From Shop Fronts to Delivery

(02 /04 /2015)

Home delivery is a God-send! For those unable to get to the shops easily, stay-at-home-parents who decide its way too hard dragging young children around the shops, shift workers or even if you just can’t be bothered, home delivered groceries, meat and fresh produce is a truly brilliant service.  And where would we be without our late night Thai food or pizza delivery especially on grand final day?  We’d be lost without it I’m sure…although I’d probably save some money if it wasn’t available!

Home delivery of healthy ready-to-eat meals are now on the menu too – Lite ‘n Easy is the key brand that comes to mind.  This particular brand targets the weight loss market – they deliver healthy, portion-controlled ready-to-eat-meals and you lose weight.  A perfect market proposition!  But what about the convenience niche, particularly for the types of consumers I mentioned earlier?

I’m sure an opportunity to target these consumer groups exists and perhaps there are individuals and companies already working in this space.  Maybe this is an area you’ve considered yourself?  Perhaps you’re sick of having the shop-front and would like the freedom to get out and about and take your product to your customers?  It sounds good but I think there are a number of key components to consider before shutting up your shop-front and buying a delivery van!

Firstly, you still need a commercial kitchen so you don’t want to be shutting up shop completely.  Appropriate licenses and permits will also need to be obtained to ensure you’re within your commercial rights to commence a delivery service.  You’ll need to make sure you know who your competitors are and how you can differentiate your offering to meet your customers’ needs.  And obviously you’ll need to know exactly who your customers are, what they want and how much they’re prepared to pay for it.  This will then help you to find the best suppliers so that you can prepare your product for a cost that allows you to make a profit.  Don’t forget, you may no longer have a complete shop-front and staff but any savings here will be absorbed by vehicle expenses, delivery drivers, insurance and the like.

Another key issue is preparation of the meals itself – how much in advance can they be prepared?  How will you store them?  How many can you actually manage to prepare without going to a full-scale production system?  You may need to start quite small to figure out what will and won’t work before you go on a marketing spree…“under promise and over deliver” is probably a good mantra in this instance!

I’d be really interested to hear about your experiences in setting up some sort of delivery service or whether you think this is an area that is really best left to large-scale food preparation and delivery service companies.


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