8 Top tips to thrive as a food business right now

There’s no denying that times have been tough for takeaways and restaurants over the past year with Covid-19 changing the way that we live, work and play.

With the global pandemic still affecting countries across the globe, many businesses are struggling to stay afloat even as the UK begins to see an ease in lockdown restrictions.

However, just because we are aiming to get back to a new kind of normal, this doesn’t mean that the hospitality sector can take it easy just yet as there are still plenty of challenges ahead as we begin to emerge from a third nationwide lockdown.

From heightened competition to government regulations that must be adhered to, there are plenty of hurdles that restaurants and takeaways need to overcome. We’ve created this easy-to-follow guide to offer some practical advice on steps you can take to help your business not only survive, but thrive!

Take a look at some of the ideas below and get ready to enjoy a big boost to your bottom line with these easy to implement steps, tailor-made for food businesses.


  • What makes you different?

Knowing what makes your business unique and playing on that point of difference is key to ensuring your future survival.

Everyone is making a play for a smaller piece of the food industry pie right now, so offering something a little different is one of the ways that fast food outlets and restaurants are able to survive what has been arguably the most challenging period in the UK’s economic history.

Offer something new and exciting and you’ll not only attract new customers but will keep those loyal individuals coming back for more. This might be the way you prepare your dishes, an ingredient you source, a particular dish you’ve mastered or the way you serve up. Identify what makes you, you.


  • Is your packaging holding you back?

The way that we consume food prepared outside of the home has changed forever, so you need to take a closer look at how your packaging is playing its part.

For example, are you missing out on providing desserts as well as main meals as you don’t have the right packaging to present and deliver your sweet treats to your target audience?

Having the best quality packing is key to expanding on your takeaway menu and ensuring that average order values rise.


  • Seek out new revenue streams

Those hospitality industry members most likely to survive the Covid-19 pandemic have sought out new revenue streams to help keep their business afloat during the past 18 months. Don’t be afraid to grab new opportunities to bring in more income.

From takeaways and deliveries to at home fine dining experiences and sweet shakes and desserts, get creative with ways to attract more customers towards your business. Experimentation can be made less scary with a little research – ask a small panel of customers what they think to your new idea or put the word out on social media for feedback.


  • Upgrade your packaging and add value

Packaging isn’t just important from a practical and presentation perspective, it also helps to add value to your offerings so that you can demand a higher price for your products.

Pop a takeaway latte in a beautifully branded paper coffee cup and the perceived value of the contents inside instantly increases. This can help you justify asking for a higher price than you would if you had provided the same drink in a bland and boring polystyrene cup.

Many of the biggest coffee chains have boosted their profits by using their branding to add value, so isn’t it about time that you did the same?


  • Reassess those profits and portions

Many businesses offer generous sized portions as they feel that this offers good value to their customers, but are these ample serving costing you more in terms of profits?

Investigate the average portion sizes dished up by competitors for a frame of reference. Then, take a look at how much it costs you to actually produce each dish including ingredients, time and other aspects such as delivery and packaging costs.

If you find that your servings are significantly larger than those of your local competitors, you could be missing out on bigger profit margins.

  • Get social

Many businesses are turning to social media right now to extend reach and bring in new customers. Platforms like Instagram offer an easy and effective way to promote your business without expensive advertising fees eating in to your profit margins.

Getting started with social media is easy if you take the time to see which of your competitors is getting it right online with images, menus and competitions.  Make sure that you do your homework before launching straight into your new social media strategy.


  • Branding is king

One area that shouldn’t be underestimated when trying to thrive as a business is branding. Giving your customers a recognisable brand that adds value to your product can help you command a higher purchase price. One area that can help to amplify your brand and serve as a visual reminder of your offerings is your packaging.

From customised greaseproof paper that carries your logo and corporate colours and is also freezer and microwave safe to printed paper bags for the transportation of your delicious meals, consider how your branding can be incorporated throughout your customer facing items to ensure that you never miss an opportunity to make an impression.


  • Plan for the future

The only thing that’s for sure going forward is that nothing is certain right now. If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. That said, it is wise for all hospitality and food retailers to have contingency plans in place for the next few months so that they prepared and ready to adapt to every eventuality.

With a little luck, lockdown restrictions will begin to ease before returning to a ‘new normal’ but it's always advisable to have a plan B just in case the government’s pathway out of lockdown hits a stumbling block.


Tags: takeaways, restaurants, Covid-19