This year has been anything but ordinary. This holiday season, many of your customers may embrace the idea of deviating from their usual cook-from-scratch tradition to do something less stressful — but no less delicious.
Pre-cooked and cook-at-home family-style holiday meals are in demand. Here are ways your restaurant, grocery or healthcare kitchen can serve holiday grab ‘n go meals, which will make your customers — and bottom line — more cheerful.
There are two forms of grab ‘n go. There are meals that are precooked and ready-to-eat. Then, there are pre-fixed, cook-at-home dishes. Both have different advantages for your customers or patients.
Pre-cooked, ready-to-eat meals satisfy the needs of customers who want the taste of homemade food, without having to dirty their kitchen. Many diners flock to ready-made dishes from restaurants and grocery stores during the holidays to make their celebration less demanding.
Plus, ready-made food doesn’t have to be ordered as a three-course meal. Many people enjoy ordering only side dishes if they take pride in cooking the ham or turkey themselves. Or, people may order only an entree if they enjoy cooking their signature side dish.
Pre-cooked holiday dishes provide a special service in healthcare. For families of patients, having a family member in the hospital is stressful any time of year. At the holidays, selling pre-made meals at the hospital, where they are already spending time, is an easy way to provide normalcy for patients and their families. This is also an opportunity for hospital staff to support families with words of encouragement in their order with a card.
Hospital employees will also appreciate the ability to pick up a ready-made meal, which means more time spent with friends and family.
Remember, your foodservice establishment has its signature-styled food, as well. When crafting your holiday to-go menu, include signature flavors, presentation or ingredients that would give customers a surprising twist on their usual favorites.
Pre-fixed, cook-at-home meals are very popular for a number of reasons. First, they allow customers to order their entrees, side dishes and desserts well in advance of a holiday.
Cook-at-home meals are freezer friendly, which allows customers to shop and plan their menu before the crowds.
Moreover, customers appreciate pre-fixed food because they can still enjoy the tradition of cooking something in their own ovens. They also may feel free to put a personal touch on a pre-fixed dish. Like adding marshmallows and cinnamon on a sweet potato casserole or extra garlic to mashed potatoes. This may be a natural choice for restaurants, who have sold cook-at-home meal kits in the wake of COVID.
Getting the word out
This holiday season, make special effort to advertise your grab ‘n go holiday meals before the rush. Here are some tips to get the word out about your offerings:
Distribute holiday togo menus at your restaurant or post signage near take-and-go coolers in your grocery store or hospital kitchen.
Advertise portions for two to four eaters instead of large parties only. This will attract a demographic who may not travel home for the holidays or those who are coordinating smaller get togethers due to COVID.
Offer curbside pick-up and mobile ordering. This will help shoppers and patients feel at ease to avoid large crowds.
No matter how much has changed this year, food helps families, patients and customers feel a sense of normalcy. Bring people together this holiday season with delicious grab ‘n go meals from your kitchen. If you need more ideas on how to serve your customers, read more on our blog.
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