As we continue to live through yet another lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many businesses and people's livelihoods have been turned upside down. Rules, regulations and laws are rapidly changing and it can often be difficult to keep up.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes have had to close their doors to seated customers, once again, in order to minimise social contact and stop the spread of the virus. This has led many to rethink how they can keep their businesses open and operating as a takeaway seems to be the solution which is perfectly in keeping with the current guidance.
Switching from table service to a takeaway service won’t make a massive change to how you run your food business. The kitchen will still be preparing and cooking food made to order. The difference will be that the food will need to be packaged up rather than plated up.
In the past, businesses will have been required to seek planning permission if they wanted to offer additional services to those already laid out. Since the pandemic, the government has set out temporary measures which allow pubs, cafes and restaurants to provide a food takeaway service. This enables such establishments to continue operating, keeping them afloat financially as well as supporting their local communities by offering a valuable service.
Government guidance states that orders should be taken over the phone or online. People should not be sat, waiting or queuing on your premises. It’s most hygienic to accept card payments to reduce the risk associated with cash handling and to minimise contact with people. It is fairly simple to set up an online platform which will enable you to take payments.
Customers collecting food should only enter the establishment to do just that and then vacate again, no one should wait inside. Collections should be staggered and customers assigned a selected time slot in which to collect their order. You will need to display signage relating to social distancing and the requirement to wear face masks or coverings inside.
When delivering orders, it is important to encourage a contactless process. If payments have been paid in advance, online or over the phone, then your delivery team can drop the food onto the doorstep, ring the doorbell and then step back two metres.
You will need to invest in insulated boxes for deliveries to ensure that food arrives to the customer at the correct and safe temperature. Bear in mind that a separate box will be needed for cold items such as ice-cream and drinks and that these insulated boxes will need to be wipe-clean in order to be sanitised regularly.
Whilst setting up a new takeaway service it can be easy to look for the quickest and simplest packaging solutions. It is worth being mindful about the packaging you choose. There are so many eco-friendly, affordable options readily available including everything from burger and pizza boxes to soup cups, sandwich wedges and cutlery. You can browse the full range available at Advanced Disposables here. With such a rise in the requirement for takeaway food now that restaurants are closed, it’s best to avoid single use plastics and choose a more sustainable solution to prevent a possible detrimental impact on the planet.
It’s more important than ever before to ensure high levels of hygiene are maintained. Along with the two metre social distancing rules and mask wearing, hand washing is critical and should be carried out regularly for at least 20 seconds. Work surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly and frequently.
The risk of catching the virus from packaging or the food itself is very low, so long as those preparing it follow the correct food hygiene measures. The virus cannot survive heat, so by providing properly cooked, hot food the risk is minimal.
It is possible to be able to offer everything from a full English breakfast or a traditional roast to classic pub meals and even fine dining options. Keep things simple, there’s no point in offering something that is beyond your limits or that you have never served before. Do some research to find out what your local customers want and then advertise and ask for feedback through social media channels. It’s best to stick to a reduced menu of popular choices that can be transported and reach the customer’s dining table looking the same as when it left the preparation kitchen.
There’s a lot of things to consider when switching to a takeaway service, but we hope this advice will help you to get the most out of a tough situation. Further guidance can be found on the FSA website. From all of us at Advanced Disposables, good luck and stay safe.