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Orders of Indian takeaways have more than doubled in the UK since the coronavirus crisis, according to Flipdish, the online ordering system for restaurants and takeaways. Some restaurants, such as Tuk Tuk Indian Street Food in Edinburgh, have experienced an unprecedented boom in demand with online orders exploding by 1,300%.

In other cuisines, after an initial decline in sales in February, orders of Chinese and Thai food have started to bounce back, increasing 23% and 73%, respectively. Fish and Chips shops saw sales rise by 74% while pizza demand grew 13% in one week.

The statistics are released as Flipdish announces an increase of more than a third (35%) in new UK restaurant sign ups in the last two weeks so they can operate as takeaways during the crisis. In a year-on-year comparison, the number of UK restaurants transforming their business models to include takeaway services digitally has nearly tripled (270%)1.

Conor McCarthy, CEO of Flipdish, commented, “As people stay at home to do their bit to tackle the coronavirus, many are opting for a comforting curry. But not only are they protecting themselves and the NHS by ordering takeaway food, Brits are helping to keep restaurants afloat. Independent restaurants are the lifeblood of the UK hospitality industry and a fundamental part of the cultural fabric of the nation. Everyone who can should support their local favourites during the crisis.”

Restaurant owner Lee Bandoni, who runs the Aldwych Cafe in Glasgow, exemplifies the challenge now and ahead for restaurateurs: “We’ve had to scale more in the last two weeks than the previous two years. We’re currently suffering short term pain for long term prosperity. Once the coronavirus is over, the takeaway industry is going to prosper but those restaurants and takeaways that don’t innovate will suffer.”

Giving advice to restaurants and takeaways, McCarthy continued, “With the government mandating all cafes, pubs and restaurants must close to help contain the spread of coronavirus, the only way for many restaurants to stay in business is to urgently transform into takeaways.

'We’ve had plenty of calls from restaurant owners asking how to switch to a delivery model, and whether it’s even possible to get a website up and running in time. My message to restaurants is that it’s not too late to set up a takeaway service.

“Working with an aggregator like Just Eat might seem like a fast way to get up and running, but it won’t protect your margins and it will also mean you lose control of your most important asset: your customers. Using marketplaces also means sending your precious customers to a space that has all of your direct competitors listed alongside your menu.

“We’ve been working with a number of customers over the last few days, getting them set up with their own websites and apps in a matter of hours. Building an online delivery service could help restaurants stay afloat during the crisis, and also rebuild their balance sheets in the long term.”

(source: Flipdish, image: pexels)