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5 Tips for Tackling To-go at Your Restaurant

February 20, 2021
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Since the onset of the pandemic, there’s been a staggering decline (66%) in the number of dine-in customers at restaurants. For many restaurant owners, this decline has prompted them to think about the role of delivery and takeout services in the success of their business. For others, the allure of to-go has less to do with the effects of the pandemic and more to do with capitalizing on a trend that’s been well underway for quite some time now. No matter your motivation for launching, improving, or expanding your to-go offering, incorporating a few best practices can make all the difference.

 

1. Stay organized

If you haven’t already established a system for incoming takeout and delivery orders, now’s the time. First, determine which channels you’ll use for off-premise orders (e.g., phone, online, third-party delivery providers). If possible, integrate your point of sale (POS) system with your incoming order process to minimize manual, error-prone order entry. Not only will this free up your staff to tend to customer service needs, but it will help to ensure all orders are routed to the kitchen in the order they’re received. Based on your anticipated off-premise order volume, assign a certain number of staff members to answer the phone, coordinate with the kitchen, and provide your carry-out and delivery customers with excellent service.

 

2. Simplify your menu

Chances are, your entire dine-in menu isn’t delivery and takeout friendly. When you curate your to-go menu, remember that less is more. Instead of offering all of your dine-in options, choose a streamlined selection of dishes that represent your restaurant well and can be prepared efficiently. Not only will this make it easier for you to focus on quality and consistency, but it will help you get orders out the door quickly and keep customers satisfied. Plus, a less complicated menu means fewer ingredients, less prep time, and ultimately, lower costs. 

 

3. Invest in top-notch packaging

Once you’ve nailed down your to-go menu, it’s time to pick out the proper packaging. Of course, you want the best packaging to preserve your food’s quality and temperature. But beyond that, sanitation is a top concern. Weigh your options and determine the best materials to protect the integrity of your meals. Once you’ve established that, add a layer of safety and assurance for your customers, whether that’s through the use of tamper-proof containers or tamper-evident labels. As you weigh the pros and cons of your packaging options, opt for sustainable packaging if possible. Not only is it better for the environment, but many customers will appreciate your eco-friendly efforts. 

 

4. Establish a pick-up protocol

Understandably, customers are concerned about exposure in the wake of the pandemic, so the last thing they want to do is wait around when picking up a to-go order. Make pickup efficient with convenient parking spaces for takeout, clear signage to facilitate traffic flow inside and outside the restaurant, and a designated space for takeout orders so customers can get in and out easily. Go the extra mile with sanitation measures and protocols too. Establish a regular sanitation schedule for your take-out order area, require masks, install safety barriers where necessary, and display social distancing markers so customers feel safe while waiting for their orders.

 

5. Prep for efficient production

While the restaurant business can be unpredictable, one thing’s for sure: Preparation is the key to success. Plan ahead and have staff prep food in advance of peak meal times, so they’re ready to serve up food fast when rush time rolls around. Invest in high-quality, insulated holding equipment to keep popular menu items hot and flavor-fresh for longer. While you’re at it, consider order pick-up stations or lockers, so once to-go orders are ready, you can keep them hot and fresh for employees or customers to grab and go quickly. 

 

Do more with less.

In addition to these tried-and-true tips, make sure you’re taking advantage of equipment features like precision technology, which gives you maximum temperature control while cooking for high volumes. This can help you meet high delivery and takeout demand, without compromising on quality. 

 

But, don’t just rely on equipment to make your off-premise operations easier — keep customers coming back for more by incorporating menu items that do well on the go

Ovention Ovens Make It Easy
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