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Family meal bundles offer busy consumers convenience

As operators continue to optimize menus for off-premise, family meals have provided new opportunity.
Photograph courtesy of Smithfield

The pandemic has changed the way restaurants operate—to say the least. And it’s also changed consumers’ relationships with restaurants. With many concerned consumers opting to dine at home even in areas where dining rooms have reopened, restaurants have pivoted to cater to diners’ unique needs.  

Off-premise dining, including delivery, carryout and curbside pickup, have proliferated during the pandemic, and with economies reopening, consumers are likely to be busier than ever. For restaurants, offering convenient options for feeding the whole family is still a big opportunity.

Off-premise is here to stay

According to Technomic’s 2020 Delivery and Takeout Consumer Trend Report, 66% of consumers say they anticipate continued use of curbside pickup even after dine-in services resume. What’s more, according to Technomic’s May 1, 2020 edition of Coronavirus: The Foodservice View, only about one-third (32%) of consumers said they would feel comfortable going out to eat immediately after social distancing restrictions were lifted.

In other words, even after consumers can come in with the whole family, many will still be choosing to stay at home—and operators stand to benefit from this shift in behavior.

Family bundles make mealtime easy

Menuing robust off-premise offerings is key to keeping up with consumers’ needs. Getting dinner—or breakfast or lunch—on the table is easier than ever with family meal bundles. Meal bundles, featuring an entree, sides and dessert, make ordering for all family members easy for consumers and can take care of the cooking in one fell swoop. For restaurants, adjusting the menu to offer these bundles is simple. At breakfast, offer sausage, egg and cheese breakfast tacos or a la carte helpings of eggs, bacon and toast in family-sized portions.

For lunch, consider offering quality deli meats as part of a build-your-own sandwich bundle, paired with fresh bread, artisan cheeses and other toppings, such as fresh lettuce, sliced tomatoes, deli mustard and more. And at dinner, homestyle entrees such as ham on the bone, smoked sausage or pork tenderloin with familiar, favorite sides including mashed potatoes, baked beans, macaroni and cheese and more are sure bets. This way, individual diners can take what they want to eat and customize their meal.

Feeding a group doesn’t have to be stressful. By offering meal bundles, restaurants can ensure busy customers have a convenient option to pick up on the way home from work—and staffers only have to prepare one big meal per order, saving on labor and speeding up the turnover time for off-premise orders.

To find out more about Smithfield pork products and how they help restaurants offer carryout-friendly family meals, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com.

This post is sponsored by Smithfield Culinary