Advice for businesses considering temporary food delivery
If as a food business, you are concerned about the latest Government guidance on not visiting restaurants during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic you may be considering advertising and providing food from your normal menu, or new dishes, for delivery.
This is fine to do but there are a few additional steps you should consider:
Ordering and delivery
Allergies: If you have a website you should put a clear sign on this stating “Please speak to a member of staff if you have any food allergies”
When customers phone to place an order, you should ask them if they or any of the people eating the food have any allergies. If they do, make a note of their requirements and make sure their food is prepared safely for them then clearly labelled. Any food prepared for allergenic customers should be stored separately for and during delivery.
Important: Allergic reactions to ingredients can be fatal. Please see the full list of 14 allergens for further information.
Food should be put into food safe containers for delivery.
Try to take payment over the phone to avoid handling cash upon delivery. If you do need to take a cash payment, ask the customer for exact change or consider pricing your dishes to even prices, eg £8.00 instead of £8.20 to minimise the need for change. If you can, check your driver has some alcohol gel to clean their hands after handling money.
Government advice is to keep a distance (at least three steps away) from others. You may want to have a system whereby you leave the food delivery on the step of the house then telephone the customer, or similar.
Consider the time and distance for delivering and try and keep both to a minimum to maintain food quality.
Vehicles must be fit for purpose and food must not be subjected to potential contamination. Keep the interior of the vehicle clean and do not transport food with animals or chemicals such as fuel, oil and screen wash.
Check your vehicle insurance covers business use.
As per your normal operation food should always be prepared hygienically to prevent cross contamination. The Food Standards Agency consider it very unlikely to transmit Coronavirus through food, however extra and vigilant hand hygiene should be employed during food preparation.
You will need to update your food safety management system if any of your normal cooking processes have changed to provide delivered food, eg if you now cook – chill – reheat food to make food preparation quicker upon delivery, where before you used to just cook – serve. It’s important to update your procedures on these changes to demonstrate you have considered any risks to food safety. Inform staff so they are aware of these changes.
For food safety and quality, you want to make sure food is delivered piping hot. You will need to consider how to do this. Insulated cool boxes / bags are a good way to keep the heat in food. Also deliver the food as quickly as possible after preparing.
If you or any of your staff are displaying the symptoms of Coronavirus, you should not prepare food and should be self-isolating.
Relaxation of planning use
The Government has announced a relaxation of planning rules to assist pubs and restaurants during the Coronavirus pandemic. For the next twelve months premises who were not previously, will now be able to operate as takeaways providing hot food and drink. Further information on relaxing planning rules can be found on the Gov.uk website.
If you wish to do this you must inform our planning team by emailing them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You should include the name of your premises, full address, your contact details and the date you intend to start offering takeaways.
Alcohol (Premises) Licence
You can only do take away / delivery alcohol if your premises licence states “Off-sales” or “both” under “Where the licence authorises the supply of alcohol, whether these are on and/or off supplies”, usually on the second page of the licence summary (part B) or page 2 of part A.
When delivering alcohol always make sure that ID checks are still carried out and that alcohol is not given to anyone under the age of 18.
You can only provide takeaway of hot food and drink until 23:00hrs unless you have “Late Night Refreshment” on your licence, if you are offering late night delivery, payment would then need to be taken over the phone or via an online delivery service portal.
Should you require further clarification on this or wish to make a variation to your premises licence, please contact the Licensing team on 01327 322278 or email them at: email@example.com
Should you require any more detailed advice on changing your menu or your procedures don’t hesitate to speak to one of our officers by calling 01327 322323.