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5 Factors Fueling the Takeoff of Delivery & Takeout

Fasten your menus! More and more restaurants are jumpstarting business with help from takeout and delivery services. From a trickle of dine-in foot traffic to the fast lane of to-go orders, sales are picking up speed thanks to this turbo-charged trend.

1. Accelerating Demand

A decline in foot traffic for 6 quarters in a row has compelled restaurants to find a way to turn the corner on customer acquisition and retention. Takeout and delivery have proven to be a reliable road to increased sales, exponentially expanding the reach of restaurants and allowing them to accommodate even more customers than their dining rooms can accommodate.

Drawn to its easy accessibility and convenient meal solutions, millennials in particular are driving the delivery and takeout trend to new heights. On the mark for their on-the-go lifestyles, delivery and takeout meet the millennial need for speed, as technology streamlines the order and payment process and removes the roadblock of human interaction.

Running the Numbers- infogrpahic

2. Great Expectations:
What Consumers Crave from Takeout

Restaurants that want to feed the bottom line should keep certain consumer expectations top-of-mind when it comes to to-go orders, regardless of whether those orders are being picked up or delivered. Here are a few “musts” for restaurant and foodservice operators to help ensure their delivery and takeout programs measure up to consumer expectations:

  • Food must taste as good to-go as it would if customers dined in
  • All items must be prepared to travel, with packaging designed to maintain the right temperature
  • Orders must be delivered within an extra 15-minute window compared to takeout

To ensure takeout and delivery fare matches the standards set for the dine-in experience, restaurants should re-evaluate and adapt their to-go menus accordingly, or custom-create a menu designed for to-go customers. Partnering with a reputable delivery service is also key to meeting consumer expectations. Take a 360-degree view of the service’s process, from order placement to delivery, and make sure its staff members are well-trained and their payment systems secure.5

Mixed bag- takeout tidbits - inforgraphic


LSRs and FSRs are also capitalizing on the to-go craze, making it easy to place an order online or in-restaurant and designating a special section of the restaurant for to-go orders. In many cases, consumers can place an order online, pay through the app/kiosk and pick up food without interacting with anyone from the restaurant.

A large, varied menu that features entrées, appetizers, desserts and beverages, along with signature dishes not to be found elsewhere, can help keep customers satisfied and differentiate your operation from other to-go options.

LSR AND FSR RANKINGS - infographic

4. Setting a New Course:
More than Entrées to-Go

Opportunity Knocks with Young Consumers

Most to-go orders only include an entrée, but younger consumers are more likely to order appetizers or desserts for both carryout and delivery.1 Since 26% of consumers aged 25–34 are likely to purchase more food to-go than for dine-in1, there is ample opportunity to create unique takeout menus that feature desserts, appetizers and beverages that are only available for to-go purchases.

Bottom’s Up for the Bottom Line

Many retailers are also looking for ways to offer adult beverages to-go without violating open container laws. TGI Friday’s is currently testing “Everything But the Booze” mixed-drink bags which customers add alcohol to at home.1

top 16 desserts ordered for delivery - infographic

5. Meal Kit Boom:
Thinking Inside the Box

Sometimes breakthrough foodservice innovations come from inside-the-box thinking, as the meal kit trend illustrates.

Consumers are looking for alternatives to dining out, and many have turned to meal kits for at-home meals minus the hassle of having to go to the grocery store or search the shelves for ingredients. Available via delivery subscriptions or at your grocery store, meal kits offer pre-portioned ingredients and step-by-step instructions for creating a delicious and healthy dinner at home.

Erik Thoresen, principal of the market research firm Technomic, projects the fresh food subscription market in the U.S. alone will grow to a multi-billion dollar market over the next five years.8 Consumers are increasingly selective about what they eat and where it comes from, as demand for better-for-you fare grows. 81% of Nielsen survey participants feel that meal kits offer healthier options compared to prepared food at the grocery store.9

Big Brands, Big Business

Amazon recently entered the space by registering “We do the prep. You be the chef” with the U.S. trademark office. The e-commerce juggernaut is currently testing meal kits to order and purchase in the Seattle area.

Coca-Cola partnered with Chef’d, offering customers meal kits that include complementary branded beverages. John Carroll, VP E-commerce, Coca-Cola North America, said: “We want to go where our consumers are going and beverages are an integral part of the meal occasion.”10

Ulitimate guide to the best meal kit delivery services: infographic

Before you go

Now is the time to take advantage of the to-go trend and offer consumers a more convenient way to enjoy the food they love. A few tips to get restaurant operators going in the right direction:

before you go - infographic

1 Technomic, The Takeout & Off-Premise Dining Consumer Trend Report, 2016
2 Bomkamp, Samantha, “Analyst: Restaurants of the future will stress deliverability, sustainability, experiences,” Chicago Tribune, May 23, 2017, http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-restaurant-industry-future-0524-biz-20170523-story.html
3 Maze, Jonathan, “Casual dining finds a ray of light: takeout,” Nation’s Restaurant News, May 3, 2017, http://www.nrn.com/casual-dining/casual-dining-finds-ray-light-takeout
4 Ruggless, Ron, “Pizza Hut overhauling delivery, hiring thousands of new drivers,” Nation’s Restaurant News, July 18, 2017, http://www.nrn.com/operations/pizza-hut-overhauling-delivery-hiring-thousands-new-drivers
5 Kim, Torrey, How restaurants can launch effective delivery services, SmartBrief, July 19, 2017, www.smartbrief.com/original/2017/07/how-restaurants-can-launch-effective-delivery-services
6 Talty, Alexandra, “New Study Finds Millennials Spend 44% Of Their Food Dollars On Eating Out,” Forbes, Oct. 17, 2016 https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2016/10/17/millennials-spend-44-percent-of-food-dollars-on-eating-out-says-food-institute/#33bccf9a3ff6
7 Fantozzi, Joanna, This Is the Number One Dessert People Order for Delivery, According to GrubHub, The Daily Meal, Mar. 21, 2016, https://www.thedailymeal.com/news/eat/number-one-dessert-people-order-delivery-according-grubhub/032116
8 Technomic, Technomic study reveals global opportunities within meal kit market, Jan. 6, 2016, https://www.technomic.com/technomic-study-reveals-global-opportunities-within-meal-kit-market
9 Nielsen, Understanding the Meal Kit Landscape and Consumer Preferences, Mar. 2017, http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2017/understanding-the-meal-kit-landscape-and-consumer-preferences.html
10 Arthur, Rachel, Coca-Cola enters meal kit market with Chef’d partnership: ‘Beverages are an integral part of the meal occasion,’ Beverage Daily, http://www.beveragedaily.com/Manufacturers/Coca-Cola-Chef-d-meal-kits-and-food-pairing
11 Bell, Katie Kelly, “The Ultimate Guide To The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services,” Forbes, Mar. 21, 2016,

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