The ongoing pandemic is rampaging the restaurant industry worldwide, and the conditions in the UK are no different. The impact on the global F&B industry in the UK has been catastrophic and it has been difficult to increase restaurant sales. Around 10% of the businesses got shut down during the pandemic.
The sales picked up during the second half of 2020 due to government initiatives like ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ after the lockdown. However, the recent surge in COVID-19 cases owing to the Omicron variant is again wreaking havoc in the nation. The restaurants witnessed the lowest number of diners in the week ending December 13 since the ease of restrictions in May 2021.
On the contrary, the delivery and click & collect business seems to be doing well even during the pandemic as people avoid out-of-home occasions. Food ordering sales volumes have soared, taking them above the pre-COVID levels. Thus, a takeaway menu seems to be one of the ways to increase restaurant sales in this new ‘touchless’ world.
This article shows how UK restaurateurs can re-engineer their takeaway menu to increase restaurant sales in this new world.
Ways To Build Takeaway Menu To Increase Restaurant Sales
Many restaurants, you may be one of them, are adding delivery services to their repertoire to increase sales. However, you may end up losing income if you don’t correctly adapt your menu for takeaway. So, you must modify your menu for a takeaway by adding delivery-friendly meals to ensure that your delivery service is successful. The following are some of the guidelines that can help you build the perfect takeaway menu.
1. Get The Timing Right
Timing is an essential aspect of food delivery service. Most customers agree that speed of delivery is one of their top priorities in the case of ordering out and quick delivery always garners positive feedback from the customer. In the UK, around 70% of the takeaway customers are not willing to wait for more than 45 minutes, which emphasizes the importance of timing.
These are a few factors that you can work upon to improve the timing aspect of a takeaway menu:
- While adding items to the takeaway menu, ensure that it doesn’t take up extensive preparation time on top of drive time. For instance, a dish that requires 20 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to drive to the customer’s location, leading to 50 minutes of delivery time, may result in a negative review.
- Create a mapped-out radius around your restaurant such that the drivers can reach the delivery locations within a reasonable time. It must factor in the meal preparation time and ensure that the overall delivery time is adequate for a good customer experience.
- Maintain enough driver strength in your fleet so that you can keep up with the delivery requirement during times of surged demand. You may also consider hiring a third-party delivery team for busier times.
2. Put The Menu Online To Increase Restaurant Sales
Around 11 million consumers, which represent a significant proportion of the overall customer base, avail the online food delivery service in the UK. So, the first thing you need to do is take your delivery menu online. The ongoing pandemic and the associated restrictions are likely to intensify the trend as the consumers intend to order food from the safety of their homes. However, for a fruitful online presence, you need to ensure the following:
- The menu should be available for online viewing.
- The customers should be able to order and pay directly online.
- All the customer reviews should be easily accessible to the prospective customers before the latter commits to the order.
- Add more delivery capabilities for online orders by increasing your fleet size or tie-ups with third-party food delivery companies sites, like Food Hub, Just Eat, Deliveroo, etc.
- Add tempting photos of your food items on the website and use a short & accurate description for it to make it visually appealing.
Further, to offer a seamless experience to the customers, you can choose to integrate your own online ordering platform with open source APIs like that of Posist.
3. Keep The Menu Short
Try and keep the menu as short and straightforward as possible because hungry customers usually don’t want to skim through a long menu of options. Again the menu shouldn’t be so short that the customers fail to find what they want. So, ensure that the menu comprises an adequate number of food choices (ideally 15 to 20) that are trending and easily transportable. Once the final offerings are decided, you should break the food menu into categories to make it easier to navigate through your menu.
4. Update The Menu
The most disappointing thing for a customer is to find out that the food item they want isn’t available on the menu. To prevent such distasteful events, you should monitor the menu online and keep it updated in real-time based on current supplies. Also, employ a credible CRM tool to capture customer data (such as searches and orders) to incorporate the trending food items in the menu and never lose a customer due to the non-availability of food items. A sound POS system can be the solution to be used to keep the takeaway menu updated, besides managing food delivery, inventory, etc.
5. Use Proper Packaging
In the case of takeaway service, you may be unable to pack your signature dishes the same way you will plate them. So, you need to ensure that you use the proper takeaway containers and pack them up correctly so that your customers receive the meal in perfect condition.
The following pointers regarding packaging can result in successful deliveries:
- Choose the right container size so that the meal remains in the perfect shape even after transportation. You should avoid using containers that are too big for the item packed. For instance, pizza is placed in a box just a few inches wider than it.
- Pack the ketchup and condiments separate from the main food items (such as salads, nachos, or loaded fries) to ensure that the delivery doesn’t get messed up and soggy in transit.
- Use proper insulation (like insulated food bags) to ensure that the food retains its moisture and temperature but doesn’t make it soggy due to condensation.
The restaurant industry in the UK is set to undergo transformational changes due to COVID-19. There will be renewed competition as all the players try to grab the market share and boost restaurant sales in this new ‘touchless’ world. One of the ways to accomplish it is through re-engineering the takeaway menu, provided you follow the tips mentioned above.