The desire for instant consumption has become a defining quality of a 21st century world. Whether it be streaming services that provide immediate access to music, film, and TV, or online retail companies competing for the quickest and most efficient means of delivery, the modern consumer desires everything on demand.

But where does that leave traditional eateries? Are restaurants at risk of the same fate already sealed by outdated service providers such as Blockbuster? Today, we’re taking a closer look at how you can evolve your restaurant business to meet the demands of an ever-changing industry landscape, making the shift to incorporate “on the go” and takeout options as part of your daily service.

Optimize your kitchen and restaurant area

The number one rule for any restaurant business looking to make the jump into the world of takeout is to never underestimate the extent of the task. Owners can often be unprepared for the sheer number of orders a new delivery service can bring in, particularly during traditionally off-peak times within which you can commonly be understaffed.

Remember, a successful takeaway business upholds the same level of quality as its dine-in service, maintaining a positive brand perception through speed, quality and safety. As such, you need to ensure your kitchen and restaurant areas are readily optimized to preserve the high levels of standards established.

Think logically about the layout of both your kitchen and dining areas to effectively optimize them for an efficient service both in-house and out. Having a separate serving area for takeaway orders, for example, ensures your delivery drivers aren’t having to push through a sea of your in-house diners when coming in and out of the establishment.

Likewise, defining a clear “takeout” area in your kitchen, accompanied by a completely separate order tracker, enables kitchen staff to easily differentiate between orders, prioritizing them appropriately. Given the ‘on the go’ nature of takeout food, speedy food prep can easily lead to poor quality or even undercooked food. To combat this, why not incorporate a “quality check” area into your kitchen?

It’s important to uphold the customer experience within the restaurant itself, especially if you’ve worked hard on developing a regular clientele and notable reputation over the years. As such, ensure you don’t begin prioritizing your takeout service as your primary defining quality, minimizing disruption to your guests wherever possible.

Market, market, market

With new services comes new opportunities, so be sure to explore the avenues which will be opened up by the introduction of a takeout service.

Takeout giants like UberEats provide an amazing opportunity for you to reach an extensive local audience. Work on partnership deals to position higher on sites such like these, while working hard to build a backlog of positive customer reviews.

If you’d rather not pay commission to external sites, consider setting up your own mobile application where users receive special discounts or loyalty schemes. This will enhance the consumer experience by creating an easy-order, no nonsense process that keeps customers coming back for more. 

Stand out from the crowd

As the industry moves more and more toward an ‘on the go’ mentality to dining, it’s hardly surprising that the takeaway market is becoming increasingly saturated.

As such, take innovative approaches to your takeaway service that make you stand out from the crowd. For example, if you’re an Italian restaurant, look to offer a “gluten free” takeout option to meet the increasing demands for extenuating dietary requirements. Alternatively, incorporate eco-friendly packaging like biodegradable cups, plates and serving boxes and advertize your business as an eco-takeout option; this is sure to pique the interest of a customer base becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases.

Taking the plunge into takeout food service may seem like a daunting task, but with some sensible, logical and informed business development, you’ll seamlessly evolve into a multi-purpose dining establishment that meets the demand of a changing industry.

Elizabeth Raw works for R+R Packaging, providers of biodegradable and eco-friendly packaging materials for businesses within a wide variety of industries.
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