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How to market your takeaway business?

Marketing your takeaway business is the process of communicating the value of your takeaway’s products to new and existing customers in order to sell them your products. If you can get your marketing right you are almost guaranteed to have a profitable and successful takeaway business.

So what marketing tricks can a takeaway use to increase its profitability and chances of success? Here we are going to look at few standard techniques, when used in conjunction with each other can form a successful marketing campaign. Don’t just pick the suggestions you like as they are ALL important, each technique contributes to the overall success of a strategic marketing campaign.

Before we discuss marketing techniques it is important that you understand the importance of a “Brand” in our modern society. A logo becomes part of a brand when it is applied to things like menus, shop signs, vehicles and uniforms. This becomes vital when you start thinking about marketing; you are marketing a brand not a takeaway business. There must be synergy between all the marketing components and any one part must be easily associated with the whole. In basic terms, everything must look the same and fit together to form the brand. Your menu, website, exterior shop sign, interior shop sign, the interior décor, the staff uniforms, the delivery vehicle, the adverts etc… must all look very similar so that each cross pollinates the marketing momentum. If you need an example have a close look at McDonalds, KFC and Burger King, they are the world leaders for a very good reason: they all have very strong Brands!

I should also point out that here are just some of the best and most successful techniques, there will be many more ideas that can help as part of the whole campaign. An example of this happened last week; a client asked me if I thought it was a good idea to advertise on buses, particularly the back so you can see it when you’re behind it. I told him that yes I think it’s a great idea but ONLY on the buses that’s route passes in front of the shop, “Follow me to the best Pizza in town…PIZZAGANIC!” I told him. He is booking the space soon and we are designing the advert for him.


So how do you market your takeaway business?

A takeaway business’ most important and primary marketing tool is a printed takeaway menu. This is because a takeaway has a definite catchment area (the area surrounding the takeaway within which takeaway menus and food can be delivered). As a result it is easy for a takeaway business to identify and market directly to every single potential customer, not just some of them but ALL of them. The best and easiest way to market to this catchment area is by designing, printing and distributing full colour takeaway menus. For information about distributing takeaway menus please see our previous article “What are the benefits of distributing takeaway menus?” 

The design of your menu is incredibly important, much more so than the quality of the paper stock used. Rarely will a takeaway customer feel a printed menu and say “hmmmm this menu feels good their food must taste good” but they may well say “wow this menu looks great, the food looks appetising it’s making me hungry, I want to order from this takeaway next time we order takeaway food”. Menus that Cheap Takeaway Menus design are successful menus for successful takeaway businesses. For more about menu desgin please see our article  “What is Good Menu Design?” 

It is good to note that there is a 7 points of contact rule used in marketing. This means that in general it may take up to 7 points of contact with your business to entice them to order from you. This may be as simple as driving past an illuminated sign at night, seeing an advert in the local newspaper or receiving a takeaway menu through the door. Sending out takeaway menus to an area once simply isn’t going to make your business a success. Our successful takeaway clients are distributing 1000 to 2000 menus every single week and they expect about a 10% return i.e. 100 to 200 orders as a direct result of the menu distribution. This means that every few months houses in the catchment area will receive another menu. We advise our clients to alter the menu at least once a year just enough that the receiver recognises the brand but enough that it’s an updated menu.

If you have a website for your customers to order your food then you must use a strong call to action on the front of your takeaway menus….”ORDER ONLINE at“. If you don’t have a website for your customers to order your food online Cheap Takeaway Menus are giving them away FREE with all menu printing orders on our website. Click here for more details >>>  

Use Google CPC advertising to help generate traffic to your website, this will help strengthen your organic rankings. Once this has been tailored and made successful on Google the keywords, adverts and campaigns can be exported to Bing Ads (don’t forget that Yahoo now uses Bing to power its search results). Make sure that your business is listed on as many online directories as possible as this will help your websites SEO. Directories include Yell, Thompson, Applegate etc. Make sure your business is registered on Google maps (this will also get you some free Google CPC credit to boost the start of your online campaign)

A powerful marketing technique is to offer a form of guarantee; this gives the customer peace of mind. There is a misconception that this will cost you money, you will find it will be very rarely used. At Cheap Takeaway Menus we offer a 100% money back guarantee on our design services. If you are not satisfied with the menu design we provide you we will either re-design it or offer a full refund. The design is considered sold only once changes and alterations are made to the design. Needless to say Cheap Takeaway Menus have not been required to refund any clients… we have provided 100% satisfaction to all our design clients.


