Non-commercial foodservice operators got creative in 2020, finding new ways to safely serve customers while fighting the spread of COVID-19. Given the nature of the service model, take home meals quickly became a key menu offering for multiple reasons. Take home meals:
- Provide customers an opportunity to skip the grocery store, helping to limit interaction with others
- Are a convenient option for customers on-the-go
- Create new ways to utilize inventory and reduce food waste
- Are an additional source of revenue
- Give operators a way to safely continue serving customers while following physical distancing guidelines
Pre-made, heat-and-eat-style meals continue to trend across the foodservice industry as customers crave safe, convenient alternatives to dining out. Here, we share some tips for foodservice operators managing these new offerings through online ordering and take-out.
Show Customers, It’s Safe to Order Take Home Meals from You
Create a short explainer video showing the safety procedures you’ve implemented to fight the spread of COVID-19. How do your customers place online orders? What precautions are your staff taking while prepping the food, packaging orders, and delivering to customers? Build confidence in your operation. This helps to drive sales and promote a safe environment for your customers, even if they’re dining at home. Put the video on your operation’s website and share it across your social media accounts to increase awareness.
Promote Limited Time Offers to Fuel Urgency to Buy
Give your customers an unexpected reason to get excited about your menu with limited time offers (LTOs). LTOs are only available for a clearly defined period or until inventory is gone. Drive business and bring in new customers with promotions on take home meals, like “Buy One, Get One” offers, or 10% off for a limited time. LTOs also provide a simple way to test potential menu items. If a limited time menu item is successful, consider adding it to your permanent, everyday menu.
Offer Family-Style Meals
It’s back to school season and many communities are implementing hybrid learning models. This means students experience a combination of traditional classroom learning and at-home remote learning. Since some households will be serving more meals at home, non-commercial foodservice operators are supporting these customers with take home meal options.
Including family-size breakfast, lunch, and dinner items on your menu gives customers a convenient way to feed their whole family. Some operations are also adding ready-to-assemble meals to the menu. These menu options are great for parents who still want to experience the joy of cooking at home while skipping the trip to the grocery store.
Promote Take Away Meals on Social Media
Regularly post to your operation’s social media accounts to drive brand awareness and let customers know you’re open for business. Share current promotions and mouth-watering pictures of your menu offerings to entice hungry followers. Don’t forget, always include the link to your online ordering site in your posts!
Need some guidance on using social media to promote your business? Check out our blog 11 Best Practices to Promote Your Take-Out Services Using Social Media.
Provide a Good Balance of Comfort Food and Healthy Options
Comfort food makes you feel good, and 2020 has certainly left us searching for ways to feel good. Therefore, it’s no surprise that 2020 has also introduced us to the term “Quarantine 15”. As operators revamp menus and add take home meals to their offerings, it’s important to have a good balance of both comfort food and healthier options.
Online ordering provides operators an effective outlet to generate revenue while keeping customers safe. Let us help you find the right online ordering solution to fit your operation’s needs.