How to Start Your Own Food Delivery Business in the UK

JustEat delivery driver riding bike

Food delivery service was a bonus option for restaurants for many years, but the tables have turned. It’s a great time for a business to capitalise on the food market and keep up with the competition, allowing online ordering is now essential for success. 

Nowadays, start-ups often overlook the need to rent a commercial kitchen with a physical store and it makes sense. Renting a delivery kitchen helps business owners to save cash, streamline services, expand their menu and be all-around more efficient. 

Just like any signature dish, there is a menu of key elements to follow if you want to establish a successful food delivery only business. If you’re hungry to get started, here’s our specialist Dephna advice on how to start your own food delivery business in the UK.

Ingredients for Success; How to Launch a Food Delivery Business

Whether you’re a booming business looking to switch up and offer food delivery, or a new start-up hoping to focus solely on the delivery customer, you will need to optimise your operations, brand and systems to fit that market.

Here are the key ingredients you will need to research or refine if you’re starting takeaway delivery services:

  • Market Research
  • Brand Concept
  • Business Location
  • Delivery Kitchen
  • Menu
  • Kitchen Equipment 
  • Registering Your Business
  • Packaging
  • Hiring Staff 
  • Pricing
  • Social Media + Marketing Your Brand 

Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors…

Choose Your Business Model

First and foremost, what type of business are you going to be running?

There are many types of food delivery business that are hot gossip in the UK right now, including;

  • Grocery boxes
  • DIY meal kits
  • Prepared meals; from a dedicated food delivery business or restaurant delivery

Each business model will determine the way you run your business, right from the type of kitchen rental you choose, to the way you market your brand.

The way you choose to operate and accept orders will also influence the general setting up of your new food business. Will you…

  • Partner with a food delivery app
  • Accept telephone calls in-house
  • Build and run your own website or app 

And finally, there are also a number of different commercial kitchen types for you to choose from:

Market Research

Before planning your menu, location, marketing strategies etc. you need to carry out thorough market research. You only have one chance to launch, so make it as strong as possible. 

Research your target market to determine what foods they are eating or ordering and where your target audience is most densely located. The location of said target market might also influence the way you structure your brand concept. It is also important to remember this research when renting a dark kitchen – where will the delivery radius be?

Customising your menus to your customer base will ensure that you have a steady and constant flow of orders while keeping your customers satisfied. 

Optimise Your Menu for Delivery

Whether you are starting afresh or running an established restaurant or street food truck, you will need to optimise your concept for the delivery market.

How does offering food delivery affect what foods you can sell, I hear you ask? Temperature and time are two of the biggest obstacles to food quality, and the delivery process can compromise both. Therefore, you need to find foods or develop methods of cooking and serving that are more resilient. 

If a customer receives soggy cold food splattered all over the box, it’s going to ruin their experience, and it’s unlikely that they will place an order with you again. Negative word-of-mouth reviews also spread like wildfire, destroying your reputation in the local area.

Develop a menu of meals that travel well, and focus on temperature, time, consistency, quality and taste.

Decide on a Business Location

Aside from food quality, location is one of the most influential factors on the number of sales you will receive as a food delivery business.

Find a kitchen location that is serviced by market-leading food ordering apps such as JustEat, Deliveroo and UberEats, and that also has a high population – to make sure there are customers to order!

Rent a Kitchen Space

Now that you have decided on a commercial kitchen location with a delivery radius that will allow you to serve your potential customers and help you achieve your business goals, you need to find a kitchen rental to suit you. 

Whether you know them as ghost kitchens, cloud kitchens, virtual or dark kitchen rentals, choose a kitchen provider who shares the same passions as you and one who can help you refine your business; this is especially helpful if you are new to the industry!

Buy or Rent Kitchen Equipment

Now that you’re at home in your kitchen rental, it’s time to get your commercial kitchen equipment in place. Kitting out your kitchen is quite frankly, one of the most important elements for your operations to run smoothly.

We strive for sustainability, so we advocate second hand or rented commercial kitchen equipment wherever we can, but we understand that this isn’t always practical for your business. Our ultimate guide to commercial kitchen equipment highlights the recommended utensils and appliances needed for running a dark kitchen. The guide explores the benefits of buying or renting equipment and lists our favourite new and used goods suppliers.

Choose Your Ordering Platform

An external influence on your business success is the online food delivery service that you employ. Food delivery companies and ordering platforms remove the stresses of accepting food orders while you’re busy, payment hassle, allocating delivery drivers to orders and well, delivery platforms also act as great promotion for small businesses!

The most commonly used online food ordering platforms in the UK right now are JustEat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats. 

These companies will charge you a commission for their services, but you will save cash on marketing, finding customers, hiring drivers and losing staff to the telephone. In our opinion, it’s the most sensible operations decision a home delivery only food business will make.

by Dephna

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