When you allow for carryout orders at your restaurant, you open yourself to a whole new audience of customers that don’t want to eat in your restaurant but still want to enjoy your food. Besides offering carryout in the first place, you can also follow a few tips to make the ordering and pickup process even easier.
Allow Online Ordering
For years, restaurants have offered carryout, but some still don’t offer online ordering. This is a major benefit to customers, as many have started ordering food delivery and takeout instead of dining in. Nation’s Restaurant News reports that food takeout and delivery revenue grew 300% faster than revenue from those dining in the restaurant. Additionally, Forbes reports that takeout orders generated $124 billion in 2018.
Help customers order takeout more easily with online ordering, which also helps restaurant staff stay organized via an ordering app or printed orders (rather than handwritten ones).
Allow For Customization
Most online food ordering platforms also allow users to customize their order. This is helpful for users that have food allergies or follow specific diets. Having the user customize their order online ensures that they can specify in their order exactly how they want their food prepared. Even though the customer can do that over the phone, errors are more likely to occur through miscommunication or through noise distractions or other issues.
An online order will show a clear printout for the chef of how the food is to be prepared. In addition, the food packager can also check the ticket to ensure everything is as specified on the ticket. This cuts down on mistakes and order re-dos, saving money and staff time.
Have a Designated Pickup Area
One trend that many restaurants, like Chipotle and Tropical Smoothie Cafe, are doing is to have a designated pickup area for those customers who ordered online. This prevents congestion in the line from customers just waiting to pick up food they already paid for. Make sure that the pickup area is clearly marked with a sign and in an area that’s easily visible from the door. As customers get used to collecting their food from the pickup area, staff should experience less confusion and fewer questions about the new system.
This benefits staff by saving them time while also making customers’ food pickup experience much easier.
Make it as Self-Service as Possible
Besides the designated pickup area, walk through the takeout experience and look for ways in which the restaurant can make other parts of the process self-service as well. For instance, when takeout customers order drinks, Chipotle puts the empty cup in the customer’s bag so they can fill it up at the soda machine before they leave. You could also include any sauces, cutlery, and napkins so customers don’t have to ask for them before they go.
If there are other sauces or items customers may need to accompany their order, consider setting up a station next to the pickup area. This is where they can get more ketchup, water cups, moist towelettes, or other common items, which many customers ask for.
Keep a List of Past Orders
Many online ordering systems allow customers to view their past order history, and in this way they are able to order the same thing again. This saves a lot of time for customers who tend to order the same thing over and over again. Customers are ordering carryout because they want convenience, so allowing them to order their favorite meals quickly makes them more likely to order from your restaurant regularly.
Alongside this, you might want to consider a rewards program, such as Menufy’s Tasty Rewards, which allows customers to receive a meal reward from your restaurant. This is an additional incentive that may compel a diner to order from your restaurant rather than another one that doesn’t offer any rewards.
When it comes to the takeout experience, it’s helpful to put yourself in the shoes of different types of customers. From there, you’ll be able to see what could speed up their food journey, as well as what could make things easier for your staff.