It’s crucial for small businesses to try and improve the way they operate. Improvements generally lead to increased sales and income, or a more efficient company. Of course, both are hugely desirable, but you need to look into what improvements you can make before enjoying these benefits. 

This article will provide you with a few ideas on how to improve a small takeaway business. We’ll be looking at various improvement methods, including:

  • Conduct market research
  • Analyse your operating expenses
  • Rethink your packaging
  • Focus on your local area
  • Open a business account

Conduct market research

It’s wise to do some market research before you even start a business, but consistently conducting market research can really help improve how your company runs. 

Market research means analysing the needs and preferences of the people you’re trying to sell your product to. If you perform some thorough market research, you can uncover valuable data that can help you improve your marketing and customer service. 

For instance, effective market research for a takeaway might mean finding out which of your products is most popular or where most of your customers are based. 

Market research can also help identify other markets entirely. Your takeaway will likely already have a target market — the group of customers your marketing and products are primarily aimed at. 

By performing market research, though, you may discover other groups of people that you can create products and services for. If you’re struggling to stand out in your current market, this sort of change may help your business grow.

For instance, your takeaway might specialise in one kind of food, like Indian or Chinese cuisine. By performing market research, you might find that there are no pizza places in your local area, and there’s a market that’s interested in buying that kind of food. By purchasing the appropriate equipment, you can start making pizzas and attracting an entirely new market of customers to your business.

Analyse your operating expenses

In general, the more cash you have, the easier it will be to grow your takeaway. This is because you can use this money to buy new cooking equipment, purchase better ingredients, and invest in new marketing campaigns to attract more customers. 

If you’re short on cash, one of the best ways to find more is to analyse your operating expenses. By analysing your operating expenses, you might find things you’re spending too much on or that you don’t need to be spending money on at all.

 For a takeaway, operating expenses might include ingredients, packaging, employees’ salaries (unless you run the business alone) and any licenses you need to sell food. By cutting down on costs, you’ll have more money available for business development. An example of where you could cut costs might be by buying cheaper packaging or less packaging each month.

Using a business account to analyse operating expenses

You may be wondering if you really need a business account, but the benefits far outweigh any negatives. For starters, you’ll have a much easier time identifying your operating costs because those transactions will be entirely separate from your personal purchases. Countingup offers a great business account, which is especially good for tracking operating expenses because of its real-time profit and loss reporting.

A profit and loss statement is a financial document that shows how much money your company has made and lost over a set period. The Countingup app shows a real-time view of your profits and losses, updating as you make transactions on the business account. 

This means you’ll be able to see and record any operating expenses as soon as they go onto your account. The feature also shows you net profit by automatically deducting the losses from your profits, so you can better understand how well your company is doing.

Focus on your local area

If you’re only starting out with your takeaway business, the bulk of your customers will likely come from your local area. This is because you might not have the resources as a startup to advertise and provide your service to a large region. It’s more affordable to focus your advertising on your local area, instead of trying to sell to a huge market when your business is still small. 

If you’re trying to promote your business locally, make sure that your marketing content emphasises the benefits your company offers to people that live in your town or city. For a takeaway business, this might be the fact you operate nearby or (if you offer delivery) that you can deliver food quickly because you’re local.

Use a business account

A very simple but effective way of improving your takeaway business is to start using a business account. The primary benefit of a business account is that it ensures any company money stays organised and entirely separate from your personal finances.

If you don’t separate your business finances from your personal finances, you might struggle to identify which transactions are business-related and which are not. This can make creating financial statements and filing taxes much more difficult.

If you use a business account with built-in accounting software, such as Countingup, you’ll have a much easier time with bookkeeping. This is because Countingup’s accounting software automates a lot of time-consuming financial management tasks, like recording expenses or calculating your profits and losses. 

For takeaway owners, one particularly useful feature of Countingup is its automatic expense categorisation. Whenever you make a purchase using your Countingup account, it will automatically go into an expense category within your account records. These categories include:

  • Income
  • Cost
  • Liability
  • Asset 
  • Equity  

All of the categories are HMRC-approved, which means that when you’re filling in your tax forms or creating financial statements, all you need to do is copy the information across from the relevant category. As takeaways will have hundreds of different expenses each month — like purchasing ingredients and packaging — having a system to organise them can be enormously helpful.     

Countingup has helped over 40,000 business owners to manage their finances. The ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot speaks for itself. With Countingup, you’ll be able to confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. Find out how you can sign up here.