More and more diners are looking to takeout and delivery services when it comes to dining preferences. In many cases, patrons come into a restaurant that has racks or shelves beside the cash register to store the pre-ordered meals that customers have phoned in or ordered from a mobile app. People are becoming used to picking up food from their favorite establishments or having it delivered directly to the comfort of their own homes.
To say that take-out and delivery services are becoming essential in foodservice -- whether it be a QSR or even a full-service restaurant -- is an understatement. Restaurants are becoming more aware of this trend, and we're seeing a growing segment of foodservice establishments set up ghost kitchens and commissaries, where meals are being prepared and delivered.
Whether it's a drive-thru or a ghost kitchen, by implementing some best practices and tips for more effective food takeout and delivery service, an operation can become more successful.
The Reasons for Considering Takeout, Delivery Services, and Off-Premise Dining
Ordering and delivering food has grown 300 percent faster than dining-in since 2014 thanks to Millennials and Gen-Xers and their desire for convenience and variety. Because of this trend, restaurateurs need a few guidelines to keep their customers happy and ordering out regularly, as return visits and purchases are paramount to success.
A subset of the delivery business has grown over the last few years, as well, with mobile delivery services becoming more frequent. Choosing a delivery platform that suits the needs of a restaurant's operational efficiencies and its customers is a new priority, whether it be GrubHub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, or something completely different.
For those who chose to pick up their food, approximately one-third of consumers say that restaurant takeout is essential. About 46 percent of adults and 61 percent of Millennials believe it's vital that a table service restaurant has takeout and delivery options. According to the National Restaurant Association, the following steps are imperative to get your takeout business going at full speed:
- Takeout in today's world will entail phoning in a request or sending an order online.
- Some restaurants can receive text-message orders.
- Other dining sites accept orders through the restaurant's online apps that are available on mobile devices.
- Drive-thrus are appearing at independent operations for both takeout ordering and pick-up.
Making Take-Out Service Efficient and Profitable
The first thing to consider is the customer. Mainly, reducing friction in the ordering process is the first thing your customers will encounter. Since your menu will appear online, you must ensure that the list includes everything a person needs to order. It should be clear and easy to read.
- Tweak prices often and make sure they are correct.
- Decide whether to include your entire menu or only specific dishes in the takeout category.
- Don't sell items that won't travel well.
- Know that in some areas or cities, alcohol may not travel from the restaurant to home.
- Remember that any changes made in the restaurant must also appear on the website, third-party sources, and social media.
You also have to have staff who can accurately and effectively prepare that menu. It may be necessary to assign particular roles for order-taking, payment processing, quality control, and, in some instances, delivery. Hiring your team in the foodservice arena may mean looking for individuals who are versatile, friendly, multi-taskers, problem solvers, detail-oriented, and personable -- basically, like any other type of employee you'd hire for your foodservice operation.
Promoting products is the final key to the equation. Once you have developed your takeout menu and process, let everyone know that your restaurant can deliver, handle pickups and take-outs. Brand your takeout packaging. Find a way to promote your takeout option on-site and in your business area. Use your website to inform the community that a takeout service is available at your restaurant. And be sure to create a contact database so you can market to your takeout base, as well as your in-restaurant traffic.
Now's the time to consider adding takeout/delivery services to your restaurant. Your bottom line may increase, and your clientele may grow. Your restaurant's reputation will have a wider audience. It's the right time to take this step, and it may be just the change you need.
Bonus Tip: Maximize the Footprint of Your Foodservice Operation or Ghost Kitchen
Menu execution is so often limited by the size of the kitchen and the equipment it contains. That's where High Sabatino can help. One of our main points of emphasis with the solutions we carry is to make sure operators can pair different types of foodservice equipment to enhance the overall efficiency and profitability of the operation.
Whether it's a ghost kitchen or a pop-up, commissary-type operation, making the most of the footprint provided is one of the most critical aspects of success. This means equipment that can serve multiple purposes within the same unit. It means using units together to create better processes. And it means looking at kitchen space in new ways to maximize throughput.
Consider some of the classic combinations we've helped provide in the past. By joining combi ovens from Rational with blast chillers from Irinox and holding cabinets from Hatco, for example, operations can experience a higher capacity level, turning a small kitchen footprint into a high-producing operation.
High Sabatino has a wide range of foodservice solutions that can help both existing and new operations become more proficient and profitable when it comes to takeout and delivery service. Spend some time with us to learn how we can help.