Horizon Scan for fast-food Market in the UK

The UK takeaway and fast-food restaurant sector are forecasted to generate $18.7bn in 2021. This represents a decrease of 7.7% compared to 2020 due to the negative operating conditions created by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the ban on late-night deliveries. Despite this fall, growth in disposable income levels will continue to drive demand for takeaway food in the UK during upcoming years (Takeaway & Fast-Food Restaurants in the UK, 2021).

The key drivers for takeaways and the fast-food restaurant market in the UK are consumer preferences for convenience, price, and quality. Consumers also demand the inclusion of healthy alternatives. The biggest challenge facing the Takeaway and fast-food restaurant sector is food safety and hygiene due to the products’ nature (Edmunds, 2020).

The industry is also going through a period of change due to the increasing impact of technology and healthcare, which led to new business models.

It is predicted that technological advances will significantly impact fast food and takeaways. Businesses in the industry have already used automated systems for ordering food via touch screen kiosks and mobile apps, which enhanced the effectiveness of digital sales channels (Kotin, 2020).

Peng’s plan for future development is to adopt digital technologies within his business model to improve his service quality, the efficiency of order processing, and operations to remain a strong competitor in the takeaway market.

Joining 3rd party platforms like Just-Eat:

One thing that Peng is concerned about is whether this new system would affect his business reputation as a traditional takeaway. He believes it might change the way that he used to do business and might bring some problems for him and his customers.

Just-Eat is a leading company that provides food delivery services in the UK. Its app is popular among UK consumers (Assessing Brand Loyalty for Just Eat [Case Study], n.d.). Therefore, joining Just Eat will bring many advantages to Peng’s Takeaway.

Peng’s Takeaway will be able to reach new areas where it used to have no access before. Customers can easily search and find Peng on the Just-eat app and choose from the menu. This can help them draw more people to order more food online, which means more brand recognition and profit.

Another advantage is that Peng will benefit from Just-eat’s experience in marketing and managing restaurants’ data. The company knows how to attract customers and make it easy for them to place an order online. They will also offer customer service for any problems or concerns about orders and will help solve these issues rapidly.

Just-eat will cover the delivery charge, and they do not require to pay extra for the delivery service. In addition, Peng does not need to invest in IT training. In contrast, they can focus on food quality instead of handling orders through the device. Moreover, it is easy for them to monitor the order progress through Just-eat’s online tracking system, and they can still conduct face-to-face or phone orders if they wish to do so.

On the other hand, the main challenges that may affect Peng’s business by using Just Eat are that Peng will need to pay Just-eat a 10% commission fee for every order. This could lessen the profit made and add up the expenses. In addition, Peng may not be able to gain a loyal customer base since they do not have direct communication with customers, which differentiates them. Moreover, there are many competitors listed in the Just Eat app. The biggest threat is that competitors may steal away some of Peng’s customers and reduce and affect the amount of sales.

Build up a digital presence to take orders and promote the shop to the new markets.

As technology becomes handy, businesses of all sizes find it vital to have a digital presence (mobile app or website).

Mobile apps are becoming more popular nowadays with the use of smartphones which facilitates food companies to take orders (Belanche et al., 2020). These apps help in promoting the brand and strengthen relations with customers. This method will save time for Peng’s employees as they will not have to take phone calls from customers all the time.

However, the shop will still have to deal with all orders’ details on their counter, which means that the delivery cost will increase because they need more resources like cars and drivers to deliver food. Also, there is also a risk of getting bad comments on social media websites as well as more demand for their meals.

Another disadvantage of this method is that Peng will have to pay fees for renting servers, maintenance, web developers, and many other costs associated with running a website or a mobile app.

Moreover, Peng will have to invest more in marketing activities and increase its presence to gain more customers while keeping the loyal ones.

Implement a ‘Virtual Counter’ system to reduce the human resources required in each shop.

The Virtual Counter system will significantly reduce the human resources required for each shop. This will save Peng Takeaway from high staff costs, but it also reduces job opportunities. However, the Virtual Counter system can work as a self-service system which can still attract customers who prefer not to order at a counter or deliver meals to their houses (Getting Smart With Automated Ordering System – Save Time and Effort in Restaurant,2021). In addition, the Virtual Counter system could replace all the current ordering processes of Peng Takeaways and make them into a one-call center service. Thus, Peng can provide services to customers around the clock and increase its competitive advantage against his competitors.

The new technology has less chance of human mistakes due to computerized POS systems and minimizing errors in receiving orders via phone calls (Long, 2018). The good news is that all orders are recorded automatically by the computer, and it’s easily accessible for management purposes. It helps track sales performance, stock level, and customer information, including orders details and delivery information.

The foremost downside of this method is Peng has to invest so much money to install the virtual counter system.


  • Assessing Brand Loyalty for Just Eat [Case Study]. (n.d.). RealityMine. Retrieved from: https://www.realitymine.com/assessing-brand-loyalty-just-eat-case-study/
  • Daniel Belanche, M. F.-R. (2020). Mobile Apps Use and WOM in the Food Delivery Sector: The Role of Planned Behavior, Perceived Security and Customer Lifestyle Compatibility . Sustainability, 12(10).
  • Edmunds, S. (2020). COVID-19: Current challenges facing food businesses. Burges Salmon. Retrieved from: https://www.burges-salmon.com/news-and-insight/legal-updates/covid-19/covid19-current-challenges-facing-food-businesses
  • Getting Smart With Automated Ordering System – Save Time and Effort in Restaurant. (2021). eTakeawayMax. Retrieved from: https://www.etakeawaymax.co.uk/automated-ordering-system
  • Kotin, M. (2020). How Technology is Changing the Fast Food Industry. DODO Brands. Retrieved from: https://dodobrands.io/post/technology-changing-fast-food
  • Long, L. (2018). How The Right Automation Road Map Helps Overcome Human Error. Forbes . Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/11/09/how-the-right-automation-road-map-helps-overcome-human-error/?sh=10bebce647ff
  • Takeaway & Fast-Food Restaurants in the UK. (2021). IBISWorld. Retrieved from: https://www.ibisworld.com/united-kingdom/market-size/takeaway-fast-food-restaurants/