How much will it cost me?

There are several ways to get into food to go:

Supplier funded: Sometimes know as a 'free on loan' agreement, here the supplier provides everything, from the counter-top unit, pos material, oven and freezer to training. There is no initial charge except for the cost of stock and items such as bags, napkins, cups and so on. Therein lies the sting in the tail, though, as the cost of the hardware is wrapped up in the supply of the product.

Part supplier funded and part operator funded: a similar set-up to before, but the cost of product is lower, depending on how much of an investment you can make. An operator could invest as little as £350.

Operator funded: The retailer buys all the equipment, and gets a much better cost price on bakery products as a result. This method means you can also shop around as you would not be tied to a single supplier; your sausage rolls could come from Country Choice but your croissants may be from Cuisine de France.

How about training?

Anyone who works on a food-to-go station needs training in food and hygiene safety, says Jenvey. "This covers health & safety laws; temperature checks; traceability; shelf life; stock rotation; personal hygiene; food preparation; and storage of food. Hygiene is a key factor in training and areas that should be covered include bacterial control; hand and uniform cleanliness; cross-contamination; food poisoning and pest control."

The time it takes to train staff depends on the product range and the number of people who need to be trained. For a small site it will probably take only a day, whereas at a larger site it might take up to a week.

Training can be provided by a local council or specialist consultancy such as Technical Foodservices. Country Choice also offers on-site training to all of its customers, with refresher courses available if needed.

Waste control

This is a tricky area as offering too much choice in one go can lead to wastage and cost you money, whereas too little on display looks poor and may mean disappointed customers.

"Minimum credible displays are essential," says Jenvey. "For low-volume stores, a thaw & serve offer or prepacked range could be the best way to create a good presentation without too much wastage.

"Ginsters is the nation's favourite when it comes to prepacked bakery goods, and if you can store and display thaw & serve ranges then Cuisine de France or Country Choice will certainly help you with product choice, display and promotional materials."

He adds that for fully baked offers there are some golden rules to follow. "Bake little and often to ensure best quality products," he says.

"Only produce in line with customer demand and frequency typically the six till nine morning period is one of the busiest times for hot beverages and pastry sales. The aroma alone will sell the offer for you."

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