Tapping Into the Takeaway Market

Driven by technology and bolstered by an increased consumer appetite for eating at home, the UK’s restaurant delivery market is booming. In 2015 combined sales of delivery food came to around £2 billion, and over the next five years that number is only expected to grow, with sales by 2020 forecasted to be closer to £8 billion. When considering that 53% of diners worldwide consider online ordering to be the “most important technology a restaurant can have”, the growth predicted is perhaps not surprising.

 These statistics – courtesy of AlixPartners’ “Feeding The Global Consumer” report –provide a valuable insight into the direction the foodservice industry is heading. With the success of high-speed restaurant delivery services like Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and more recently Amazon Restaurants, the landscape isn’t just changing for takeaways, but for restaurants too. Now, alongside traditional takeaway options, many consumers now expect to be able to eat food from their favourite restaurants in the comfort of their own home. This all comes as part of an increasing desire among diners for restaurants to offer a more tailored service, whether that means expecting customisable menus, or home delivery.

The growth of the delivery market isn’t just good news for consumers, as it’s also a great opportunity for operators to appeal to new customers, encourage uptake during traditionally slow periods, and ultimately increase revenue. However, offering delivery doesn’t come without its own demands, and any operators thinking of doing so will need to make the right preparations in order to be successful. With that in mind, if you’re thinking of finding out how offering delivery could work for your location, take a look at our guide below.

Make your menu work

Any operator considering offering a delivery service should work out how – and if – your current menu would translate to this. After all, dishes that work well in-house might not necessarily do so after a short delivery journey, so making sure that any offerings stand up to travelling is essential.

This means taking a good look at your current menu to find out which items are likely to work through delivery, and which might need reworking. Whatever type of cuisine you cook, priority should be finding menu items that can retain heat for extended periods, but it’s also important to consider whether foods retain their texture and flavour after travelling. 

This might mean that you need to revaluate cooking times for certain items, or replace ingredients for those that hold up better when travelling.  Some products - like our Staycrisp Fries - are formulated to keep hot and retain texture for longer, making them ideal for takeaway service, so keep a look out for any ingredients that can help your menu work for customers both in-house and at home.

Think quick

Although takeaway offerings have evolved beyond fast-food, that doesn’t mean that consumers ordering delivery from restaurants expect a slower service. From order to delivery Deliveroo gives an average time of 32 minutes, whereas upon launch rival service UberEats was even more ambitious, promising money back for any orders that take more than half an hour to deliver. This means that for operators looking to deliver, minimising prep and cook time is essential.

This comes back to spending time on formulating a menu that works – if an item takes too long to prepare or cook, it’s unlikely to work on a delivery menu. Instead, pinpoint items that can be prepped or part cooked in advance to save time, and look into how slower to prep items can be reworked with speed in mind.

If some menu items really can’t be formulated to save time but you’re still keen to include them – if they’re a best seller in-house, for example – then adding a “disclaimer” to your online menu is a good get around. Simply estimate how much additional time the item will add to delivery, and make sure to that this is clearly stated in the menu description.

Don’t forget about in-house

It’s easy to think that offering delivery alongside a restaurant service could be a strain on staff, and ultimately the quality of the experience offered to customers in-house. However, peak times for restaurants typically differ from those of takeaways, meaning that a quiet day in-house could be a busy one for delivery, and vice-versa. This means that the effect on in-house service is likely to be much less than expected, and that offering delivery could in fact be a great way to increase uptake during slow periods; something Deliveroo claims can help boost sales by up to 30%.

Alongside this, most delivery providers automate tasks that are traditionally carried out manually in-house, meaning that order processing and delivery requests can be carried out with the push of a button. Whilst this does mean that some members of staff will need to get to grips with the new technology, doing so should be relatively simple. 

With that being said, it’s worth making some preparations to account for any periods where delivery and in-house services are both particularly busy. Although many of the measures taken in minimising prep for delivery will come in handy, it’s worth considering the feasibility of splitting kitchen staff to either work on delivery or in-house during particularly busy periods. However, it’s worth noting that most delivery providers allow restaurants to close outside orders, allowing them to focus on in-house should demand become too high to handle.

With the potential to widen a customer base, increase uptake, and turn slow periods into peak times, with the right preparations in place delivery can provide the opportunity to try and achieve things that most restaurants aspire to. If you’d like to know how versatile and adaptable products like Staycrisp can work for restaurants looking to offer takeaway, why not get in touch with McCain Foodservice today to see how we can help.