‘Cloud kitchens’ to raise quality of takeaway restaurant meals

A new Liverpool venture called Lay The Table will tackle the problem of takeaway restaurant meals reach customers in a poor condition. Tony McDonough reports

Lay The Table
Jesney Chong, restaurant manager at Sapporo, with Philip Bell founder of Lay The Table


A new Liverpool business is to team up with local restaurants to improve the quality of takeaway food using what it calls ‘cloud kitchens’.

Due to multiple COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions over the past 12 months, restaurants have had to innovate to survive. And many have moved into the takeaway market, delivering restaurant quality meals to peoples’ homes.

However, while the food is often prepared to a high standard, not enough focus is put on how the meals are being transported. Consequently, the food too often doesn’t reach the customer in the same condition it left the kitchen.

Now entrepreneur Philip Bell is launching Lay The Table, a new venture that will aim to make sure customers ordering food from their favourite restaurants don’t feel let down when the meal arrives at their door.

In a pilot project, Lay The Table is to partner up with one of Liverpool city centre’s most popular restaurants, Sapporo Teppanyaki in Duke Street. The short to mid-term aim to operate three to five kitchen sites across Merseyside from where meals will be prepared on behalf of up to 10 restaurant partners.

Said Philip: “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 whilst 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.”

He believes Lay The Table is offering a business proposition that will ensure food travels well at an affordable price. A six-figure sum has already been invested into the venture. Philip added: “We’ve been in talks with a small number of select businesses in the.

A dish from Liverpool restaurant Sapporo Teppanyaki


“We are looking to partner up and operate as part of their existing brand, commercial kitchens with storage space, designed to help them create a delivery take away business with maximum efficiency and minimal cost.

“We had some great feedback from these and then spoke to many focus groups about changing up the takeaway industry within food and implementing a new model. We felt confident from day one that there was a market for it.”

Jesney Chong, restaurant manager at Sapporo, added: “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.”

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