Starting A Takeaway

Takeaways are a commonplace on every high street, serving anything from soup and sandwiches, fish and chips, to exotic meals from all corners of the world.

Takeaways can be a good way for entrepreneurs to showcase their love for certain cuisines, but how do you go about starting such an endeavour? Diving head-first into a business such as owning a takeaway can be tricky unless you’ve done your research, so here are a few handy hints of things to bear in mind when first starting out.

SEE ALSO: Starting A Mobile Catering Business: All You Need To Know

Research Your Market

If you have an idea of where you want to set up your business, look around the area and find out what similar businesses are operating in the area already, and ask yourself the following:

  • What food do I want to serve?
  • How many other similar takeaways are in the area already?
  • How long have they been established in the area for?
  • What kind of food do they serve?
  • How much do they charge for what they serve?
  • What establishments are within the area – including universities?

By taking the time to research the area, run focus groups to find out the tastes of the locals, and look into how much your competitors are charging for similar products, you can give yourself a good start in the process of owning your own takeaway.

Plan, Plan and Plan Again

You can never be too prepared when it comes to working out what needs to go into the takeaway business, and it can be expensive if you haven’t got a handle on things.

Drawing up a mock balance sheet including rental rates, the cost of equipment and supplies, as well as essential extras such as takeaway insurance, staff wages, and employers’ liability cover to help protect you against claims brought against you by staff who suffer an injury while working for you.

When drawing up your business plan, keep the following in mind:

  • How much can you afford right now? – whether you’ve got savings or require a bank loan, work out how much you’ve got in the pot.
  • Finance options such as grants or even franchising opportunities can be a useful way of getting onto the ladder, or you could also consider starting with a food stall to test your products in small quantities to test the market and figure out your customers’ tastes.
  • What can you offer your customers – in regards to product, why is yours going to be better than your competitors?
  • Where do you want to base yourself? – location is key when it comes to setting up a takeaway; you want to pitch yourself as close to a catchment area as you can to ensure frequent footfall into your premises.
  • How much will rent be? – research several vacant pitches and shops and make a note of monthly rental rates, including them as part of your predicted balance sheet.
  • How much do you intend to spend on equipment? – be sure to price up cooking equipment such as fryers and grill tops, refrigeration units for keeping food fresh and safe in between orders, as well as the utilities for powering your equipment.

What Do I Want To Cook?

Deciding on a cuisine can depend entirely on not only your taste but those of your audience as well, for what might be delicious for you might not sell well due to lack of interest, so doing some taste testing and focus groups can help you to determine this and help you going forward.

Also, look into local suppliers and where you might source the ingredients for your menu from. Local producers will always be looking for opportunities to get their product to market, including farms and vegetable growers.

By striking a rapport with local suppliers, you can help to promote local produce and give customers confidence in the quality of your product.

Make Sure You’re Safe

Hygiene is vital when it comes to any food establishment, so making sure your premises are clean can help to keep your food fresh and keep your customers safe. Be wary of allergies and make sure that certain food groups are kept separate to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and the risk of allergic reactions.

You’ll have to apply for and display a Food Hygiene Rating certificate on your premises following a visit from a health inspector from the Food Standards Agency. Ensuring that you put in the correct steps to keep food fresh, store your ingredients safely, dispose of waste and keep your new premises free of vermin can earn you a top rating and lead to an excellent local rapport.

Get Insured

Whether you want to serve baked potatoes or baltis, ensuring you have the relevant insurance before you start out is a crucial part of the process. Specialist takeaway insurance is available and helps to cover your premises, your equipment and your stock from damage from the elements and fire.

You can also apply for a business insurance so that if anything goes wrong, you know you’re in good hands – this is especially useful if you are a franchisor.

Staffing Your Shop

Your staff are essential in running the shop, so take your time to recruit the right people – from your chefs to your front-of-house staff – ensure they are thoroughly trained and have the relevant food hygiene qualifications needed.

If you’re looking to employ staff to help out your new venture, ensure you are covered in the event of an incident causing them injury while at work.

Employers’ liability insurance will help to cover these costs, and it can also be worth taking out some public liability insurance as well to cover you should a customer sustain a personal injury on your premises or bring a claim of illness caused by food poisoning against you.

