10 Tips to Win the Restaurant Off-Premises Game in 2021

Once upon a time, restaurant visits were associated with special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. But today? Online ordering has made foodservice an everyday thing. People go to drive-thrus to pick up their favorite cup of coffee on their way to work and come back home exhausted to order a filling dinner from their favorite food chain.

As takeout options, curbside pickups, and food delivery thrive in the present-day scenario, restaurants have begun to zero in on effective strategies focused on improving off-premises dining. 

In this article, we have 10 tips for you to take your off-premises game to the next level. 

Effective Packaging that Stands Out

While food delivery and take out may make life more convenient, there is nothing worse than your order getting cold and soggy by the time you sit down to eat. To keep your customers happy, pick packaging materials that are sturdy and keep food warm. You might have to use different materials for different dishes, but the goal is to ensure that no food texture gets spoilt. Additionally, customize your packaging with your brand logo in a way that instantly catches the eye. You could also opt for environment-friendly containers and cutlery to remind your customers that you care about sustainability. Get more tips on effective packaging here. 

Offer Combos

When an entire family or a large group of friends is ordering a meal, things are bound to get a little messy. People want different quantities of overlapping food items and all kinds of drinks. Sometimes, this can be super expensive and make people reconsider ordering at all. 

To appeal to large audiences like this, consider offering combos that are more economical. Try including a variety of food that is easy to share, as well as combos of different sizes. This is more appealing to such target audiences. Another huge advantage is that it reduces decision fatigue for customers who have already curated combos they can pick from. 

Create Incentives

Discounts and promo codes draw the attention of any customer easily. A great way of encouraging customers to place more orders online or place orders via your native website or app is to offer exclusive and enticing deals. Do a thorough analysis of what competitors are offering and come up with deals that have the potential to attract customers from varied demographics. 

Tip: You could also offer deals specifically to customers using your app or website for the first time. 

Stay on top of Data 

Using the data you’ve collected with every order, evaluate consumer trends carefully. Which dishes have been ordered the most? What do people prefer to order more from the side dishes? Does upselling help increase sales? What is the average cart value? Using these insights, you can make suitable changes to the funnel, as wide as making personalized recommendations and deals. In the long run, this helps build effective growth and marketing strategies. 

Market to Millennials

Millennials make up a huge demographic responsible for online ordering today. This generation is tech-savvy, cares about the planet, and expects maximum convenience. Whether they’re ordering a java chip at Starbucks or fries to go at McDonald’s, they have little patience to wait for their order. If your website and app don’t have a user-friendly interface, they’re quickly going to find other options. You don’t promote sustainable practices and work ethic? You can say goodbye to making a good impression on this set of youth. Such factors need to be evaluated carefully if you want to improve your off-premises game among millennials and the growing Gen Z. While creating a marketing strategy, go out of your way to find ways you can connect with millennials as they can help bring about much higher profits for your restaurant. 

DIY Kits 

One of the newer trends in the industry has been the advent of DIY meal kits. A way of connecting on a deeper level with your customers, these DIY kits allow them to make their own dishes such as pizza or pasta with the help of ingredients handed to them by you. Send along a detailed list of instructions too. This trend allows customers not only to have a scrumptious meal but also a memorable and enriching experience. 

Make it Personal

Interaction with customers over online orders has certain limits. So, to communicate with them, you can send a handwritten note along with every order. Whether it is a thank you note or a ‘punny’ joke, it will make a customer pause and smile for a moment. You could also send a customized pen, a bar of handmade chocolate, or a small freebie that you think customers might like. Such an experience is one they will remember and appreciate. Read more tips on elevating customer experience here. 

Optimize your App and Website

While ordering on the phone and call waiting might have been acceptable a decade ago, this is hardly the case today. Customers expect their online ordering experience to be quick and as simple as possible. As a matter of course, your app and website must be optimized to offer customers a seamless ordering experience that takes less than a minute. Make sure people can customize their orders easily- they need to have the option of specifying which toppings they don’t want on their burger or if they want less sugar in their iced tea. Further, ease of payment plays a huge role too. Make it a point to include every payment option possible on your online ordering platforms.  

Have a Presentable Menu

A picture says a thousand words. Aesthetics and presentation are very important factors for high converting restaurant websites. Spruce up your menu with bright, well-shot pictures of food items. Use a color palette that matches your logo. Make sure that the overall presentation of the digital menu pleases the eye. 

Customer Support

Any complaint raised by a customer needs to be addressed immediately. With the help of chatbots and a customer support team that is quick to respond, you can ensure that your customers feel heard. If you ever mess up an order and have an unhappy customer, go out of your way to make up for the negative experience. 

Food delivery and other off-premises options are skyrocketing and it is important for your restaurant to keep up with ever-increasing customer expectations.  Whether you are new to the food and beverage industry or a seasoned veteran here, these ten tips can make it easier for your restaurant to stay ahead in the game and stand out. 

Good luck!


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