How to Continue a Successful Takeout Program into 2021

Young woman preparing takeaway healthy food inside restaurant during Coronavirus outbreak time – Worker inside kitchen cooking vegetarian food for online order service – Focus on salad

The trepidation of what 2021 has to offer this world in the future is definitely real! As most businesses in the US had to lower capacity or temporarily close, one of the creative ways that helped restaurants through the 2020 struggle was a great takeout program.  

As we find a groove with the new normal, it’s time to put a little TLC back into your takeout program. With a new year coming up, here’s how you can keep the successes of your current takeout program, and even add to it! 

Designate a More Permanent Pick-Up Location 

With more customers ordering takeout from you, it may be time to have a more specific area for them to report when their order is ready.  

Try having a pick-up location at an unused stretch of your bar or POS station that is not your main entry point for customers. This will keep takeout customers from loitering in your waiting area and mingling with more people than necessary. Having this specific location can streamline the process for all and reduce points of contact. 

If you are offering a curbside pick-up (or thinking of adding it) instead of inviting them indoors, make sure you’re publicizing it! More retailers and restaurants than ever are offering curbside services which are not only convenient, they’re also safer with less contact between staff and customers. 

Review Your (Takeout) Repertoire   

You may have started this year with a pretty bare bones menu to just get by. But if you haven’t changed your takeout menu since the beginning of this year, it may be time to take a look at adding new favorites from your regular menu and removing ones that aren’t working.  

Every once in a while (a good time may be when you evaluate your regular menu and add seasonal items) try changing out your menu items to keep things interesting for your customers. New items, particularly seasonal ones, can always attract attention and could inspire an order.  

Be sure that this information is up to date on your social media and website so takeout customers know their full range of options. You never know what may catch their eye!  

Introduce a Revamped Happy Hour 

Continue your to-go cocktails, wine, and beer sales with special happy hours! There are a few ways you can do this: 

  1. Promote discounted drinks that you want to move that week when customers order food to-go that evening.  
  1. Set a specific period during the week and have your regular happy hours prices, but with drinks to-go.  

Either way can create an increase in drink orders, and ideally, takeout food orders as well! Try out a “Thirsty Thursday” or “Wine Down Wednesday” promotion to help increase takeout on your slower days. Pre-2020, you may have had happy hour nights each night, but with the current climate sticking to a specific night can help your orders increase and retain the “specialness” of a happy hour.  

Dinner for the Whole Family 

Offer customers a weekly dinner box takeout option where they can get a meal that will feed the whole family. For example, if you’re an Italian eatery, have a takeout dinner box where customers can get a lasagna, salad, bread, and dessert for a family of four. Choose meals that can easily be prepped and ready to make it a lucrative addition to your takeout menu

You can designate whether people must pre-order these items, the days of the week they are available, and, of course, what you’re offering. If you’re dipping your toe into this pond, a main dish that changes weekly with a few side options may be a good start! 

Taking stock and revitalizing your takeout program can help your business continue to grow and hold strong in the most turbulent times! How has your takeout program changed your restaurant business this year? We’d love to hear! 

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