Diversifying your business is one of the smartest and simplest ways to protect your income from the ups and downs of the fickle restaurant industry. However small or large your premises, if you’re preparing fresh food on site, then providing a takeaway option for customers in a hurry or who can’t be accommodated ensures you don’t lose out on custom and offers a flexible and affordable taste of your product.
Given you’re already running a café, it’s safe to assume you’re on the ball with local legislation on food safety and on serving takeaway food, but if you’ve already made your way through the red tape, what else do you need to consider setting up in order to take advantage of this potential revenue stream?
The most obvious starting point is display space. Not only do you need a space to display your takeaway food attractively (near the till for a quick pick-up helps) but you also need to make sure it keeps the food at the correct temperature. The kind of catering equipment available to commercial kitchens covers everything from stand-alone buffet bars to counter-top chillers. The choice very much depends on what kind of food you want to offer.
Now that summer is here, a lot of cafes might benefit from creating a space to serve ice-cream, smoothies or frozen yoghurt to passing customers. From ice-cream machines to sleek gelato display cases, Café Ideas can offer all the catering equipment you will need to serve delicious fresh ices from the front of your café, restaurant or bar. All you need to do is come up with a winning recipe!
Bench-top equipment is a catch-all term for devices that can sit on a counter or worktop and help you create delicious, fresh food to go. From waffles to crepes, toasted sandwiches to warm pies and panini to hot dogs, with even very limited counter-top space, it’s possible to provide a hot and delicious takeaway option without losing valuable kitchen space.
Hot takeaway can pose challenges for smaller businesses, particularly with only a couple of staff on service at any one time. It’s also very dependent on the location of your business and the perception of your offer. In areas with less passing trade, a takeaway alternative is to set up a small delicatessen area to sell your meats, cheeses and other dishes cold.
As well as a display cabinet, equipment that pays dividends here are cheese and meat slicers to enable accurate portion control and rapid service. For cafes making up sandwiches to take away, a cold bain-marie system will help to ensure salads and pre-prepared fillings remain cold and hygienic.
Whether you opt for hot or cold takeaway options, having this extra string to your bow can help your café meet its financial targets, protect you from seasonal fluctuations in business and help make the most of the space and staff you already have.