28 Jan '21

Takeaway inspiration for pub chefs

During 2020 we have seen the takeaway market grow rapidly as many businesses do what they need to do to survive temporary closures due to Covid-19 restrictions. Consumers are keen to support the industry and enjoy food from their favourite local restaurants during lockdown. With the latest restrictions set to stay for a while yet, we have put together some ideas and recipes for chefs to help them during the challenging months ahead.

The main difficulty for many organisations is how to make takeaway a commercially viable offer. However, the demand for takeaways is there, and we can't see that changing, even when restaurants re-open for in-house dining. Takeaway can also create other challenges including cook to order timings, food waste, packaging, temperature, delivery/collection options and presenting food for the consumer.

We want to address some of these challenges and share some tips based on our experience, whilst trying to support you with recipe ideas.

Styles of takeaway

Many people think traditional fast food when it comes to takeaway but there are several options.

Short order

This is the classic pizza or curry takeaway which includes a set menu of offers that can be brought together quickly, in response to real-time orders. Whilst this addresses the market for spontaneous purchases it can put demands on an organisation and may not suit every operation.

Pre-order

This is where a menu of takeaway dishes is produced against an order at least 24 hours in advance. We have seen pubs run a set number of covers each evening, as they would if the restaurant was open, and people are able to book in advance. If your pub has a loyal, local following, this is a great way to stay engaged with them. It allows better quality control and minimises waste.

Part assembly

This is where you part-produce a dish which is generally a cold delivery, coupled with simple instructions for the consumer to finish. This may be as simple as popping it in the oven to cook or finish off an item and cook fresh vegetables. It is a great way to allow someone to feel part of the cooking process, whilst removing the stress of shopping and preparation. It also allows more confident foodie customers the chance to cook something new in a convenient way. A great example of this is Beef Wellington, which could be prepared by the pub chef so that all the customers need to do is oven bake it as per the chef’s instructions and reheat the gravy or sauce.

Cook with chef

You could sell an ingredient kit with cooking instructions for the consumer to make for themselves. This has advantages in that the consumer receives the precise amount of ingredients they need to make the dinner, without having to buy specific items of food. We have even seen some chefs uploading simple self-made videos to YouTube showing how to put the dish together.

What kind of dishes work well as a takeaway?

One way of approaching a takeaway offer is to keep it simple and do the basics really well. Pub classics are often a great choice. Pick six to eight of your most popular dishes and deliver them as a takeaway offer. Make sure your best-sellers are available as these are the dishes your regular customers will be missing most. Don’t worry about a children’s menu - simply offer half-portions for children or seniors. Having a small set of classics also lends itself to batch cooking, which are easy to get out of the door at short notice.  

Five recipes you may like to add to your takeaway menu

•    A Sunday roast delivery, or roast night, is a great way to offer a set menu and price per head. These can easily be pre-ordered and could include a dessert. Our Buttered Roast Chicken with Thyme & Rosemary Gravy is always a big hit.
•    Stews and casseroles are great for the cold winter nights. This traditional comfort food is sometimes just what we are looking for in uncertain times. Here’s our delicious Lamb Stew with Barley and Herb Dumplings.
•    With a growing interest in a vegan diet why not offer these, Vegan Balls with White Beans & Mushroom in a Tomato Sauce?
•    When thinking about desserts, a classic crumble is a great dish to serve up as a takeaway. Check out our Apple Crumble and Custard recipe.
•    Cold desserts are another great choice for your takeaway menu as they can be bought as part of the meal or saved as a treat for the next day. Take a look at this Custard Panna Cotta which takes just 15 minutes to prepare.

How to attract new customers or increase sales?

Themed menu offers are a great way to pick up sales on days when you are otherwise quiet. You can also do this to drive sales for upcoming events such as Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. A regular weekly theme night will help your customers to plan ahead and will help you to streamline your offer and control stock levels whilst trying out some new recipes.

Head to our recipe section for more ideas and inspiration.

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