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Consumer Trends

Warming up delivery sales with soup

Photograph: Shutterstock

Food delivery continues to be a growing opportunity for restaurant operators. Whether it’s dinner on a Friday movie night or brunch on Sunday morning to avoid getting off of the couch, getting food delivered is a great convenience to consumers. In fact, a third of consumers say that they’re ordering food to go more often now than they were two years ago, according to Technomic’s recent Takeout & Off-Premise Dining report. That trend is being led by younger consumers; 49% of consumers ages 18-34 say they are ordering food to-go more often than they were two years ago.

As for what’s caused that increase in ordering out, 37% of consumers say it’s because there are more places nearby that offer food to go, while 34% say it’s because there are more delivery options available now.

For operators who want to increase their delivery sales, optimizing off-premise menus can be a great place to start. For instance, comfort foods such as burgers, fried chicken and soup might be popular delivery items.

To get the most out of delivering soup, knowing what customers want, as well as knowing a few tips for packaging and promotion, is key.

Appealing to diners’ tastes and dietary needs

Operators should ensure that the soup options offered include classic comfort-food favorites as well as options that diners may have heard about or are interested in but haven’t had yet. According to Technomic’s 2018 Soup and Salad report, 29% of consumers say that one reason they like to order soup is because they want to try new or unique varieties offered, and 48% of millennials are interested in trying more ethnic soups.

Millennials are more likely than older generations to prefer Asian soups, since they are seen as unique yet approachable. Options such as ramen, miso soup and Vietnamese pho are ideal for pleasing these customers.

Additionally, as more consumers follow special diets, operators should offer soups that meet those needs. For instance, 43% of consumers say they would be more likely to order soup that is gluten-free, 38% would be more likely to order soup that’s vegan and 35% would be more likely to order soup that is vegetarian.

Ensuring quality during delivery

The No. 1 purchase driver for to-go orders, according to Technomic’s Takeout & Off-Premise Dining report, is that the food tastes just as good as when dining in.

For operators selling soup on delivery menus, that means packaging the soup in insulated to-go cups as well as placing the soup in insulated delivery bags to ensure that it’s still hot when it arrives. Toppings or garnishes should be packaged separately, as well, to ensure that ingredients such as croutons or crisp bacon don’t get soggy on the way.

Operators should also be sure to include the extras that diners would expect when dining in. Give consumers a packet of crackers or condiments (such parmesan cheese or hot sauce packets, depending on the type of soup) so they can customize their bowl—and don’t forget the spoon.

Promotion, promotion, promotion

Finally, offering unique soups that get delivered hot and ready to enjoy is a great start, but unless consumers know it’s available, it may not take off. Take advantage of a chilly or rainy spring day and post about soup delivery on social media or send e-mail subscribers a heads-up about new soups hitting the menu and let them that delivery is an option. Post signage in the restaurant and consider promotions on third-party platforms like Uber Eats or Postmates as well, so that consumers who are dining in know they can also order their favorite soups for takeout or delivery.

With a little planning—menu updates, to-go containers and insulated bags and promotion—restaurants can start packing up more soup for off-premise orders.

This post is sponsored by Campbell's Foodservice

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