How to Maximize Restaurant Delivery for your operation: The Take-out Master List

Anyone with even half a finger on the pulse of the restaurant industry is aware of the dramatic rise in carry-out, restaurant delivery, and off-premise dining.  Spurred on by cultural shifts (longer work hours, less emphasis on home-cooking, rise in whole food restaurant offerings), generational influence (Millennial and Gen Z individuals who spend an increased portion of their disposable income on food) and technology factors (a market flooded with easy solutions for placing, paying for and tracking restaurant orders), off-premise dining is becoming an increasingly significant percentage of total restaurant sales.  According to Technomic, off-premise sales now account for 44% of all restaurant sales, or $228 billion with expected growth of roughly 5.6% annually through 2019, compared to 3-3.5% growth for the restaurant industry overall.  Data collected by the Buyers Edge Platform supports this trend.

To-go packaging is quickly becoming one of the most important categories of items in a restaurant’s weekly order.  Not only do operators need to focus on the quality of the packaging and ensure that packages preserve the temps and textures of their dishes, but they must also develop processes and kitchen layouts that factor in the increasing quantity of packaged items that they will need to deliver.  Furthermore, packaging selection presents an opportunity for an operator to present themselves as an eco-friendly and earth-conscious dining option. Pactiv’s earthchoice line of carryout containers overs the perfect balance of an environmentally-friendly package that still maintains the integrity of dish during restaurant delivery.  Pactiv’s MFPP containers, specifically, offer plastic saving materials that are microwaveable, ‘click’ closed to indicate a secure closure and are stable and grease and moisture resistant.  These packages come in 7 popular sizes to fit a variety of to-go applications.

Many operators serve takeout and delivery business channels with the goal of converting take-out diners to eventually ‘escalate’ to become more profitable in-house guests.  (Conversely, off-premise business is a good way to keep regular patrons engaged, even on nights when they aren’t looking to leave the house.)  It is important maintain the same standards of excellence in the off-premise experience as guests expect when dining in-house.  This means that ingredients, condiments and even cutlery that in-house guests would not even normally see, suddenly become, for off-premise diners, a metric by which the restaurant can be judged.  If a restaurant sends a takeout chicken sandwich order with packets of generic-brand condiments, guests may rightfully assume that the restaurant regularly uses ‘lower quality’ ingredients in their recipes.  On the flipside, take-out accoutrements like condiments, cutlery, and soft drinks present yet another opportunity to ‘wow’ new and repeat guests alike.  The Buyers Edge Platform’s culinary and operational experts recommend delivering recognizable branded Portion Control condiments such as Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Smucker’s Jellies and Peanut Butters and Dickinson’s Honey.  This branding for quality can easily be extended by offering the corresponding table-top condiments for in-house guests. 

As far as utensils and cutlery go, as off-premise dining continues to grow in popularity, carry-out cutlery will become an ever more prevalent restaurant cost.  Furthermore, as off-premise dining migrates from the domain of QSRs to include restaurants of all styles and cuisine types, cutlery is becoming an increasingly important element of the dining experience.  We’ve all struggled to cut steak tips with an inadequate knife, reached into a soup bowl holding our too-small spoon by our fingertips or broken a tong off of a cheaply-made fork.  Manufacturers like Georgia Pacific offer cost-effective products that reduce waste, storage, maintenance and labor costs while enhancing a restaurant’s image and food safety.  Smart operators can even save in the long run by investing in higher-quality cutlery dispensers that enable a reduction in waste and increases in sanitary safeguards. For cutlery, nothing beats the Dixie Ultra Smart Stock Wrapped Cutlery system which dispenses one piece of cutlery, with 60% less plastic wrap, at a time through a system that is preferred by 88% of fast food patrons over open bins of wrapped cutlery.

Clients of Consolidated Concepts have the ability to purchase all of the above items at reduce costs by taking advantage of the deviated prices and rebated savings that are available through our contracted manufacturer programs. Learn more.