An often forgotten point to remember, by businesses everywhere, is that 50% of your marketing effort, time and money, should be spent marketing to your existing clients. All too often businesses owners will forget that it is easier to sell to someone who has already bought your products. Every now and again text, email or post something to your existing database, this may be in the form of a discount voucher or special loyal customer banquet meal deal. This is a great method to raise sales on the quiet days when your businesses turnover is at its lowest. We nearly all have unlimited texts on our mobile phone contracts, so sending a few hundred texts saying something like “Free 1.5lt drink with any regular clients this evening only” or “Tonight only buy one get one free on any collected product”. You can always inform them of new items on the menu or maybe you would like to test some new products and you want to invite your best customer to order food to receive a free sample of the new dishes. 

Go over your order history to identify households that ordered only once and contact them to find out why and what you can do to get them to come back. You could try offering them something for free or a discount on their next order.

Try your best to encourage referrals from your customers to your business. There is nothing stronger than the recommendation from someone who knows your food and business to one of their friends. Offer a discount to customers who refer new customers to you. Print referral flyers to put inside your delivery bags. There should be space for your customers to fill out their name and contact details (address, mobile and email) so the referrer can be traced and rewarded, maybe with a 20% discount and an entry into a monthly “Meal for 4” referral banquet.

Give away free food samples. Do you ever notice the deli section of your local supermarket often has samples out on cocktail sticks? There may also be taste tester stations in the main isle in a supermarket; they will often have new products or new varieties of flavours of existing products. The idea is that if you try something you are more likely to buy it! Don’t stand about do nothing on quiet nights because you have only a few customers, make a fresh Margarita Pizza, cut it into small mouth sized pieces and give them away outside or very near to your shop. Nothing can promote your food better than your food! Don’t forget to keep the Pizza warm, use a Pizza box and keep it shut while not offering it to passers-by. Even if they don’t order a Pizza straight away they will definitively consider buying next time they want pizza – the trick is to make sure your food is good!

Advertise your business in the local newspapers and magazines. It is best to try these one at a time for a specific period of time with a way of measuring the return on investment (ROI). The way to do this is to have a specific promotion only available from that advert. This could be a discount code for use on your website or when phoning for an order or maybe a specific meal deal or offer, although the discount code is a better way to quantify the success of the advert because it’s more general. If over a period of time the advert doesn’t bring many customers you can try changing the advert or changing the publication. If you’re convinced the discount, offer or deal is good then it’s better to change the publication than the advert content.

Make sure that your shop and signs are illuminated at night so that people walking and driving past will take notice of your brand and your shop. Make sure that yours signs outside are clearly visible from all approaches to your takeaway shop. Make sure that the shop windows, the street outside it, the client areas and any other areas visible to your customers are as clean as possible. If these areas are not maintained they will have negative marketing effect.

It is very important that your customers have a way to complain directly to you the owner. You could put a complaints email on your takeaway menu and website. If you receive negative feedback it is better to deal with it rather than ignore it. Good Public relations management is imperative to control the public image of your business. It also shows you care about your customers and what they think about your business.

Remember that marketing is not about a specific strategy it’s about the overall campaign, multiple techniques combining to form a strategic marketing campaign. If you have a marketing idea you would like to ask us about please feel free to use the contact form on the contact us page, we will be more than willing to discuss your idea with you to help quantify its value and way up the possible benefits.

But for now...


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About the Author

Kevin Moyse

With over 19 years creative marketing experience Kevin has a wonderful knowledge of takeaway restaurant industry and specialises in creative takeaway menu design and printing.

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To be honest after looking at their prices and compared to what we had paid in the past, we weren't expecting much; we were wondering "what's the catch?". But knew our requirements better than we did, and produced a great looking menu that was FAR smarter than what we asked them to create. The quality of work, combined with the excellent service we received, has ensured that we will be using them again for at least one project in the immediate future, with a couple more planned for before the end of the year. Big thanks to Kevin & the team, you have made what is usually a time-consuming pain in the backside an almost hassle-free process!

Barry Thirkell - Owner - New Diamond Chinese Takeaway - St Hellier Jersey


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