8 Tips to Help You Sell More Takeaway Food

Posted on September 21, 2016 by Ash Bennett

You shouldn’t be operating your business blind. Not knowing what makes you different from your competitors, or what your customers are wanting, is going to leave your business open to failure.

Selling more takeaway food to your customers means giving them what they want, at a price they’re willing to pay, in a manner that leaves them wanting to come back again.

There are several elements that play a part in achieving this, but here are eight simple tips to get you on your way to driving more sales:

Menu design
Your menu acts as one of the first impressions to a customer, whether they’re passing by your premises and stop to peruse what’s on offer, or you’ve got them through the door and it’s time to place an order.

A well thought out menu is critical. It should be simple, clean and with clear branding. There’s nothing worse than trying to sift through too many pages of a menu. You need to strike the right balance between offering choice and not overwhelming your customers.

Be sure to have menus available for takeaway, and even distribute printed menus to the local area — it’s an effective means of marketing and will get your business front of mind to potential customers.

Quality food
Getting your customers through the door once is a significant achievement, but having them return time and time again, and spreading the word to their friends and colleagues, is what will make the real difference to your bottom line.

Offering fresh, quality food is going to be key to achieving this. Make sure if you’re offering a hot selection, that food is served piping hot. Offer a good range of products, but not so big that you’re left with wastage or making it hard for your customers to make a decision.

If you’ve got display cabinets, keep them well stocked and presentable — a half-empty display fridge can be unappealing. Stock sells stock — simple and effective.

Upsell opportunities
Without doubt one of the greatest ways to sell more takeaway food is to offer customers different size options and added extras. If you’re serving hot food, have small, medium and large variations. Suggest something sweet or a drink to accompany an order.

Train your staff in what items work well together and what items are most profitable to the business. Have your employees sample the specials so they can make informed recommendations. Equally, try to educate your staff on how to best upsell so as to not annoy customers or make them feel pressured. The upsell should be enticing and useful — the last thing you want is to make customers feel uncomfortable.

Customers are often keen to treat themselves to something extra, but feel guilty to overindulge or overspend. Sometimes all that’s needed is a little gentle persuasion!

Price points
Ensure your price offering is carefully balanced. You need to have a good understanding of all fixed and variable costs, and price your menu options accordingly so that you’re driving a good profit margin.

It’s a good idea to know what your competitors are offering and if your potential customers are willing to pay the price you’re pitching. You don’t want to price yourself out of the running, or if you are gunning higher, ensure the quality meets expectation.

Offering special promotions and deals is another great way to entice customers through the door. It can be as simple as a coffee and muffin bundle, or free soft drink with every hot lunch served on a Tuesday. Mix up the offers to create interest and variety, and be sure to promote them via all available channels — menus, social, website, signage, etc.

Product differentiation
It’s likely many other food service outlets in the area are offering a similar cuisine to you. It’s important to keep an eye on the competition and look for ways to offer different and better products that will help you stand out to customers to ensure they pick you over the competition.

Look to be innovative and leverage current food trends whenever possible. Try to source local and unique ingredients, and promote any eco-friendly initiatives and products used by the business.

Keep track of what’s working well and what’s not on your menu and optimise accordingly. Your customer buying behaviours are the true indication of what they’re looking for. Nail that and you’ll increase your bottom line as well as your customer satisfaction.

Friendly service
Nothing is more critical than having a warm and welcoming staff on board. Training them to be efficient and knowledgeable will go a long way to making up for any other potential downfalls in the business (e.g. limited range or higher price point).

At the end of the day, a customer needs to be served quickly and with a smile. If it can get to a more personal level where names and orders become familiar — even better!

These levels of quality service also make it easier to upsell or promote special offers, or entice a customer to try something new on the menu. So take the time to train your staff well and ensure they’re promoting your brand and your products to the highest degree — and reward them accordingly.

Clean premises
Quite simply, good food hygiene is good for business. If your premises isn’t clean, then you’re not creating a good impression to your customers that your food can be trusted. Keeping all areas clean and tidy, and ensuring hygiene standards are maintained is imperative to any food service outlet.

It’s imperative to guarantee that food is stored, prepared and sold in a clean and sanitary environment, with all food products clearly labeled. If customers can see that a high standard of cleanliness is maintained, they will be encouraged to purchase food from you.

Customer awareness
Get to know your customers. They are your business’s most important critics and source of inspiration and feedback. Never assume you’ve got things wrapped up. Instead, ask your customers what they consider to be your point of difference; what they think of your menu, product choice and range; if they think you’re offering a good customer experience and if you’re creating a standout impression.

Understanding your customers’ opinions and viewpoints will help you to tweak operations to better promote and sell your products. This type of feedback will help you to determine if you’re selling the right items, or if there’s something missing that will help reel in more sales.

Take the time to gather this information — it could prove to be your most valuable key to standing out from the competition and selling more products.

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