How to start a takeaway business from home
How to turn your love of food into a takeaway business in the time of Covid-19
Takeaway kitchens come in lots of different forms, from high street fish and chip shops to curry houses. However, with the high street closed for business for the foreseeable future, many would argue that now isn’t the right time to start one.
There is however, one way to make your takeaway business dream work in this turbulent environment – and that’s to start selling food from home. While you may not be catering to the masses like you imagined, you’ll still be doing what you love, while helping to feed your local area.
To help you get on your way, we’ve put together this guide, which explains the easiest way to start a takeaway business and sell food from home in this period of uncertainty.
Why start a takeaway business now?
With food delivery companies upping capacity and waiving sign up fees, this is the perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for your future takeaway business – by setting up your kitchen, getting the qualifications you need, gaining the experience you need, and getting your brand out there.
Best of all, starting a takeaway business from your home doesn’t require a hefty initial investment from you. Although delivery companies usually charge businesses a sign up fee, this typically isn’t payable until you start earning money – something to check with the delivery company before you sign up!
And if you’re worried about the commission charges that come with partnering up with a delivery company, there is another way to get your takeaway business up and running.
You could use a takeaway ordering system provider to create a website with an integrated ordering system. Or, if you already have a website, integrate one into it. It’s worth bearing in mind that these options require you to have your own delivery or pick up service. But you can find out more about these options later on.
Make sure you have the right home takeaway business licenses
Turning your love of food into a takeaway business from your home comes with similar rules and regulations to starting a catering business, including the licenses required, and the standard of cleanliness you should be demonstrating.
Around £500 (includes equipment and professional photography)
£295 (now waived due to Covid-19)
Around £300 - £430 depending on package required
£0.50 service charge
The figures above offer a top level insight, and proper research should be conducted before you sign up to a food delivery company.
It’s also worth noting that while Just Eat seems to come out on top for lowest fees, it does have a more rigorous partner approval process than both Deliveroo and UberEats.
Weigh up the pros and cons of using a third party delivery company
|Cons of using a third party delivery company|
Online ordering systems
While third party delivery companies make the lives of takeaway business owners easier, they do, in return, take a relatively large chunk of your earnings.
That’s why, if you have the means to deliver your own food, or want to encourage your customers to pick their takeaway up, you could always use an online ordering system.
Online ordering systems are cheaper and take less commission than the likes of UberEats and Deliveroo, yet give your customers the means to order their food directly through you. In fact, some online ordering systems offer their base package for free.
Start by getting in touch with a takeaway online ordering system provider. They’ll discuss whether you need a website on which to host the system, or whether they can integrate the ordering system into your existing site.
Once set up, customers will be able to order online and orders will come straight through to your phone.
The best online ordering systems for takeaway businesses
Choosing the right takeaway system for your business takes a lot of thought. While some providers offer a free service, be prepared to make compromises on things like website quality or marketing. And if you do think a paid service is the best option for your fledgling business, make sure you thoroughly research what you'll get for your money.
Free to set up
Free to set up yourself (requires basic computer skills)
Yes – but no custom domain, can’t accept cash payments, only for one location
7% order fee
2.5% card processing fee
£199 set up cost
Optional £7/week for the app
Optional £25/month for a sales optimised website
£25/month for its essential package, which includes everything not included in its free package
What else do you need to consider?
Create an attractive menu
You may not be used to cooking at speed. This means you need to consider menu items that you can cook quickly using the facilities that you have. Opt for menu items that you can prepare as much as possible before you open for business – garnishes, sauces, and even whole menu items like casseroles and curries.
Get active on social media – if you haven’t already!
As you’ll be relatively new to the home takeaway business game, you’ll also need to take it upon yourself to drum up business.
While delivery companies and takeaway ordering companies can carry out some marketing on your behalf, you should be building your own brand image by using the likes of Instagram and Facebook to interact with your target audience.
Or perhaps you’ve already got a loyal Instagram foodie following that you can call upon to try your new menu?
Why not check out our guide to small business marketing to see what hints and tips you can pick up?
What should I do next?
Here’s a round up of how to start a takeaway business from home:
- Get in touch with the different delivery companies or online ordering providers to see if their services are a feasible option
- Make sure to register your business with the Food Standards Agency within 28 days
- Make sure your kitchen is fully equipped, and you have the relevant food hygiene certificates
- Get active on social media. Instigate a discussion around your new takeaway business. You could even get some advice from a digital marketing agency. Startups has partnered with a number of agencies who would be happy to give you advice
- Brainstorm menu ideas and do some practice run throughs of each of your dishes by cooking for people in your household