22% of consumers now say that ordering food for carryout or delivery is more a part of their routine than it was two years ago, according to Technomic. As delivery and takeout have become more popular, customer preferences and service standards have shifted. Satisfying those needs and predicting what they’ll want next will make your restaurant competitive and drive future business.
Restaurants have never just been about the food. This is why we talk at length about the dining experience because that’s exactly what it is: An experience while eating. Restaurants offer a reprieve, an escape from the humdrum day-to-day. They give us a place to celebrate the wins and nurse the losses. They provide a sense of comfort and are an essential part of our lives.
What do your customers want to get out of an off-premise dining experience? Comfort, speed, and ease. Beyond that, you'll want to gain a better understanding of consumer preferences, specifically what your target customer is looking for in a dining experience.
Hopefully, your regulars are also looking for an off-premise dining experience that delights and excites them. If your restaurant typically offers seasonal menus or nightly specials, incorporating those moments of delight into your off-premise experience is crucial.
Here are some additional ways to grow off-premise restaurant sales.
Catering presents an opportunity for incremental revenue. It’s in catering’s very nature to be off premise, so building a catering strategy may help drive long-term business.
Your catering offerings can consist of items that are on your current menu, or your MVM. Now, in addition to considering the deliverability of these items, (which you’ve already done) you will have to think of how it would be prepared and served to a large group. It is also important for the catering side of your restaurant to mirror the similar quality and pricing of the original full-service menu. Make sure you have the inventory and interest before you begin your catering strategy.
Wine and Spirits
Many states and cities are introducing bills that allow bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages with delivery or takeout orders during the ongoing shutdown of dine-in service caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are in one of the cities that has made these changes and have a liquor license that allows you to profit from these sales during the coronavirus crisis, promoting the availability of wine and spirits can help increase average order sales.
New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Texas have all made temporary changes to allow alcohol delivery, as have jurisdictions like Washington D.C. and Atlanta. Check the mandates in your area to see whether offering alcoholic drinks to your takeout and delivery customers is legal.
Make Your Own Meals
DIY meals have surged in popularity and are a trending topic in the world of off-premise dining. You may have seen pictures of make-your-own pizza or cannoli kits on Instagram. These options deliver an experience to your customers while still providing a meal.
Like any business shift, you may need to attempt a few iterations of your menu, delivery system, and marketing tactics to find what works best for your restaurant. The key here is to keep experimenting.
This article was written by our friends at Toast.