Starting a small business in any sector is a big undertaking, even more so in a highly competitive sector like takeaway food. From creating a business plan, to finding the right location, to hiring staff, to setting up your delivery, there is a lot you need to get sorted.
Before you can consider launching your business and opening your store to paying customers, you need to find the right systems that can help you manage, operate and grow your takeaway business.
Four systems a takeaway business needs to get started:
1) Electronic Point-of-Sale (EPOS) system
The primary purpose of your point-of-sale is to manage your on-premise customer sales including processing card payments and providing customer receipts.
Point-of-sale systems have gone from being a basic cash register for recording simple sales information to the central hub for many small businesses, that help to make life and business, easier to manage and grow.
With a myriad of choices on the market it is important you find a solution that works for your business but some of the things to consider when choosing your EPOS are:
- Local & cloud-based backups – make sure the system works on-line and offline, as you do not want to be left without any EPOS if the internet goes off.
- Easy to use interface – it should be easy for your staff to place orders and make changes and payments should be processed hassle free.
- Online order integration – you should be able to link up with your online orders and ideally any platform partners like uber or Deliveroo, so you can keep everything centralised
- Inventory management – your EPOS should allow you to monitor and manage your stock, so your purchasing is made as easy as possible
- Integrated card payments – having your card payments EPOS linked make payments easier but also gives you full traceability on the transactions
- Customer support – whilst you want an easy-to-use EPOS you may need help from time-to-time so good quality support is essential, and it shouldn’t cost the earth
2) Your Own Online Ordering System
Even when starting a brand-new business, it is critical you start with your own online ordering system. Owning your customers and the data, is the most valuable asset your business will have.
When picking your online ordering solution, it is important that you consider more than the initial cost or monthly price, such as:
- Full app solution – make sure you get an Apple & Android app, having your business on your customers phones as a physical app is extremely valuable
- Website included – websites are NOT dead, they play an important part in marketing your business and ensuring Google lists your business correctly
- You own your data – some online ordering solutions sit between you and your business, meaning they own the customers and the data
- Fixed fee and no commissions – your ordering solution should be based on a fixed monthly fee & card fee, so you know what your costs are up front, and you don’t give more money away as you grow your business
- Built in marketing – having your own system should give you the ability to market to your customers and drive more orders and increase spend
3) Driver & Delivery Management
The demand for delivery is higher than ever and being able to manage your deliveries effectively is important for efficiency and traceability.
The right delivery software will get your food to customers quickly. This allows customers to get the food they want, when they want it, and where they want it.
Delivery software is also important because it cuts down on effort needed to actively manage deliveries, giving you more time to invest in growing your business.
Things to look for in your delivery software:
- Easy-to-use dashboard – everything you need to get an order to customers should be available in one single, easy-to-use dashboard
- Real-time location tracking – customers should know up-to-the-minute delivery estimates, and you should be able to track all of your drivers
- Mobile app for drivers – drivers should be able to communicate with customers, route plan, confirm deliveries, and more within an app designed for them
- Seamless integration – your online ordering and EPOS should link to your delivery management software so you can easily manage all your deliveries
4) Accounting Software
Accurate accounting for a small business is a vital, especially when it comes to reporting for VAT and TAX payments.
Your accounting software should allow you to report on all purchases, sales, salaries, and assets, which should give you a good overview of your business on a day-to-day basis, as well as enabling you to maintain any statutory requirements you may have.
Key things to look for are:
- Cloud based software – most modern accounts packages for small business sit in the cloud, giving you full access from anywhere on any device
- VAT / TAX Reporting – with the new ‘making tax digital’ requirements in the UK, your account package should be able to do this for you automatically
- Multiple users – to make your life easier it should allow you to give access to your accountant / book keeper so they can easily get the info they need
- Manage payroll – not all accounting systems have a payroll option but having them all in one can make it much easier for you, your accountant, and your staff
As you search for the right technology for your takeaway business, keep in mind that all the software you choose should ideally work seamlessly together. Look for integrations that automate a lot of the work for you so you can concentrate on your business and serving your customers as best as possible.
At App4 we provide a complete online ordering solution, and we link with a variety of EPOS systems, delivery management solutions and accounting packages, like Xero and Quickbooks, giving you everything you need to start your new takeaway business.