National Restaurant Association research shows that about one third of consumers say that purchasing restaurant takeout is an essential part of their lifestyle. In addition, nearly half (46 percent) of adults – and 61 percent of millennials – say an important factor in choosing a tableservice restaurant is the availability of takeout or delivery options. Quickservice, casual and even fine-dining restaurants are all capitalizing on the benefits and possibilities of takeout and delivery services. If you’re close to starting or growing a takeout business, consider the following as you package a successful enterprise:
Facilitate easy ordering
- Be familiar and adept with ordering methods that appeal to your customer base.
- The most common methods of ordering takeout include phone and online. Many restaurants are equipped to receive text-message orders and orders through restaurant apps from mobile devices; this is especially popular with teens and young adults.
Put thought into the menu
- An easy-to-read and audience-centric menu is just as important to takeout as it is to a main dining area.
- The menu should include all food choices that can be transported safely and easily. It should also feature variety and affordable price points.
- Healthy options are very popular in take-out.
Set up a takeout area
- Consider having a separate counter or parking area for takeout customers.
- Treat it as its own business with clear, proper signage.
- You have one chance to get the order right; otherwise, the customer might not return.
- Utilize an accurate order-entry system. Train staff to complete their tasks correctly and efficiently the first time.
- Check for accuracy during and after order production. Ensure the food is what the customer wanted. Verify that every item the customer expects is present, including bread, sides, napkins, and utensils. Whenever possible, go over the order with the customer at the point of pick-up.
Use sturdy packaging
- Takeout packaging must maintain the quality and integrity of your restaurant’s food.
- Containers should be durable to prevent leaking and resist breaking.
- Food items and utensils should be correctly packed and stacked in bags or boxes.
- Packaging that allows for reheating is another big plus.
Maintain food safety
- Hold food at safe temperatures until the customer picks it up. Keep hot foods separate from cold ones.
- Ensure food will remain at safe temperatures during transport as well.
- Provide customers with clear instructions for how to store food and reheat food. Placing “use-by” date stickers on all packages and containers is helpful, too.
- Assign the right personnel Schedule staff appropriately. Depending on your resources and requirements, you might assign specific roles for taking orders, processing payments, monitoring quality control and, if necessary, delivering orders.
- Customer-contact personnel should be prepared to address questions and concerns, as well as advise on how to store and reheat food.
- Delivery drivers should be professional representatives of the business – honest, respectful, personable and responsible.
Source: National Restaurant Association
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