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To Deliver or Not to Deliver: The Pros & Cons of Offering a Takeaway Service

With the pandemic shifting consumer habits, many food service businesses are still weighing up whether adding click & collect, takeaway, and/or delivery services to their repertoire is the right move.



There’s no doubt that offering these services can be a great way to generate new revenue streams and keep your customers coming back for more. But recent figures have shown that the demand for takeaway services might not be what it once was at the height of lockdown.


With that in mind, let's explore the pros and cons of adding takeaway services to your business.


The Pros:


1. Increased Revenue and Diversified Sales Channels


One of the obvious benefits of integrating takeaway and delivery services into your business is that it can help to increase your revenue by adding an extra sales channel. Food and drink delivery is expected to grow by 5.3% in 2022, providing foodservice businesses tapping into this additional revenue stream a total of £13.3 billion annually.


Not only will you be able to sell more of your existing menu items to customers off-premises, but you'll also have the opportunity to add in items that are specifically well-suited to online ordering, such as soft drinks and snacks.


2. Reach a Wider Audience and Expand Your Customer Base


Another key benefit of adding takeaway and delivery services is that it can dramatically increase your customer base. With pandemic behaviours becoming ingrained, customers no longer order food and drink to collect or receive at home as a "treat" but rather out of convenience and necessity.


In fact, £2 of every £10 spent in foodservice businesses in 2021 was accounted for by delivery. While the cost of living crisis is impacting UK households, there is still an opportunity for businesses to capitalise by connecting with new customers who may not have previously considered your establishment.


3. Increased Customer Loyalty and Engagement


In addition to bringing in new customers, adding takeaway and delivery services can also lead to increased customer loyalty and engagement. By pairing your online ordering system with your EPOS technology, you can gain much greater insights into your customers’ purchasing habits.


This, in turn, allows you to send targeted marketing messages and personalised discounts designed to encourage customers to keep coming back for more. For instance, if you notice that a segment of your customers often orders takeaway Thursday nights, you can send them a promotional code for a discount on their next order to positively reinforce their behaviour.


4. Reduced Overheads and Increased Efficiency


While additional costs are associated with adding takeaway and delivery services, such as packaging and driver fees, these are often offset by the increased efficiency of your operations.


For example, if you can take advantage of an online ordering system, you can take orders and payments in advance, eliminating the need for staff to take orders and process payments. It also removes the need for customers to wait in line to place their orders.


This not only saves you time, but it also frees up your staff to focus on preparing the food and drinks, which can lead to increased efficiency and enhanced customer satisfaction.


The Cons:


1. Lower Average Order Values


One of the potential downsides of adding takeaway and delivery services is that it can lead to lower average order values. This is because customers tend to order smaller items when they’re not dining in, such as soft drinks and snacks, rather than larger meals.


It's also much more difficult to upsell your customers when they aren't physically present in your establishment. To offset the lower average order value, you'll need to focus on increasing your volume of orders by marketing your takeaway and delivery services to a broader audience.


2. Increased Competition


Another potential downside is the increased competition you’ll face from other businesses offering takeaway and delivery services. In the UK, an estimated 45,000 restaurants now offer some form of takeaway or delivery service, an increase of 2.3% from 2021.


To stand out from the crowd, you'll need to focus on marketing your unique selling points, such as your menu items, enhanced convenience, and delivery radius. You'll also need to ensure that your online ordering system is user-friendly and easy to navigate.


3. Potential Dip in Takeaway Demand


While restaurants and other foodservice establishments had to alter their business models to meet the increased demand for takeaway and delivery during the pandemic, it's important to note that this demand has already begun to drop off.


The latest figures from YouGov suggest almost a third (29%) of Brits order takeaway just once a month, and just 6% of Brits buy takeaway food several times per week compared to 17% across all global consumers.


Further analysis from Nielsen has revealed that delivery and takeaway sales are 29% down year-on-year. That said, the market remains twice the size it was pre-pandemic, and delivery sales are 315% higher than three years ago, whilst takeaway and click-and-collect sales are up by 22%.


Implement Takeaway Options at Your Establishment with MCR Systems


With dining behaviours still ingrained from the pandemic and many diners wanting the option to order online and pay ahead, it’s more important than ever for hospitality businesses to consider implementing takeaway options.


MCR Systems provides a range of payment software solutions that can help you to take advantage of the rising demand for takeaway and delivery services, including an online ordering system, Pre-Order, that integrates seamlessly with our existing Symphony suite of products.

For more information about our software solutions, or to book a demo, contact us today on 0116 299 7000 or email enquiries@mcr-systems.co.uk.