a business-building opportunity

Make that to go
By Linda Strachan
May 19, 2011


Takeaway – a business-building opportunity

Across the total restaurant market, more than half of all visits (57 per cent), are off premise. Granted, these drive- through, takeaway or delivery occasions are dominated by quick-service restaurants, but take-out and delivery from full-service restaurants is nothing to sneeze at, generating more than $3.5 billion in Canada annually.

While still a relatively recent innovation in the industry, offering customers the ease of ordering through the Internet for delivery or pick-up is a growing trend. In 2010, Internet ordering made up less than one per cent of all restaurant traffic, totaling nearly 35 million visits and more than $230 million in Canada. As our world continues to become more wired with expanded use of smart phones and tablets, Internet ordering will be a growing opportunity. Make your customers’ lives easier and more convenient, and they will respond.

Top menu items currently ordered through online are pizza, rotisserie chicken and side salads. Another consideration is that Internet customers spend more, with an average check per person that is substantially higher.

The customer who chooses to order takeaway from a full-service restaurant is likely to be someone who is already familiar with the restaurant. That makes marketing in the dining room to current customers a good place to start. To meet the needs of customers who are simply seeking a good meal, without the service and ambiance offered in a visit to the dining room, takeaway can build incremental visits. Ideally, the takeaway usage should be an extra visit, not one that replaces a visit to the dining room, because the takeaway expenditure is typically about $4.50 less per person, excluding tip. A takeaway meal is less likely to include the extras like beverages, and servers don’t have an opportunity to suggestive sell specials and add-ons. A solution is to offer bundled meal specials for takeaway, including main, side, dessert and beverage. Takeaway customers prefer knowing they are getting their entire meal for one set price.

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