Liverpool entrepreneur takes the humble take-away to the next level

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At His & Hers, we have been missing those lingering lunches and wonderful restaurant meals after a long day’s work. Sapporo is a great restaurant so we were really interested to hear that they’d joined forces with an innovative new delivery company.

A Liverpool entrepreneur has launched a unique online delivery business using a concept known as ‘cloud kitchens’.

Philip Bell of ‘Lay The Table’ had been observing the online delivery performance of restaurants during the course of the pandemic. He spotted an opportunity in the market to provide gourmet quality cuisine with a much improved distribution offer.

He explained: “As a restaurateur remarked to us recently, the hospitality industry never set out to offer the kind of takeaway proposition it has been providing during the last 12 months… (It) has merely served for some to either keep them afloat, keep their profile in the market and/or maintain jobs albeit at a greatly reduced level.

“As a fan of takeaway food myself, I noticed that the quality of food, especially from established independents was quite good. They were often let down by their outsourced delivery service.

“Often the constraints in the takeaway market for food are that it doesn’t travel well and doesn’t get to the customer in the best condition possible.”

‘Lay The Table’ believe they have put together a business proposition that will travel well at an affordable price.

Bell continued: “We’ve been in talks with a small number of select businesses in the region looking to partner up and operate as part of their existing brand, commercial kitchens with storage space… (This is) designed to help them create a delivery take away business with maximum efficiency and minimal cost.

“We had some great feedback from these businesses. Then spoke to many focus groups about ‘changing up’ the food takeaway industry and implementing a new model.

“We felt confident from day one that there was a market for it. That is, to combine the best ingredients, taste and experience in that one model. And now that’s been confirmed via our research.

“We know we can take the quality of a takeaway meal to the next level. (This would be) both in terms of presentation and create a… family-focused quality experience when it reaches its destination.”

Bell says ‘Lay The Table’ very much describes the anticipation they are looking to create amongst customers, excited to try a unique service.

“We are starting out as a regional brand based across Merseyside. (We) have also chosen an exclusive partner in Sapporo as part of our pilot in the beginnings of the business.”

A spokesperson for Sapporo said: “The current climate highlighted just how many people were missing the Sapporo experience, particularly those that aren’t covered by a more localised delivery service. When ‘Lay The Table’s’ opportunity was presented to us we felt that they had really captured what was missing from current delivery systems…The ability for us to deliver restaurant quality food, as it would be served in the restaurant, directly to our guests!”

Bell added: “We felt that Sapporo was the ideal family experience that would fit well with our own brand. It will enable us to demonstrate the model that we think is going to be a big success and, a catalyst in the sector”.

In the short to mid-term, ‘Lay The Table’ plans to have 3 to 5 sites on Merseyside producing takeaway food and up to 10 partners.

“We’re currently finalising employment models for the business across the sites and have invested a six-figure sum in the scheme to date,” enthuses Bell.

Sounds like an offer that is impossible to resist.

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