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Takeaway food service is a strong business option in the current climate, given the increase in demand for fast food and delivery. Opening a takeaway business can be very demanding, but also rewarding and profitable. As with any business that involves food, it's important to understand the Australian food industry regulations and develop a business plan before you start.
Read on to learn the key points of starting a takeaway food business in Australia.
A takeaway food business provides meals or snacks for people to pick up and eat away from the premises, or in a shared eating location. A takeaway can also be a shopfront for food-delivery apps.
Follow these steps for starting a takeaway food business:
While there are no formal requirements needed to open up a takeaway food business, having experience in food and hospitality is highly valuable to all aspiring business owners. Whether it is serving customers, washing the dishes or preparing meals, even a few shifts will give you a taste of what it's like to operate a takeaway food business.
To thrive as a food business owner, you will need:
One of the first major decisions you'll need to make is what type of takeaway food business you want to start. With so many different options available, it's important to do your market research to create a business that stands out amongst your competitors and possibly target a niche audience.
Given the competitiveness of the industry, it's vital to create a business plan that outlines what your business is about and how you'll run it. Learning how to market your business is also critical when you launch and as you grow your customer base.
In all the excitement of setting up your business, don't forget that there are licences and registrations you need to obtain first. The licences protect consumers and help you abide by the food hygiene and safety standards.
Every state will have different licensing requirements. As a general rule of thumb, you will need to notify and register your business with your local council or relevant health agency.
As part of the registration, you'll be asked questions like what types of food you'll be serving, who will be consuming your food, whether you have pre-packaged food and what type of food business you'll be running. You will also need to pay a fee and renew your licence every year or every few years.
Visit the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find out the process and forms you need for your takeaway food business.
As well as that, see the list below for the relevant governing body that handles food licensing and regulation.
|Australia Capital Territory|
New South Wales
Food Authority NSW
Department of Health WA
Department of Health TAS
Northern Territory Government
All employees working in the food business are legally required to complete a Food Handler Course, which covers basic food safety and food handling. You can enrol in the course via:
In many states, such as NSW, VIC, QLD and ACT, it is also mandatory to have at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor working for your business. You can receive training and certification as a Food Safety Supervisor online or through a registered training organisation (RTO).
Setting up a takeaway food business requires a significant investment in assets up-front, starting with leasing or buying a building space to set up shop. The various equipment that you're likely to need may include:
To operate the business efficiently, you may also consider software for managing tasks such as:
To register your company, you have to pick the type of business you're operating. The three most common business structures in Australia each have different levels of control, costs and tax implications:
It's important to have some legal documents in place before you start your company. These agreements can work to safeguard your firm and, in many cases, clarify your responsibilities as a business versus that of your customers or employees.
Documents that you may need to set up a takeaway food business include:
You can access a range of free templates and guidelines for writing your own documents. You can also get free legal quotes through websites such as:
From social media pages to online reviews, there are many ways you can grow your customer base and, in turn, sales. Some practical, easy-to-implement ways to do this include:
How much you charge your customers will depend on a variety of factors, such as the cost of wholesale supplies and labour. As a general rule of thumb, the cost of the wholesale food supply should make up a third of what you then charge the customer. For example, if you pay $5 for the ingredients of a particular dish, then you might charge around $15 to the customer. While this may seem like a lot, remember that you are factoring in the costs of having someone prepare and serve the food, as well as other expenses like electricity, water and gas.
Is owning a takeaway food business profitable?
According to Restaurant & Catering Australia, the average profit margin of the restaurant, cafe and catering industry was 4.2% in 2019. Competition and costs are the main drivers for the industry's low profit margin. However, the good news is that takeaway food businesses have the distinct advantage of keeping operations leaner and costs lower compared to a full-service restaurant.
Ultimately, the success of a takeaway business comes down to many factors, such as high-quality food and service, pricing, brand/reputation, cash flow and so on.
How can I grow my takeaway food business?
The most sure-fire way to grow your business is to provide exceptional customer service. Marketing is also key when you're just starting out and this can be as simple as updating your social media accounts or handing out flyers. Another effective way to grow your business is to reach out to your customers for reviews and referrals.
Should I sign up with a food delivery app service?
Consumer demands for convenience accelerated by COVID-19 have increased the popularity of food delivery apps like Uber Eats and Menulog. If you're considering partnering with a food delivery app, make sure you research all the options available in your locale. Consider the percentage that the food delivery app charges from your business to see if this is a viable option for you.Back to top
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