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4 ways chains are taking off-premise to the next level

Delivery and takeout continue to spell big business for restaurants: According to Technomic’s 2018 Takeout & Off-Premise Consumer Trend Report, a third (33%) of consumers order takeout or delivery from a restaurant at least once a month, 28% order three to four times a month, and 40% order carryout or delivery five or more times per month.

Many chain restaurants have been in the off-premise game for a while now, though, so simply offering pickup or delivery can feel a little stale. That’s why some operators are focusing on new areas of off-premise dining to entice diners and boost revenue. Check out these examples.

Added technology

According to Technomic’s 2018 Takeout & Off-Premise report, ordering food via tech-enabled devices such as smart home speakers or ordering through social media or text messaging are appealing methods to consumers. Other tech that consumers say they’d be interested in is having their food delivered via drone or self-driving robot and ordering via a smart TV or a chatbot.

With new and unique ways to order that are fully integrated into consumers’ daily interactions with technology, restaurants are capitalizing on society becoming increasingly connected. Dominos and Pizza Hut both have Alexa skills that users can install and use to order food simply by saying, "Alexa, open Domino's" or "Alexa, open Pizza Hut." A default payment method and a restaurant account may be required, but the process is certainly speedier than picking up the phone.

Family-style dining

Busy families are just one segment of takeout and delivery customers, but they’re an important one. After all, Technomic’s Takeout & Off-Premise report finds that nearly half of consumers (43%) overall, and more than half of consumers living with kids (54%) say they think restaurants should offer more family-size meal bundles as a delivery option.

By emphasizing family-friendly deals and meals, restaurants such as Dickey’s Barbecue Pit have made it easier to feed a family without cobbling together entrées, sides and more. The chain’s “home meal replacement”—combos that feed four to 10 people—marketed as family packs now account for about 12% of business.

Lowering catering buy-in

Catering orders can be big business for restaurants, but lowering the amount that customers had to purchase for catering orders made it even easier to opt-in. For instance, Chipotle’s minimum order for catering is just six burritos, while Olive Garden’s is $75—a low number for both, considering average menu prices. By decreasing the amount catering customers must spend, restaurants make themselves a more appealing option for smaller groups or parties.

Streamlining drive-thru lanes

Mobile ordering makes for quicker pickup in store, as many Starbucks regulars know. But other chains, such as Dunkin’, are letting those who place mobile orders skip the line entirely by setting up its first-ever drive-thru lane exclusively for customers who order ahead via the DD Perks app. By ensuring off-premise diners don’t have to wait, restaurants make the entire process fast and easy—an enticing feature for busy consumers who want to get in and get out (or not go in at all!).

By revamping off-premise offerings, restaurants can keep consumers interested while still capitalizing on the need for convenience. New tech, family-sized bundles, less expensive catering and faster pickup are all great ways to keep diners coming back again and again—even if they don’t dine-in.

This post is sponsored by Butterball Foodservice

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