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How Restaurants Are Adapting to the New Normal With Takeaway and Delivery

Bridget McCrea, Writer

For most restaurants in the UK, the news that they would no longer be able to accommodate dine-in customers came quickly, with limited prep time. Statista reported that the year-over-year change in seated restaurant diners was down by 82 percent in mid-March just before lockdown. UK Hospitality Tracker reported that first quarter 2020 sales in the hospitality sector dropped 21.3 percent. Some establishments shut down completely, others added online order/pickup operations, and still others turned their dining rooms and bars into staging areas for ramped-up takeaway and delivery operations. Many UK firms started switching to delivery of groceries and other household goods to customers’ homes to make up for lost profits.

Even with the reopening of pubs, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses throughout the UK in July, many restaurant owners may choose to continue takeaway-only services or pivot their business to include more takeaway and delivery. That’s where we at Square can help.

How to offer online takeaway

If your restaurant was impacted by COVID-19 and you haven’t been able to offer takeaway yet, now might be the time to pivot. You may be wondering how to start selling online. There are several eCommerce software solutions that can help you manage your online orders.

  • Integrate a restaurant POS system: POS (point of sale) systems serve as a hub for dine-in sales, menus, takeaway orders, team management, and more. Gone are the days where you do manual bookkeeping. Square for Restaurants coordinates operations, order management, third-party integrations, and payments so you can focus more on your customers.

  • Invest in contactless solutions: Square has partnered with Ecwid to make online ordering and contact-free payments even easier for customers. Ecwid fully synchronises with Square POS systems and seamlessly integrates with restaurant websites and social media platforms to drive business. Worried about added costs? Restaurant owners can use Ecwid’s free plan, which is available through 2020.

How much does online takeaway cost?

Online takeaway costs vary depending on what takeaway software services you use and if you already have a website and mobile app for your restaurant. Consider these fees when trying to keep costs down:

  • There are three Square POS services and pricing plans: Square POS, Square for Restaurants, and Square Restaurants Plus. No matter which solution and plan you choose, there is a processing rate of 1.75 percent for card-present payments. Keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase hardware to complement your POS service. Choose which POS hardware best serves your business—from a standalone Square Terminal to a full kit—and pick your payment plan.

  • Integrating a custom mobile app with your Square service could cost anywhere from £89.00 to £200.00 per month, depending on the developer software service. Square has partnered with PepperHQ and Craver to help restaurants better reach their customers and make online ordering effortless.

  • Marketing efforts are essential to starting your online takeaway business and driving revenue. Strategise ways to market takeaway options to customers on your website or social media channels.

What is the best food delivery system software?

Choosing the best food delivery software is easy with Square’s POS services. Square’s order manager allows restaurant employees to receive and view all online orders in one place.

Square Restaurant, which includes software for food delivery, partners with order aggregator services, Deliverect and Cuboh, that help with menu management across many third-party delivery services. (These services range from £39.00 to £200.00 per month.) That means that restaurant owners can easily connect with third-party UK food delivery platforms, such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat, and more than 13 other platforms. Do you have several restaurant locations? If so, you can manage mobile orders for all locations with one Deliverect subscription.

What else do I need to know?

Things are changing quickly regarding reopening regulations, so it may be helpful to alert your customers via email or on your social media platforms that your restaurant is open for business. Let them know what measures are in place and what policies employees are following to keep guests safe, and what customers need to be aware of before dining in or ordering takeaway and delivery. As lockdowns are rolled back, let customers know how to support your business and employees.

Additionally, keep up to date on actions you may need to take to ensure your restaurant business complies with new standards once the UK leaves the EU. New rules will come into place on beginning 1 January 2021. Check out this helpful guide for how you can be preparing for 2021.