Make Your Takeout Restaurant a Success with These 10 Tips

takeout restaurant food tips
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Article contributed by McDonald Paper

Sitting down in a restaurant is nice. You get to mingle, laugh, and have a good time. But a lot of people are opting for takeout instead. Takeout offers higher quality food than a fast-food restaurant. Restaurants also benefit from order increases and less overhead when a customer orders takeout.

If your restaurant is planning to offer takeout, these 10 tips can increase your chances of success.

1. Price Your Menu Properly

Pricing is going to be one of your biggest challenges. You need to be able to:

      • Turn a profit
      • Remain competitively priced

You’ll need to factor in all costs, including:

      • Cook’s salary
      • Ingredients
      • Packaging
      • Fuel

Once you know the true cost of each item on your menu, you can add your desired profit margins on top of the cost. Keep competitive pricing, but don’t charge your items so low that you struggle to turn a profit.

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2. Offer the Right Food Items

Takeout food needs to be transported well. Ice cream, for example, is likely to melt before a customer gets home, so it doesn’t transfer well. Offering other dessert options, like cake or brownies, would be better.

Your menu can also act as the perfect opportunity to upsell items. You can offer:

      • Chips
      • Baked cookies
      • Custom build options

Highlight or create high-ticket items that sell well and are great for takeout.

3. Determine Your Delivery Area

What is your delivery area? Can you or should you expand this area? If the delivery area is too large, you risk the quality of the food suffering before it’s delivered. You want a delivery area to be sufficient in both profitability and practicality.

If your deliveries are 60+ minutes due to the delivery radius, you may want to rethink your delivery area.

4. Find Suppliers

Suppliers are the backbone of every business. If you have lackluster suppliers, you risk getting poor quality food. When choosing a supplier, you want to focus on:

      • Quality
      • Consistency
      • Range of food items

You also need to find these same traits in the container and packaging suppliers you use.

5. Make Ordering Easy

Customers have a plethora of ordering options to choose from. Restaurants offer online ordering, phone ordering, or even ordering through personal or third-party apps. When you make ordering as stress-free and easy as possible, you’re going to increase customer satisfaction and experience.

You may want to develop your own website or app, or even consider text message ordering, to increase orders.

Depending on the food served, you may consider offering drive-thru ordering and pickup.

6. Put a Major Focus on Packaging

Packaging keeps your food at the appropriate temperature while remaining the food fresh. It’s better to invest in high-quality packaging which:

      • Prevents spills
      • Reduces the risk of box sagging
      • Keeps food in optimal condition

When your food arrives at the customer’s door or is picked up by the customer, is it in optimal condition? If not, you’ll want to speak with the supplier and find a solution that meets your business’ needs.

You’ll also want to consider customizing your packaging for branding purposes. Add your logo, slogan, and telephone number/website to packaging for added promotional value and branding.

7. Work on Your Internal Systems to Minimize Errors

Errors in-store can lead to massive customer dissatisfaction and loss. A good internal system might include a point-of-sale system, order verification before being handed off to the customer and internal protocols to follow.

We live in the age of the Internet where people are more likely to leave a review when they’re unhappy with your service.

Imagine ordering a pizza, soda, and cookies, waiting an hour for delivery, and finding out that the pizzeria forgot your drink and dessert. You may be understanding the first time, but when errors are commonplace, chances are, you won’t order in the future.

Errors also need to be rectified.

What policies will you have in place if items are missing for an order? Will you:

      • Offer discounts?
      • Send replacement items out?
      • Call and apologize for the mistake?

8. Consider Loyalty Programs

Massive restaurant chains offer loyalty programs because it’s a great way to bring in repeat customers. These customers may also bring their friends along to eat. With loyalty programs, you’re obviously increasing loyalty, but you’re also:

      • Increasing revenue
      • Increasing exposure

Millennials prefer a variety of loyalty programs:

      • Points for every dollar spent as Dunkin’ offers
      • Points for every visit
      • Discounts on items
      • Points for certain item purchases

You can even offer a free food item after a certain number of purchases. Free coffee or dessert won’t impact profit margins much and can lead to more revenue over time due to repeat customers that are likely to order additional items at the same time.

9. Learn About Takeout Taxes

Takeout taxes should also be considered. Depending on your location, the taxes may not be required. If you offer cold, packaged items, such as packaged baked goods, you may not need to collect taxes on them in New York.

New York City requires taxes on heated and prepared foods.

If you don’t have to collect taxes on certain items, you can adjust their cost or opt to enjoy more revenue on the items.

10. Promote, Promote, Promote

Do you openly promote your takeout options? Do you mention the takeout options on:

      • Promotional items
      • Packaging
      • Menus

Solid marketing is required to ensure that customers know that you offer certain food items. You’ll also want to promote on your website, social media accounts, and newsletters.

The bigger question will be if you’re willing to use a third-party for delivery.

You will want to consider the fees that are charged for using the service and ensure that your profit margins are not impacted too much.

Takeout restaurants can be a massive success, adding to your bottom line and offering customers the opportunity to eat outside of your establishment. If you build up your takeout presence using the tips above, you’ll position your restaurant for success.

  • Imperial Dade
  • Inline Plastics
  • DAVO Sales Tax
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Day & Nite
  • Red Gold
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Enterprise Greece