Sometimes you want a good meal that you didn’t cook yourself, but you also don’t want to leave home. This is a feeling that many of us have come to see as a new normal a few days a week: Forbes reports that the annual food delivery market could rise by 20% to $365 billion in the United States by 2030.
If you don't want to go out but do miss the restaurant experience, here are some tips to elevate your meal to make it more like you’re dining in instead of staying home.
Eat When Food Is Best
Takeout meals taste best when they are still hot and haven’t been sitting in a car or in your home for a long time. Prioritizing eating as soon as possible will best imitate the restaurant experience.
Other meals, like salads, are already cold, but they still need to be eaten in a timely manner, especially if they already have salad dressing on them. Salads covered in dressing or a hot protein that have been left out too long can get soggy, making the crispness and taste suffer.
Even if a food is easy to heat up, like soup, you may find that it just doesn’t taste the same if it isn’t eaten soon after preparation. If you have to reheat your food, using the stove, oven, or air fryer instead of the microwave may cut down on sogginess and help preserve the taste of the dish.
Time Delivery to Eat on Time
Another way to make sure food is ready when you are is to order it ahead of time so it is ready when you are able to eat it. Some people like to order dinner early in the day so they can pick it up on their way home from work.
Or, if you know you’ll be home from work by 5:30 pm, setting a target delivery time of 6:00 pm could provide the perfect timing to get home, change, and then eat your meal. When food is ordered ahead of time, restaurants are usually more accurate with the requested time because they’ve had more time to prepare. With Menufy, you can place your order up to 4 days in advance at participating restaurants.
Try New Things
One of the best parts of going to a restaurant is trying new things. Ironically, many customers prefer to order the same thing over and over when they are ordering carryout and delivery. While there is nothing wrong with sticking to your old favorites, consider trying something new on the menu. When you are eating in a restaurant with friends or colleagues, you’re more likely to try a special or a new dish based on someone’s recommendation. Consider looking at the restaurant's reviews on Yelp, Facebook, or TripAdvisor to learn its most popular dishes. You can also call and ask the staff or friends that have been there before what they would recommend. Who knows? You may find a new favorite!
Get an Appetizer or Extra Sides
Another thing most people do in restaurants that they don’t do with outside orders is to order an appetizer or additional sides. These extra savors can contribute to an elevated at-home meal.
Often sides are only a few extra dollars, so consider trying a new side or just getting both sides if you can’t decide between two of them.
An appetizer is also a great way to try more dishes from the restaurant. What’s more, getting extra sides or appetizers also gives you more leftovers that can be eaten later.
Get a Drink or Dessert
Consider other additional items you can order to make your meal more enjoyable. If they offer it, grab a soda or lemonade to have with your meal. Occasionally ordering dessert makes for a perfect ending! Some desserts can be leftovers as well, like cake or pie. Try not to get dessert that can melt easily, like ice cream or chocolate on a summer day. “Sturdier” desserts will last longer during their journey from a vehicle to your table.
Taking some effort to plan when to eat your takeout meal and spending more to have an enjoyable in-home meal can make for a more memorable experience. Turn takeout from a “last resort” meal to a pleasant evening or lunch break that’s worth remembering.