Five ideas to maximise takeaway business during the lockdown

In the midst of further national lockdowns, businesses of all shapes and sizes are feeling unsettled about the future and how they can operate in such turbulent times. Once again, hospitality has been hit hard with all sit-in service closed, but it doesn’t necessarily mean shutting up shop altogether.

Takeaway service can often still be a viable option for many cafés and restaurants. The demand is there if your business can make it work. Customers are looking for a tiny piece of normality – a simple cup of great coffee – even if they are sipping it in the home office rather than with friends and colleagues.

Whether you are looking to start offering a takeaway service, or promote and grow your existing one, here are tips from expert Nicholas Campana on maximising takeaway business during the lockdown.

1. Offer a small but perfectly formed menu

Trying to manage a large takeaway menu can be difficult, especially if you have reduced staff on hand. Go easy on yourself. Limit your menu and only offer the food and drink items you know will sell well and that you can craft perfectly every time.

Take a look at how your customers are consuming in the COVID-19 era – there may be menu changes you need to make to ensure you are providing what your customers need. This will help take the pressure off, means less wastage and perfectly crafted coffees will encourage repeat business.

2. Add bundles and meal deals

This about increasing your basket spend. People are out and about less so they want to make their trip (or delivery) worthwhile by ordering more. This is where promotions like meal deals come in. Introduce more deals to upsell food alongside your coffee, like cake and cookies or introduce a breakfast or lunchtime meal deal.

Don't forget! If you need any compostable and plant-based packaging for your take away menu, look no further than our Vegware range at Espressso Warehouse.

3. Include impulse items

Similarly, to the previous point, this one is all about upselling. In addition to your bundle promotions, think about impulse buys you can add at the point of sale. Including individually packaged treats at the till is an easy way to lift basket spend when customers are purchasing their coffee. Individually wrapped goods are a particularly good seller at the moment with our heightened focus on minimising contact, so consider adding these items to your repertoire.

4. Use social media

Don’t neglect the main way customers will research, engage with and review you – social media. It’s so important to have a presence and to use it effectively to promote your business. Make sure you let your following know that you are open for a takeaway service, and ensure you update your opening hours on your Facebook group so your customers can check out timings before heading over. As always, keep on posting photos of that delicious coffee regularly and keep interacting with your following – just because things are working slightly differently it doesn’t mean your customers have to forget about you!

5. Offer digital rewards

You can maximise your takeaway business by changing up how you manage customer loyalty programs. This is the Covid19 era and everything is moving towards contactless, so digital loyalty apps are the way forward. No more stamping on a tired, crumpled piece of card. This is 2021. There are a number on the market that allow you to customise to your own branding, communicate your offers, news and updates to subscribers and crucially, it means there is a simple point of sale loyalty transaction without the need for contact.

It’s a no-brainer that these encourage repeat visits, but it also gives an added way to communicate with your customers – from a safe distance of course.

You may recall in a previous edition we shared a few app ideas for you to consider:

Magic Stamp This is a great loyalty app that works well and is easily customisable to a business brand. They claim to generate a 50% increase in visit frequency after 3 months.

Stamp Me This is a fantastic affordable option for single cafes, but they do have options for groups too. Apparently, 95% of businesses found that customers using the app spend more on average than those who do not.

Yoyo Wallet One scan for payment, loyalty rewards and a digital receipt. Simple! With 1.7 million users it's another solid option to consider.