competitors. It is important not to simply copy your neighbouring takeaways menu.
- It is vital that your food is always fresh and served or delivered hot. Use stay warm delivery bags or boxes to help keep delivered food as warm as possible during deliveries.
- All staff must be well trained, friendly and helpful. This is especially so for any member of staff that comes into direct contact with your customers, like delivery drivers and front of house staff.
- If staff members answer the telephone it is important to ensure they speak clear English (or the language of the country your takeaway is in)
- Change your Special offers and deals regularly, this creates interest and variety
- Promote your offers and new products etc via email, text as well as in-store and on takeaway menus. Don’t forget to give away free taste testing samples…
- Promote your own website in store, on the telephone after order completion and on all marketing etc.
- Use a takeaway food ordering portal website like Just-Eat.co.uk or Hungry House to benefit from their national advertising campaigns and brand pulling power.
- Keep all your visible areas within your takeaway spotlessly clean and tidy at ALL times.
- Your kitchen should also be spotless at all times, hygiene is incredibly important in any catering business - you do not want customers getting sick after eating your food. Ensure to follow all the health and safety guidelines!
When looking at starting a takeaway business have a close look at the market leaders and not just the small takeaway around the corner. These big players are KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King. Use their business models to influence your own. Look closely at the number of food products on their menu, at new products they create, at the offers they create, at their up selling methods, at their simple and striking branding (on menus, advertising, vehicles, staff uniforms etc) and at their locations. If you can do half as well as they do your takeaway business is bound to be a success, these companies are the WORLD leaders when it comes to takeaway business and there is a very good reason for this!