Take-Away Units as a Business

Posted by fshsfhsfh on Sunday, October 23, 2011

I have had a few people emailing me asking about "Take-Away" only units. The underlying interest in this business is quite clear - you need a much smaller space which means the real estate requirement is lower, cheaper and so is the Capital Investment (Rental Deposit, Interiors, furniture etc.). In addition, ongoing operational costs (staffing, utilities etc.) will also be lower. The downside is that your pricing will need to be VFM (Value For Money) - premium priced take-away units are very tough to do as customers will pay only for the food - not for the service, ambience etc.

In the Indian market context, you will need to look at "Take-Away & Delivery" together, as both address the same segment of customers. Take-Away only units will work in very crowded areas (City Market, Outside bus stands, metro stations etc.) where the flow of people is so large that you will get enough traffic easily. A more scalable option will be the Take-away+Delivery model

Dominos Pizza in India is essentially built on this model of Delivery & Take-Away. Their stores have a few tables, but the tables are are simply space for people to buy Pizzas and sit down and eat there if they want to. Some of their units also offer the space for birthday parties, given the fascination kids seem to have for birthday parties at Pizza joints. Pizza Hut has recently launched "PHD" - Pizza Hut Delivery (what a great name - PHD!!!) which is essentially a Delivery & Take-Away unit, again with a few tables available for customers who want to sit down there and enjoy their Pizzas. Other successful businesses built on this model are www.asiainabox.in, and to some extent Ammis Biryani (www.ammisbiryani.com)

For the "Take-Away + Delivery" model to work, here are the key factors:

1) The Location: This is even more critical that that for a restaurant. The location needs to be very convenient - for people to park their bikes/cars for a few minutes.
2) Extremely Quick service: The customer should be able to place an order and get his package within a few minutes. So your menu design needs to support very quick turnaround. Again the simpler the menu is, with a few items, the better are your chances of a quick turnaround.
3) The Layout - The layout of your unit needs to support a number of people waiting for their orders - ideal location would be the garage area of a corner building - where the kitchen and the servicing area can be in the garage, with the drive-way serving as a place to customers to hang around while waiting for their orders.
4) Prompt Deliveries: Like I have mentioned earlier in my post of Door Deliveries, you should be able to deliver the food to the customer's premises within 30 minutes.

If you work out the numbers, making this model work as a business will not be easy as it seems. but if you are able to crack this one, I believe you can build an unassailable business with a loyal customer base - business that will work irrespective of competition, recession etc. I will do some research on Take-away units and post a detailed blog in the future.

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