Start Small, Think Big

For a flagship store, sometimes less can be more, so try focusing on a certain number of products – maybe you have a speciality you wish to try out first – and gradually introduce new foods over time.

Testing out recipes in small amounts can help you to gauge interest in particular foods and give you an indication of your customer’s preferred tastes, so don’t be afraid to try new ideas now and then.

Be Careful

Starting a takeaway business can be a daunting prospect, but by putting in plenty of research, getting your balance sheet right and making sure you’ve everything in place before you open can stand you in good stead and help your business to flourish.

Starting A Mobile Catering Business: All You Need To Know

In recent years there has been a bit of a revolution when it comes to street food. Entrepreneurs are pitching up in town centres and using local ingredients to create delicious meals and snacks we can grab on the go, and have a bit of fun doing what they enjoy while they’re at it.

Many who enter the world of street food will have a story to tell about why they do it, from those who chose to leave busy kitchens to ply their trade in a more public setting, to young and enthusiastic chefs with a passion for what they’re cooking and serving

If you have a passion for food and fancy trying your hand in the world of mobile catering, well there’s a lot to think about:

  • What do you want to serve?
  • How are you going to cook it?
  • Where are you going to source your ingredients from?
  • What are you going to serve it from?
  • How much can you afford to charge?

The street food scene may be bustling, but it’s also very competitive. Budding entrepreneurs are always looking for more exciting flavours and quirky pitches – anything from bizarre fusion foods that somehow come together, to food being served out of pitches ranging from simple gazebos to converted vehicles that catch the eye and draw you in.

What is the best way to start if you want to take the plunge into the world of street food?

Get Educated

Caterers’ courses can be a great resource for those wanting to start out in the world of mobile catering. Whether you want to open a pop-up shop or street food stall for your wares, you’ll find everything you need to know through organisations such as the Nationwide Caterers’ Association (NCASS). They can help provide advice on all aspects of your business – everything from health and safety to tips on establishing a pitch.

Get Equipped

Just like a mechanic is no good without his tools, a chef is nothing without his oven, and so finding out about what you’ll need to prepare your delicious creations is kind of important.

There is a multitude of options to choose from when deciding where to serve your food from, whether you’re looking to hit a festival or just set up a pitch in your local town centre:

  • Gazebo
  • Pop-up stall
  • Trailer
  • Van
  • Cart
  • Bicycle

These are just the basic options, but there have been all kinds of quirky vendors selling from converted VW Beetles and campervans. Consider your options depending on what you want to sell.

You’ll also need to shell out for the cooking equipment itself; this can be anything from a gas-powered oven, electric hot plate, barbeque or even a pizza oven crafted from an old oil drum.

Utensils are essential too, so you’ll need to price those up as well, so when you’ve got your tools it’s now time to…

Get Stocked!

Because what good is going to market if you have nothing to sell? Look into where you want to source your ingredients and try and negotiate the best deal you can. Speak with local farmers to see about sourcing good quality produce, for local produce can be an appealing draw for consumers.

Also look into where to source your packaging from – whether you want to serve your food in paper cartons or simple clamshells – catering and retail warehouses can be good resources for items like these.

Costing

After this stage, it’s time to establish your pricing, work out your overheads and the cost of ingredients once you’ve found them to determine how much you want to sell a portion for.

Remember that the world of street food can be quite competitive, so do your research into how much similar vendors are charging, as well as those around them.

And keep your audience in mind as well, think of how much you’d be likely to pay for what you are offering, keep it competitive but be careful not to sell your wares short!

Insurance And Safety

Once you’ve decided on your choice of pitch and have the equipment to cook it with, it’s time to protect it against accidental damage. Mobile catering insurance policies are available to help cover your vehicle, any equipment you use, your stock (Product Liability), and most importantly your customers (Public Liability) against any claims you might have brought against you. If you employ anyone to assist, you’ll also need to protect them against injury during work (Employers’ Liability).

You’ll also have to go through rigorous health & safety checks to make sure what you are selling is safe for consumption, so keep an eye on things like the cleanliness of your cooking area and any refrigeration units you may have to keep ingredients chilled.

