Takeout orders account for a huge chunk of revenue for many restaurants, especially in the post-pandemic world. As such, investing time and resources into creating a top-notch takeout program is a smart move for restauranteurs who want to boost customer satisfaction and profits.
People order takeout because it’s convenient. If your customers have to go through lengthy, confusing processes or frequently receive unappetizing food when ordering takeout from your spot, they might not ever decide to dine with you again. Make your takeout program one that customers can rely on when their couch cravings hit, and witness your restaurant’s reputation soar.
Use Quality Packaging
The unique struggle for serving quality takeout dishes comes from the aspect of transportation. Dishes are often kept in enclosed containers for lengthy periods of time, which can lead to cold, soggy, leaky meals that wind up providing an ultimately unsatisfying experience for customers.
Don’t let a leaky container be the reason a guest’s dinner was ruined. Use as much care when plating and transporting takeout dishes as you would with an in-house meal. Invest in high-quality takeout containers that are durable, leak-proof, and insulated.
Though takeout meals come in disposable boxes rather than on gleaming china, it’s still possible to impress guests with a quality meal presentation. Go the extra mile and make all of your takeout containers, bags, and even utensils branded so that even when they’re not physically at your restaurant, customers are still enjoying an experience that they can only get from you.
Create Your Takeout Menu Strategically
Most restaurant takeout issues occur when customers receive food that is cold, soggy or falling apart. While using quality packaging can help mitigate these issues, sometimes the food itself is simply not feasible for takeout.
Create a killer takeout menu with MustHaveMenus using dishes that will arrive at customers’ homes intact and with plenty of appeal. Choose foods that reheat well and include reheating instructions to really impress your guests. Package certain ingredients separately or use ventilated containers to avoid sogginess. Prepare food with care and in a time-effective manner so that it’s hot and looks nice when customers open their boxes. When customers receive quality takeout meals, they learn that your restaurant puts care into all of their orders, and they’ll be more likely to return.
It’s important to consider what will be included on your takeout menu, but it’s also important to think about how your physical menu looks. Nobody likes a confusing menu, so make sure your menu has a simple layout, clear descriptions of dishes, updated prices, and your restaurant’s contact information in an easy-to-find spot.
Make Online Ordering Easy
While plenty of restaurants still take orders over the phone, it’s becoming increasingly popular for them to offer online ordering options. Allowing customers to order directly online means that employees don’t have to waste time taking orders themselves, and there is a reduced risk of errors being made in translation.
For online takeout orders to work, the process should be simple for both customers and staff. Make online ordering forms accessible with scannable QR codes on your restaurant’s social media pages or directly on your website. Likewise, be sure to offer updated, mobile-friendly online menus.
Equip Your Staff for Success
Quality food, impressive presentation, and seamless ordering processes make takeout a fantastic experience for customers, but it’s also crucial that your staff doesn’t have to jump through hoops to make it all happen.
Make sure that you have one team of employees who are solely responsible for takeout rather than delegating takeout responsibilities to staff members who already have other jobs to do. This will create an efficient takeout process overall. Likewise, keep your phones and computers updated so that staff doesn’t run into technical issues while trying to help customers.
Create a non-confusing takeout system for staff to follow, and make sure that great customer service is part of that system because friendly, efficient customer service isn’t only for in-person diners. Train employees to be warm and accommodating when taking takeout orders, and ensure that they go the extra mile to talk to customers about any allergies, packaging preferences, dietary restrictions, or special delivery instructions.
In accordance with treating takeout customers the same as dine-in customers, make sure to provide necessary things like utensils, napkins, and condiments in every single order. Moreover, don’t forget to give takeout customers the goodies like free bread, dessert mints, toothpicks, and more that you may hand out to in-house diners.
Thank Your Customers
To really win customers over with your takeout program, all you’ve got to do is thank them. Showing customers appreciation can help your business immensely, and it’s not very hard to do.
The simplest way to thank your customers is to include a tasteful thank-you business card in each takeout order. An even better way is to create a loyalty program that makes sense for your restaurant, whether it’s a free dessert after ten takeout orders, a 25% discount on delivery, a BOGO deal, or something else. Staple a loyalty card to each customer receipt and watch the takeout orders stack up!
Showing appreciation for your customers can also mean simply listening to their feedback. For your takeout program to really take off, it helps to hear what customers like and don’t like about what they’re already getting. Use social media, Yelp, Google, or feedback cards to ask, listen, and respond to customers about their experiences with your restaurant.
Go the Extra Mile for Takeout to Take Off
Be the restaurant that can do both: provide a one-of-a-kind in-house dining experience and an efficient, top-tier takeout program. Give customers well-presented, quality food, friendly customer service, and a little something extra to deliver a takeout experience that shows them you care about their experience even though they’re not there in person. The time, effort, and money you spend to make your takeout program great will only pay off in the end!