In these difficult times, restaurants are more reliant than ever on takeout business. Even if there are no pandemic-related restrictions on eat-in dining, many customers simply do not feel safe eating in a restaurant – creating a strain on restaurants across the country. To remain profitable during COVID-19, increasing takeout sales is vital.
There are a number of ways that businesses can increase the amount of delivery and pick-up orders. By making it easy to get takeout and increasing the visibility of your takeout menu, you could boost your profits and ensure that your restaurant stays viable.
Below, we outline some top tips for increasing takeout sales. Whether you run a small mom-and-pop restaurant or a bustling eatery, these tactics can help you keep your business going strong throughout the pandemic.
Reconfigure Your Menu
Even before the pandemic, off-premises dining (including delivery, takeout, and drive-through) accounted for 60% of all restaurant occasions. In other words, customers are more likely to get their food to go than to sit and eat in your establishment. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased patrons’ desire to get takeout or delivery, with many Americans sick of cooking for themselves and wary of dining in public.
While some foods (like pizza) are ideal for takeout and delivery, other foods don’t fare as well. A platter of fried appetizers may be delicious when served within moments of being taken out of the deep fryer – but that same plate of food will likely be cold, soggy, and greasy by the time a customer gets it back to their house.
If your menu doesn’t have a lot of items that will travel well, consider revamping your menu. You don’t have to completely abandon your style or ditch popular favorites, but you may consider adding takeout-friendly options. This can include grab-and-go selections (like sandwiches) or foods that lend themselves to takeout, such as salads or even pasta dishes. When customers know that their food will taste just as good at home as it will at your restaurant, they’ll be more likely to order from you.
Create Takeout Specials
In addition to adding new takeout options to your menu, consider creating specials exclusively for takeout. For example, you may offer a full meal for one price, or even offer family-style options. An Italian restaurant may offer a complete spaghetti dinner, with salad, pasta, bread, and a drink, to entice customers to order.
Having takeout specials can increase interest, particularly in a time when so many of us are bored at home and sick of doing the same things over and over again. Post your specials in visible locations around your restaurant, on your website, and on social media to make sure that they reach the widest possible audience.
Make It Convenient
We all have a favorite restaurant, store, or other business that we don’t patronize as often as we would like because it simply isn’t convenient. To have a successful takeout business, consider all of the obstacles that customers might face in getting to your restaurant – and then do your best to reduce or eliminate them.
For example, you may choose to dedicate a few parking spaces for takeout customers. If you have the room, you may even have a dedicated takeout counter so that it is easy for patrons to pop in, pick up their order, and get back to their car quickly. You should also work with your kitchen to make sure that they can handle a higher number of takeout orders, so that customers don’t get frustrated with long wait times.
The final thing to consider in terms of convenience would be your website. Is your site easy to navigate and do you have an option for customers to place orders online? While calling to place an order is simple, some customers would rather conduct business without having to talk to anyone. Offering both online checkout and the ability to place an order by phone allows customers to place an order in the way that is most convenient for them.
Promote Your Takeout
Your customers are probably used to coming to your restaurant to eat in-person. If that is no longer an option, they may not realize that they can order takeout from you. That is why it is so important for you to promote the fact that you offer takeout.
This can be done in a variety of ways. You can make takeout menus available in your restaurant, and post signs around your space. You should also consider a marketing campaign, using print, digital, and other forms of advertising to get the information to customers. Take advantage of email lists and other channels to let existing and potential patrons know that you’re open for their orders. You can boost Facebook posts, which are relatively inexpensive. You can also grow your email subscriber base by offering a discount with email subscriptions.
Brand Your Packaging
Most restaurant owners put a lot of thought – and money – into creating an ambience for their business. It is often an integral part of their brand. When the in-person dining option is removed (or limited), it can make it difficult to market your business.
One way around this dilemma is to send your brand out into the community with custom branded packaging. By putting your name, logo, signature colors, or other information onto your cups, bowls, bags, coffee sleeves, and more, you will increase awareness of your restaurant’s takeout options. It’s a critical opportunity for advertising that is even more important when your business’ success may rely heavily on takeout sales.
Looking To Ramp Up Takeout Orders? We Can Help.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the restaurant industry to make a significant shift in the way that it does business. Focusing on takeout orders can help your restaurant stay profitable – and keep you in business. By making your takeout more enticing, visible and convenient, you can increase sales.
At Budget Branders, we understand the challenges facing small to medium-sized businesses. We offer custom branded disposables at prices and quantities that make sense for restaurants like yours. To learn more or to request a quote, press the live chat button, call us at 888-373-4880, or fill out our online contact form.