Walkables/Carryables/Deliverables: How to Take on More Takeout
The statistics are staggering: 86% of consumers are using eating off-premise at least monthly.1 And a third are using it more than they did a year ago.2 Even more exciting is that food delivery is expected to grow in the double digits —12% per year over the next five years.3
But it’s not just delivery that is up. Food that customers carry out is way up too.
- 68% of consumers buy food to-go from QSRs monthly
- 58% buy to-go items from a grocery deli
- 45% buy from fast casual operators 4
It’s pretty obvious that our hectic, non-stop lifestyles are influencing consumption of off-premises food as Americans seek ways to fuel while driving, studying, and working.
Starting with snacks
Snacks used to be considered a guilty pleasure, but now they’re nearly a necessity, as skipped meals, demands of juggling work and home obligations force on-the-go eating in unprecedented numbers. The need for on-the-go food is evident in that 48% of consumers say portability is very important when choosing a snack.5
What’s key in the future of snacking? Here are four snack food characteristics that define the new demand for on-the-go hunger satisfiers:6
- Wellness: Consumers want healthy snacks
- Protein: Power-up foods that satisfy
- Portability: Single servings, easy to consume as one portion
- Uniqueness: Uncommon flavor mashups, new textures, heat and aromatics
Food truck fusion
What’s more walkable carry-out than a food truck? Food trucks offer the ultimate in meals and snacking on the go, designed for off-premises consumption… because they have no premises! With small menus, food trucks can be nimble, and with constant face-to-face encounters with their customers, quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.
One thing food trucks are good at – culinary fusion:
- Ethnic breakfasts like jianbing, one of China’s most popular breakfast dishes, is an egg crepe filled with barbecued meats and coleslaw
- Paninis fit the carryout bill to a T, offering endless opportunity for every daypart, completely carryout and walkable friendly
- Beyond hot dogs into specialty sausages like chorizo, bratwurst, kielbasa, fennel-drenched Italian
Takeout is taking off
22% of consumer now say that ordering food for takeout or delivery is more a part of their routine than it was two years ago.7 Once again, the hectic lifestyles of so many Americans plays into a desire for convenience. While consumers are ordering more carryout food, 28% also say they are lounging at home more often than they were two years ago.8
But it’s also gotten much easier to order food for takeout or delivery. Compare today’s tech tools to yesterday’s hurried, often mistake-laden phone call for takeout from your favorite restaurant. Accurate orders, full menu to look at, confirmation of payment, estimated preparation time. It’s hard to beat that combo.
- 45% of consumers will order from a mobile app from full-service restaurants, 40% from limited service restaurants 9
- 47% like the ability to track the progress of their order from full-service restaurants, 41% like this feature when ordering from limited service restaurants 10
- 37% like a system that keeps favorite order for easier future ordering from full-service, 35% from limited service restaurants 11
Taking on more takeout and delivery
It’s more than just deciding to get some takeout boxes. Likely, you’ll need to make some changes to menu options, preparation and how you get the food to the waiting customer. In fact, 15% of operators have made changes to accommodate takeout/delivery orders.12
How about prepping the food for its eventual consumption? 38% of consumers eat carryout food in the car and 28% eat carryout food in a park or other public space.13
Do you include utensils or napkins? Getting to the park on your lunch hour and finding you have no spoon for your soup, no fork for your salad, this makes a meal memorable for the wrong reasons.
As you’re thinking through taking on more takeout, consider the following three keys to success. Getting the basics right can make all the difference in increasing revenue and profit:14
- Expediting means serving more customers: Be sure you have a dedicated staging area, mobile pay apps like Venmo and PayPal, and organized flow from order to kitchen to customer.
- Restaurant quality food every time: Offer takeout only on items than hold up. Pack hot and cold separately and use the right size containers for the food and sauces.
- Market it: Make sure patrons get the word through social media, your menu, signage and loyalty programs. Offer a deal and daily specials.
11, 2, 3 Restaurant Business, “The stats are in: Consumers are upping restaurant delivery,” April 17, 2018
4 CPP 2018/2019
5 Snacking Consumer Trend Report, Technomic Inc.
6 Food Business News, “The future of snacking: Wellness, portability and unique experiences,” February 13, 2019
7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Restaurant Business, “Operations: What Consumers Want From Off-Premise,” February 6, 2019
12 CPP 2018/2019
13 Takeout and Off-Premise Consumer Trend Report, Technomic Inc.
14 Grubhub for Restaurants: 3 Things Restaurants Can Do to Increase Takeout Orders