RELATED: What is a Business Insurance?

Get Your Name Out There

So you have the pitch, the know-how and the kickass recipe, so you should be all set to go, right? But, no-one knows who you are yet, so…

It’s time to make some noise! Marketing is an integral part of the process when setting up a new business, so look into ways you can get yourself out there with flyers and business cards.

If you want to create a buzz for free to start with, establish a presence on social media and get yourself a website to show off your products – don’t be afraid to be quirky when coming up with a name and pitch!

Don’t be afraid to network either, by getting out there to trade shows, street food festivals and by speaking to and befriending vendors just like you on social media; you can pick up useful tips as to how to start out, what makes a good pitch and even find new and exciting taste inspirations.

Perfecting Your Recipe

With so many vendors out there vying for business, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd with something that’ll draw customers in and tantalize their taste buds! Experiment with recipes, tweak things and put your own spin on familiar combinations, even make these the basis of your business with eye-catching names on the menu.

By doing your research thoroughly beforehand and ensuring you have everything in place before you set up, you can then pitch up and start dishing up delicious dishes to punters, wherever you choose to set up.

Shopping For The Best Annuity

Despite living in the age of the internet, finding the best deal can be more difficult than you think.

The problem only becomes more compound when it is a crucial decision like buying an annuity, which may well be one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make in your lifetime.

After years of saving every penny, when you are finally ready to retire, you must ensure that you get the best retirement income.

And you do not need to buy an annuity offered by your pension provider. Shopping around is your right and in this case, a necessity.

The fact is that retirees in the UK are frequently fobbed off by pension providers selling annuities. A glossy sales pitch, lack of research or pure customer lethargy can make a difference of as much as 31% according to Hargreaves Lansdown.

All said and done, how does one find the best annuity?

What are your financial goals?

If you are on a path to buy an annuity, the chances are that you have an income in mind that you would want in the years to come.

The type of annuity you choose should depend on your current financial circumstances and future financial anticipation.

An FCA accredited independent financial advisor will be the best person to guide you. Alternatively, you can also use the government-backed free Pension Wise service.

Have you made the best of your employment years and saved for the golden years? In other words, do you have any savings and funds tucked away in different nests?

  • If yes, then you may want to opt for a single life annuity which will give you with a higher income in the initial years of retirement.
  • On the contrary, if you have a dependent spouse or civil partner or a child who does not have a pension arrangement of their own, then you may want to think about their survival in the event of your death. A joint life annuity would be a better choice.
  • Is a fixed monthly income for the rest of your life enough for you? Remember that the value of this income will decrease over time due to inflation.
  • You can also choose a type of annuity where your income increases each year in line with rising prices.
  • If you are a smoker or have a health condition that could reduce your life expectancy, then you may qualify for a higher income rate through an annuity called, ‘Enhanced annuity’.

To fully understand what annuity is the best one for you, you must shop around.

What about my pension provider?

Just because you shop around for an annuity, it in no way means that you cannot sign up with your pension provider.

In fact, you can use your pension provider’s annuity quote as a point of reference while shopping around. If you get a better rate that is suited to your financial requirements, then by all means, go ahead.

On the other hand, if your pension provider offers you a ‘Guaranteed Annuity Rate’, then chances are that it will be better than what any annuity provider can give you.

That’s one scenario where you would want to stick to your pension provider.

What should you ask an annuity provider?

Ideally, an annuity provider will ask you a series of questions about your health, marital status and financial status. The annuity which they will offer to you will be based on the answers you provide them with.

You will also be provided with a personalised quote and a personalised illustration that projects why a particular annuity is the best option for you.

In 2013, the Association of British Insurers issued a new code of conduct for pension providers, under which they are bound to provide precise information to retirees about the various options they have. They should also encourage retirees to shop around so that they can get the best rates for their annuity.

If you think that the information provided to you is inconclusive, then you can choose to walk.

Alternatively, you can politely ask them to explain why their product would be the best fit for your financial circumstances.

Remember, a better retirement income might just be around the next corner. Don’t be caught with a lower rate only because you were too lazy to shop around.

Are you looking for a professional financial advisor? Read our article, ‘How to Select a Financial Advisor’ for more information.