March 27, 2024

How to set up your kitchen: Food Vendors

Understand the space you need

Before choosing a kitchen space, make sure you thoroughly assess the kitchen's layout, and understand its size and area, the equipment, and overall capacity you will need for you and the rest of your kitchen staff. It's crucial to ensure that the space can accommodate the type of food service you have in mind without compromising on quality or efficiency. Consider whether the existing equipment is sufficient, if any upgrades or replacements are needed, or if there is room to bring in your own equipment if required. Ensure that all fire and safety equipment is in working order and has been inspected. Double-check what certifications and permits are needed from your end and also from the hosts side. 

Define Costs and Expectations

Understand your budget and what the monthly fee will be for the space. It's quite common for food brands to ask venues what food sales have previously amounted to. It is important to understand how much money your food business could potentially make to ensure you can cover your business costs.

Consider if there is an opportunity to split the cost on some overheads with the host. Clarify who is responsible for the range of utilities, maintenance, and cleaning.

If you are licensing a dark kitchen or taking up a residency, it is also important to consider what the venue's opening hours will be and the hours you will have permission to access the site. This is essential to prevent any operational misunderstandings and ensure a smooth partnership with your host.

For more information on how to find the perfect kitchen space, visit our marketplace here.

Your Food Offering

If you are taking up a culinary residency in a pub or bar, consider the venue and its typical customer, do they align with your food offering? Review your menu options and see if they are suitable or if anything could be tweaked to make your food brand a good fit for the venue. Always feel free to talk to the host and ask their opinion, what has worked or not worked in the past and what has been most popular amongst their regulars. Having this understanding will not only help you hit the ground running with your menu but will allow the host to have a clarity on what to expect from you and your food.

In the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality and leisure, technology continues to play a pivotal role in enhancing the customer experience. One such innovation that has gained momentum is the Order and Pay system. Beyond just being a digital menu, these solutions are revolutionising how patrons interact with establishments, offering a seamless and convenient way to order and pay for their food and drinks.

How to start selling quickly?

Now it’s time to get your product out there, when starting your food service a lot of questions will come up like:

  • How do I make my menus available to the public?
  • How can I effectively include promotions or advertise my services?
  • How can I use direct delivery to increase customer loyalty against larger corporations like Deliveroo or Uber Eats?

The first order of business would be to set up an order and pay solution.

What is an Order and Pay?

Order and pay solutions typically involve the use of mobile apps or QR codes/links, allowing customers to browse menus, place orders, and settle payments directly from their smartphones. This eliminates the need for traditional printed menus- providing a contactless and efficient dining experience. After placing an order via your digital menu, it promptly appears on your kitchen display and seamlessly prints through your designated printer, while the payment is swiftly transferred directly to your bank account. Quick easy money is what we like to hear!

With EMenu Now’s order and pay solution, you can create interactive menus that show your customers all of your amazing offerings. From engaging videos about how your ingredients are sourced to banners and gifs with branded offerings helping you generate extra cash. Order and pay solution’s don’t just tell your customers what you have, they connect you to the world.

What makes a good order & pay solution?

When you're on the hunt for the perfect order and pay solution, it's essential to think beyond just digitising your menu. Let's dive into some crucial features for setting up a system that truly elevates your Kitchen’s operations and customer experience.

Streamlines Your Kitchen Operations: The Kitchen Display & Order Management feature is a game-changer for table service. Bid farewell to the chaos of printed order tickets and welcome a digital revolution. Your kitchen staff can now seamlessly manage orders in real-time, ensuring nothing gets missed and everything flows smoothly. This not only boosts efficiency but also keeps your guests well-informed and happy.

Boosts Your Revenue: Let's talk about the bottom line. EMenu Now's dynamic upsell feature is like having a savvy salesperson at every table. It suggests tempting add-ons at just the right moment, enticing your customers to spend more. Think of it as your menu's personal sommelier, guiding guests to the perfect pairings and increasing your average spend per head.

Consider Integration: When considering integration, assess whether the provider offers extended support and the ability to seamlessly integrate with your existing POS system. This not only saves you from investing in additional hardware but also ensures a smooth transition. Make sure to prioritise the quality of support and integration over price when choosing your technology partner. In this tech-driven era, these factors play a pivotal role in the long-term success of your business.

Direct Delivery: It’s significant to understand that the idea of competing with the likes of Deliveroo or Uber Eats won’t get you far as they have the capability to use loss leadership. These platforms also have large access to the public so even though this would not foster loyalty, you would still have access to a large amount of unique visitors. So what we suggest, is you use these platforms in tandem with your own delivery/ collection services provided through your order and pay. That way you can use loyalty schemes and promotions like 20% off your next order for customers who choose to come back again.

Encourages Feedback, Tips and Data: Your online service isn't just about taking orders – it's also about building relationships. Incorporating a CRM into your system allows you to gather valuable feedback, tips and data from your customers. Starting off with a dark kitchen can be really difficult when competing with others for the same clients, that’s why you need a data capture system to fine-tune your offerings, provide personalised experiences, and foster loyalty. Plus, with EMenu Now's smart tipping feature, you can double those tips effortlessly, keeping your staff motivated and your guests satisfied.

Looking to work without a traditional POS?

Whilst it’s great having a traditional POS already set up, it makes it harder to control the quality and speed of the POS or the card machine prices. To make things easier, you should also take a look at pocket POS solutions that integrate with your POS in place or can work on it’s own.

Companies like EMenu Now offer opportunities to use their software to connect their pocket POS to any device and any POS. Or if you were looking for a simple on the go POS- their ECoPilot could be used stand alone too!

The ECoPilot lets you use your existing tablet and phone through logging into the EMenu’s web based platform- enabling your staff to take orders on the go from table to table with fewer card machines. It’s like a software upgrade for any device you have in place! For more information visit our ECoPilot page here.


Launching and running a successful food venture demands a lot of understanding from the vendor. However, by carefully planning your setup, aligning your offerings with your venue, and embracing technological advancements, you can create a thriving culinary business. As technology continues to evolve, innovations like the Order and Pay system offer invaluable tools to enhance the dining experience while simplifying the process. At Oya Kitchens, we're committed to supporting food entrepreneurs with advice, insights and the tools needed to excel in the Food & Beverage industry.

For further information on optimising your kitchen space and technology solutions, visit EMenu Now’s website today.

Written by: Oya Kitchens & EMenu Now