Takeout food can be an additional revenue stream for restaurants and can boost the bottom line.

According to a recent survey by Technomic, 57 percent of consumers say they purchase takeout at least once a week.

And fears about takeout food cannibalizing dine-in sales can be quashed: 60 percent of consumers who had recently purchased takeout said that if they had not done so on that occasion, they would most likely have made food at home.

“In many cases consumers do not view takeout orders as a part of the same consideration set as food purchased to be eaten in the dining room or onsite,” says Technomic vice president Joe Pawlak.

“Operators have a real opportunity to gain an advantage if they can respond to consumers’ needs for convenience, accuracy and food quality.”

One new restaurant is having great success with its takeout offerings, by providing an additional option: Pyrex containers.

Any meals from Andiamo in Charlestown, Massachusetts, can be delivered in Pyrex—at an extra cost—so a home “cook” can impress with the dishes he or she serves.

“We’ve had a lot of success,” says Chris Damian, chef/co-owner of Boston’s Legendary Restaurant Group, which operates the restaurant. “You don’t realize how many people want to take credit for something and want it to be their own. We find a lot of people do it, especially men.”

Takeout meals from Andiamo are typically served in the usual foil pans. Every dish served in Pyrex costs the customer an additional $14.95 (the wholesale price), although he or she keeps the dish.

The Pyrex meals are mostly requested for games but are also popular for other events such as family entertaining, christenings, office parties, and holiday celebrations.

“We did a lot of accoutrements over Thanksgiving—mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and carrots—but not so much the center of the plate protein,” Damian says.

There are no downsides to offering the Pyrex dishes, he points out, except finding the space to stock them and ensuring there are no breakages.

But the pluses help business: “People talk about it and it is press worthy. It makes people remember us more. If people don’t use the Pyrex, they talk about it.”

Other findings from Technomic’s survey:

  • About 60 percent of consumers also say that they are willing to pay more for takeout packaging made with sustainable materials. Trends toward sustainable, recyclable materials for takeout containers are taking shape at several major restaurant brands on the chain level.

  • About half of consumers surveyed agree that their takeout occasion could be “ruined” by any of several mishaps: leaking food or liquids (52 percent), deterioration of food taste or freshness (49 percent), food that doesn’t stay hot or cold (46 percent) or missing condiments (46 percent).

  • Family dining options are the leading takeout options for full-service restaurants.

By Amanda Baltazar

Industry News