According to a survey by Technomic cited in Restaurant Startup & Growth, 57% of consumers purchased takeout at least once per week.
For those in the food service industry who do it right, takeout orders can be extremely profitable and make the difference between a profitable organization and one that is losing money.
Yet, most takeout and call-in customers are treated like second rate customers.
These customers may be your best customers. They don’t take up table space, they don’t require as much attention from your staff, and they require less labor time than your typical eat-in customers.
To start, restaurants need an exceptional point-of-sale program to handle takeout and call-in customers. RPE differentiates eat-in from take-out customers, allows for delivery instructions, works with caller ID systems, and includes delivery notes such as directions.
When a customer comes in for take-out, that customer needs to be treated just like any other customer. You can’t tell your customer to go to the rear of your restaurant next to the bathrooms and give your order to one of your cooks who writes it on the back of a napkin.
Slowly repeat orders back to customers to make sure they are correct.
Use the features in your P.O.S. system to add the special modifiers you may need for take-out customers.
Pack your food to keep the proper temperature and freshness.
Be sure to include ample napkins, salt and pepper, ketchup and whatever else may be needed with the order.
Never argue with a customer who complains about an incorrect order. Use any complaints to improve and do it better the next time.
Give accurate pickup and delivery times.
If you have lots of people waiting for pickup, give them a clean comfortable area to wait in (along with a TV to help pass the time).
Encourage orders via email or text so that customers can quickly pick up and leave the premises as quickly as possible.
Display impulse items that customers may want to add while waiting or picking up orders.
Throw in something for free with each order as a special thank you.
Train your order takers to be as nice and accommodating as your eat-in wait staff.