Industry News | December 6, 2011

Takeout Remains Strong Source of Revenue

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Takeout options are an increasingly important source of revenue for restaurant operators, with 57 percent of consumers recently surveyed by Technomic saying they purchase takeout once a week or more.

Operators who are worried that takeout sales can cannibalize dining room traffic can rest assured, as 60 percent of consumers who recently purchased takeout said that if they had not done so on that occasion, they would most likely have made food at home and not purchased from a foodservice operator.

"In many cases consumers do not view takeout orders as a part of the same consideration set as food purchased to be eaten in the dining room or onsite," says Technomic Vice President Joe Pawlak . "Operators have a real opportunity to gain an advantage if they can respond to consumers' needs for convenience, accuracy, and food quality."

In order to help restaurant operators, suppliers, and others aligned with the foodservice industry better understand consumer behavior, preferences, and attitudes regarding takeout, Technomic has developed the 2011 Takeout and Off-Premise Dining Consumer Trend Report.

Interesting findings include:

  • About 60 percent of consumers also say that they are willing to pay more for takeout packaging made with sustainable materials. Trends toward sustainable, recyclable materials for takeout containers are taking shape at several major restaurant brands on the chain level.
  • About half of consumers surveyed agree that their takeout occasion could be "ruined" by any of several mishaps: leaking food or liquids (52 percent), deterioration of food taste or freshness (49 percent), food that doesn't stay hot or cold (46 percent), or missing condiments (46 percent).
  • Boxed meals, value meals, and snacks stand out as leading take-out options for limited-service restaurants, while full-service restaurants are promoting family dining options.

Technomic's 2011 Takeout and Off-Premise Dining Consumer Trend Report examines preferences, attitudes, and purchasing behavior based on survey results from more than 1,500 consumers. The Menu, Marketing, and Concept Trends section provides a comprehensive guide to the trends that continue shaping the takeout category.

Additionally, data from Technomic's 2007 Takeout Category Studyis highlighted throughout the report to provide a benchmark for the trends discussed. 

For the purpose of this report, takeout includes any food or beverage purchased at a restaurant or other foodservice location and eaten elsewhere, including items ordered for carryout or delivery and grab-and-go items.