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Foodservice Takeout and Convenience: Menu Tips

Find out how to tweak your foodservice to leverage the powerful takeout and convenience trends today.

If you are looking for foodservice growth opportunities, consider the rising role of convenience, takeout, and delivery in your menu offerings and service models. These all align with the off-premises dining trend, which continues to gather momentum, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) State of the Restaurant Industry 2023 report.

New lifestyle factors that took hold during the pandemic have had lasting effects on consumer choices. For example, 66% of consumers are more likely to order food for takeout today, says the NRA. More than half (55%) of consumers consider takeout and delivery essential to their foodservice choices.

The foodservice industry plays an important role in American life, as evidenced by the finding that 64% of consumers consider restaurants essential to their lifestyle, per the NRA. And off-premise sales account for 75% of restaurant traffic (IFT).

“The growth of off-premises sales has touched every segment of the industry, from quick service to fine dining,” reports SmartBrief.

5 tips for foodservice menu success

Foodservice experts point to insights that can help foodservice operators build successful menus for convenience and takeout sales:

1 – Think value. In this time of inflation, many foodservice guests are looking for value in the menu, explains FoodService Director magazine. They add that “40% of takeout customers are looking for less expensive options along with promotions and discounts,” according to research from Deloitte. Yet  almost two-thirds of consumers will not accept a tradeoff in food quality. 

“There is more demand for premium value…where products aren’t at the absolute lowest price but still can be very appealing to consumers as long as the experience and the convenience is there,” commented McDonald’s CFO Ian F. Borden, speaking Food Business News.

2 – Think breakfast. Breakfast is the fastest-growing daypart, according to Food Business News, as more consumers eat breakfast away from home. This is helping quick-serve restaurant—and can be a prescriptive model for other foodservice segments as well. Grab’n’go and convenience retail sales through C-stores, on-site cafeterias, snack shops, and coffee shops are powerful models for taking advantage of what Food Business News calls the “breakfast breakthrough”. 

3 – Think all-day snacks. Today, 86% of consumers snack, according to the Mondelez State of Snacking report (2022), averaging 3.3 snacks per day. Explains the course, Inside Consumer Demand, “Snacking does not just mean eating between meals. Instead, snacking is replacing meals for many consumers.” Mondelez found that “64% of consumers say they prefer to eat many small meals throughout the day, as opposed to a few large ones.” Mondelez research shows that 60% of consumers are eating a snack instead of a meal at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Snack-friendly foodservice fare added to almost any venue can help foodservice operations capture this commanding chunk of the market.

4 – Think convenience. “Convenience matters more than ever,” says FoodService Director magazine. As lifestyles have loosened up and dayparts have blurred, the NRA observes in its 2023 Culinary Forecast that “the sheer convenience of accessing any kind of meal or snack 24/7 through delivery, curbside pickup, counter pickup and drive-thru has had an impact on foodservice.” 

Technologies can play a role. In the convenience store arena, more than half of operators offer some form of contactless payment, notes Convenience Store News. Technologies that drive convenience, such as automated service stations, smart fridges, AI-powered vending machines, and unmanned c-stores are taking center stage in college and university dining this Fall as well, notes Food Management.

5 – Think menu innovation. More than half (55%) of adults “choose foodservice for more exciting fare and dishes that are difficult to make at home,” reports IFT, commenting on research from Datassential. Global cuisines motivate a majority (75%) of consumers to patronize a restaurant, they add. 

Seafood products 

To leverage the takeout and convenience trend, consider shelf-stable, single-serve products like seasoned, wild-caught salmon packets, flavorful Infusions® tuna, and To-Go Cups from Chicken of the Sea. You can entice customers with flavor through a variety of seasoning options in healthful, high-protein seafood products. 

For grab’n’go, takeout, and delivery, check out foodservice recipes for grab’n’go from Chicken of the Sea. These are recipes that hold and transport well, making them strong additions to your foodservice menu.

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