For advocates of an uber healthy organic approach to eating, it might come as an unwelcome surprise that takeaway food remains one of the fastest growing areas of the UK economy.
The appeal of the quick, easy and tasty shows no sign of abating, and for many fast food / takeaways seem the most obvious and appealing option to satisfy our inner grumblings.
This is fantastic news for all you would-be small business owners out there, who might be mulling over the idea of adding your own unique flavour to your local culinary landscape.
In this guide we will talk you through some of the essential things you need to keep in mind on your startup journey, as well as some really useful practical advice.
Do your startup research
People like takeaway food, that’s very true, but it doesn't mean that every type of takeaway will enjoy the same level of success in every specific location. This is where your market research comes into its own, as it will help you to narrow in on a particular cuisine and choose one which has the best chance of succeeding.
A few of the questions that you should be trying to find answers to through your research are;
What kind of takeaway do you want to open?
What location would be ideal for this takeaway?
What will your catchment area be?
Will you deliver, and if so within what radius will you offer this service?
Who will your main competitors be?
How much do your competitors charge for their food? How busy are they? When are they most busy / quiet?
Have their been any failed takeaways in the area? What can you learn from their failure?
Are there any factors which may cause seasonality in your operation? For example are there any universities in the area which may lead to peaks and troughs in trade?
Select a cuisine
Your market research will form an integral part of the cuisine selection process and should hopefully help you zoom in on which particular foods are likely to sell well in your area.
This doesn’t mean that you need to stay within the traditional designation of what a ‘takeaway’ is i.e. chippy, Indian, pizza etc. It does mean, however that you need to consider very carefully whether the food which you plan to serve is likely to be popular with the local community. Some of the options that are open to you include;
Good old traditional British chippy
Pizza / Italian
The list really could go on and on and the chances are that not all of these takeaway types are currently represented in your local area. By selecting less traditional takeaway food you could be placing yourself in an enviable position, by making sure that you have no immediate competition, but you could also be providing food that there is simply no appetite for.
If you do plan to open a takeaway which will be serving less traditional foodstuffs, you need to be absolutely sure that it has a realistic chance of success. One of the best ways that you can gauge its potential is through a temporary popup food stall, whereby for a limited time you offer local people the chance to try the food that are planing to serve in the take away. Check out our guides to starting a street food stall and starting a popup for more information on completing this portion of your research.
Create a Business Plan
As is the case with every startup having a comprehensive business plan is an absolute essential.
The business plan not only gives you the opportunity to solidify your ideas but also creates a clear indication of your intentions to potential lenders.
This is an integral part of the process and you need to give it the time, care and attention that it deserves.
There is an incredible amount of information which needs to go into your business plan, but some of the most relevant information for a takeaway business is;
A clear concise summary of your business proposal
What you plan to offer customers and why this is superior / more appealing to them than existing options
Your cash flow projection
A breakdown of costs (both set-up costs and running costs)
Funding requirements and what you expect the returns to be
What your selected location is and what its benefits and limitations are
What stage of the process you are currently at
Details of who your competitors will be
Which particular challenges which are facing the fast food / takeaway sector
How the staffing structure of the business will be organised
When putting together a business plan there can be a real temptation to try and use it as a way of convincing potential lenders and partners that yours is a 100% fail proof business.
This is a grave mistake, because what outside parties are looking for is an awareness of the challenges that will face your business and the solutions that you propose to offset them.
It goes without saying that when it comes to the success of your takeaway, few things rank more highly on the ‘scale of importance’ than the location. No matter how good your food is, if you pick a poor location, then you are putting yourself and your business at an immediate disadvantage which could well mean the difference between success and failure.
Picking a location for your takeaway can be a long and tedious process, owing to the fact that there are numerous very important demands which need to be fulfilled.
Here’s some of the most important things that you will need to keep in mind whilst selecting the perfect location for your takeaway startup.
Is there a sufficient population base within easy access of the premises?
Is the premise well connected to local residential areas?
If you will be relying on passing trade, is the premise prominently displayed to passers by?
Is the location you have chosen affected by seasonality? Is there anything in the local area which might cause it to be more busy / quiet at certain times of the year?
Is there sufficient room for parking at your chosen location?
Are there other businesses located close-by and are these likely to have a positive or negative effect on the trade that you can expect to do?
Is the premises of suitable proportions to carry out all of the functions you will require of it?
Is the premises suitably priced for housing a takeaway? (dont forget to factor in council tax payments in your calculations)
Will you be able to have on street signage to entice passers by?
You get the idea!
It is very unlikely that you will ever be able to find a location which is perfectly suited to becoming a takeaway, and often you are forced to sacrifice some minor points to the benefit of more important ones. Just be sure that you take your time and don't rush into anything .
Hopefully this introduction to starting your own takeaway has provided some useful inspiration!
Did you know that we have a business toolkit, that's crammed full of almost everything you could ever want to know about starting a business?