The evolving menu items of off-premise
From third-party delivery to headless restaurants and app ordering, the off-premise market continues to evolve in creative ways. A third of consumers say they are ordering takeout more often now than they were three years ago, a number that jumps to 49% among consumers ages 18 to 34, according to Technomic’s 2016 Takeout & Off-Premise Consumer Trend Report. To keep up with growing demand, many operators are offering menu items outside of the typical takeout and delivery box. Here are four such examples.
1. Smoothies and bowls
Nekter is menuing catered versions of its fresh, made-to-order juices and smoothies, selling them in larger pouches for six to eight people to share. For customers who wish to create acai and pitaya bowls, toppings such as fruit and granola are packaged separately, allowing diners to personalize their bowls while also keeping items fresh and staving off sogginess.
2. Single-serving ice cream
Delivery of ice cream pints isn’t uncommon, but figuring out how to deliver single-serving scoops and sundaes can pose a melty obstacle. See Bumpy’s Polar Freeze in Schenectady, N.Y.: The walk-up restaurant recently started using mini freezers to deliver customers cool treats, including ice cream and frozen yogurt, as well as Bumpy’s “flurries” with candy mix-ins.
After being prepped overnight, the portable freezers can maintain an internal temperature of -8 degrees while in the back of a delivery vehicle, keeping temperatures lower than the actual freezers on-site, Bumpy’s told the Daily Gazette. The concept offers delivery within a 3-mile radius, reducing the likelihood of a meltdown. To ease treat transportation, any cones ordered are served in a dish with the cone on the side.
3. Mezze bar
After customers requested an option for off-premise, Clover Food Lab in Boston developed a more portable way to offer its popular mezze items earlier this year. Clover’s off-premise mezze package comes with a variety of appetizers, including hummus, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and sauces, packed alongside menu cards and instructions for guests to set up their very own mezze bar at their home or office. The bar serves 10 people for a fee of $150.
4. Foie gras and caviar
Items typically associated with full-service fine dining—and assembled with all of the fixings—are being delivered to San Francisco diners’ doors, courtesy of new headless restaurant Young Fava. The concept focuses on a rotating menu of “new American classics,” which currently includes full caviar service and a foie gras torchon box on demand.
Customers can choose different types of caviar (with different price points); each option is equipped with crepes, tamago, kettle chips, creme fraiche, chives and dill. Similar, the foie gras torchons come packaged with fresh grilled bread, slow-roasted strawberries, arugula and three different salts.