Last Thursday a friend of mine took me to a certain food takeaway in Masvingo town. I did not even know that place existed so I was curious to check it out. I can say of all the food takeaways I have been to so far, this one sits at the apex. It is rare to find public foods joints that serve good quality food. As I was going over that day when I got home it got me thinking. I thought of how so many food takeaway businesses have poor standards. That is why in this article I am unpacking 3 secrets to success in the food takeaway business.

Cleanliness And Presentability

I am preaching to the choir on this because these are the first things people look at. Yet most service providers do not prioritize these aspects. Cleanliness and presentability apply across the whole spectrum of people and things involved. I am talking about the cooks, the waiters or waitresses, the utensils, the sitting area, the cooking area, the floors, the walls, and so on. Making sure these elements are top-notch is not just about the look of it. More importantly, it also ensures that high standards of hygiene are maintained. Many are sceptical about eating from food takeaways for fear of falling sick from e.g. food poisoning. Including décor and low-volume ambient background music also boosts the appeal of the place. Always clean soon after someone is done eating i.e. for sit-ins. The staff must be impartially cordial and social with all the patrons. It is always refreshing for one to be served by well-mannered and warm people.

Cooking And Plating Standards

By plating, I am referring to how you place the various elements of a meal on or on a plate before serving. Personally, my appetite can be affected if food is haphazardly plated. Plating is as good as making a presentation, do it the best way you can. People generally want a meal that feels like it has been prepared at home. There should not be a huge departure in quality just because it is a public food outlet. It does not hurt to use good quality utensils when serving food. You see some places with metal or plastics plates. Yes, some people do not mind them but some are turned off by that. Food should be well-prepared and appetising both visually and taste-wise. Pay close attention to any dishes involving gravies or soups. If improperly handled these tend to lead to stomach upsets. Always ensure that food is sufficiently cooked; half-cooked foods can be harmful to health. At the very least that can negatively affect your brand image.

Portion Sizes And Unique Additions Can Set You Apart

I have noticed that lots of people usually complain about small portion sizes at food takeaways. I know that service providers guilty of this do so to minimize costs. There is nothing wrong with seeking to minimize costs but that should not get in the way of providing satisfactory service. At times I ask myself why the difference when you visit different outlets. You go to one and a US$1 meal is smaller in size than the same US$1 meal elsewhere. It tells that you will be greedy which is not a good business practice.

Increasing the size of your portions can lure customers away from other places. Customers do not just buy food for fun; they want to feel full at the end of the day. That is why portion sizes are a big deal to them. Do you want to enjoy more customer inflows? Simply increase the sizes of your portions. To buttress that, find unique additions to your dishes. If you add stuff that other players do not have you become more sought after. I know of a place that offers a free drink for a US$1 meal. The place I recently went to with my buddy offers a free vegetable salad when you buy a meal. Such simple unique additions, along with checking all the other boxes make your brand the talk of the town.

Another focus can be providing meals that are not found elsewhere. For example, you do not tend to find meats like rabbit meat and goat meat in many outlets. You also do not usually find traditional starches such as mhunga or zviyo, for example. You also rarely find food takeaway outlets that provide breakfast or dessert dishes. Positioning yourself to provide such uniqueness can drive up your sales volumes.

I would add that you must start thinking around customer loyalty programs as well. For example, simply saying one gets a free meal after every 5 or 10 meals can boost customer loyalty. Meal vouchers should be in your consideration as well. This can drive sales as people can buy meal vouchers in advance. Meal vouchers can be good for convenience or gifting purposes. You must also look into incorporating a delivery service e.g. within your locality. That can set you apart from other players as some people might not have time to come onsite. I believe these tips will help enhance the operations of your food takeaway business in 2022.