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Fresh Ideas to Break the Mold on Stale, Predictable To-go Menus

January 11, 2021
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After months of eating takeout and delivery in quarantine, diners are looking for new variations on the usual to-go menu. Don’t let your restaurant or grocery menu fall stale. Here are unique twists to keep up with the demand for fresh, adventurous eats that will satisfy your customer’s cravings.

  1. Themed dinners — We recently published a listing of National Food and Beverage holidays. Take a peek at that list for inspiration to generate your dinner menu theme — like a bacon takeover in support of National Bacon Lover’s Day. Or, something to cue nostalgia, like a new twist on the TV dinner.  
  2. Promote superfoods — You are already promoting healthy eating by maintaining social distance. Go one step further by crafting a superfood-themed to-go menu to fight colds and toxins and increase immunity. Your customers will love the healthy and guilt-free options. 
  3. Fusion food — Invite the attention of adventure seekers by crafting fusion recipes for your to-go cooler or takeout menu. Fusion food combines the elements of different culinary traditions. 
  4. Meal kits for romance — To-go coolers have proven themselves capable of feeding a family. For a fresh change, promote a meal-kit for a romantic evening for two, staying-in style. 
  5. Accessible gourmet — At the peak of COVID, many high-end restaurants experimented with accessible, take-out versions of their expensive cuisine. Another idea is to sell a take-and-cook meal kit of a gourmet meal with easy-to-follow instructions for novice home cooks. 
  6. Junk food cross breeds — This is your time to have fun. Invent a gourmet hot dog or a taco recipe that uses a Dorito shell for the crunchy tortilla. 
  7. All-day breakfast — Serve this comfort food straight-up or with flavorful variety, like vanilla cinnamon buttermilk pancakes, stuffed french toast, and cajun eggs benedict. 
  8. Other worldly — Dedicate your to-go cooler or takeout menu to recipes from around the world. This is a great opportunity to integrate meatless or plant-based recipes to accommodate different dietary needs without skimping on flavor. 
  9. Office lunch specials — Help remind teleworkers of a time when going out to lunch with your coworker was the norm. Sell a rotating meal for an at-home “office” lunch special that hopefully will be shared with cohorts over Zoom. 
  10. Happy hour specials — Patrons may not be able to enjoy cocktails and small plates in your eatery for happy hour, but you can offer reduced prices on take-out orders placed between 4 and 6 p.m. during the week when business is typically slow to generate new buzz.

 

Remember, your fresh ideas are only as good as your ability to promote them. 

Dedicate time to building your email list so you can promote these specials. Advertise new offerings on social media and keep your website up-to-date. Mobile orders are a part of the new normal. Nothing is more frustrating for customers than trying to navigate an outdated website or mobile app.

Incentivize new customers with a first-time customer discount or mobile ordering coupon code. 

Takeout doesn’t have to become redundant. Explore opportunities for adventure, comfort, and fusion cuisine to drum-up new business and keep your loyal patrons hungry for more. 

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