While the pandemic played a role in the meteoric rise of off-premise dining, it’s clear it’s one trend that’s here to stay. From mobile ordering and delivery, to grab ’n go, and curbside pickup, dining off-site has become an essential part of the restaurant industry. But what does the future hold?
Here are 5 emerging trends in off-premise dining worth considering:.
1: Create a digital dining experience.
As customers continue to seek convenience and efficiency, digital ordering has become the new norm in off-site dining, so it’s important for business owners to keep up and provide a smooth experience. In a recent survey, 66% of consumers said they’re more likely to order takeout now than ever before, and 55% said the same for delivery. By providing your customers with digital ordering options, you can bump up productivity while giving customers what they want.
[Source: Opentable-Make digital ordering work for your restaurant in 2023. Blogpost. 2023]
2. Count on contactless orders.
Another practice that’s not going anywhere: contactless ordering and payment options. Not only do they make everything more convenient and safer for both you and your customers, going contactless has a bunch of other great benefits for business owners. For one, contactless orders can really ramp up your efficiency by freeing up your staff to focus on making and preparing the orders rather than taking and managing payments (saving you on labour costs). Plus, no-contact orders allow you to gather some valuable customer data and insights that can help you improve your offerings and marketing strategies.
3. Grab attention with grab ’n go.
Another trend that’s been gaining steam is grab ‘n go options, due to the growing importance of convenience and speed in the minds of consumers, who are often busy, on-the-go, and don’t have time to sit down for a full meal. Grab ‘n go options allow consumers to quickly and easily pick up pre-prepared meals, snacks, or other items they can enjoy while they’re out and about, without having to wait in long lines. They can also be a great way to bring in more revenue during off-peak hours, while appealing to a wider range of customers.
4. Make your packaging pop.
Off-premise dining gives business owners the chance to get creative with their packaging and branding. Making it eye-catching can help you stand out in a crowded market, while also generating buzz for your business. Plus, as the world becomes more aware of the impact of single-use plastics and other waste, diners are seeking out restaurants that prioritize sustainability. If you add an extra layer of eco-friendliness to your packaging, you’ll appeal to sustainability-minded diners as well.
5: Stay ahead of the curb.
One last trend that’s really taking off right now is curbside pickup programs, drive-thru options, and good old-fashioned carry-out. These solutions offer customers a convenient and contactless way to enjoy their favourite meals without having to dine in. And let’s not forget about speed. With drive-thru and carry-out traffic levels up 12% and 17%, these options also provide a faster and safer way for customers to pick up their orders. With safety being a top priority these days, many businesses are investing in technology to make these options more seamless, even offering curbside pickup zones – where customers can park their cars and have their orders brought to them without having to leave their vehicle.
And that’s not all. Off-premise dining has plenty of pros:
- Lower operational expenses: By adopting an off-premise business model, you can minimize or get rid of expenses related to front-of-house labour. For example, food and labour typically account for around 65% of operational costs in most on-premises restaurants.
- Higher profits: 68% of restaurant operators see higher-than-average bill sizes for their off-premise orders.
- Expanded customer reach: Delivery services and a strong online presence can help you attract customers beyond your local area.
[Source: Webstaurantstore – Off premise dining. Blogpost]
[Source: Foodservice and hospitality – The 2023 Hospitality Market Report highlights macro trends in Canada’s foodservice landscape. Blogpost. January 2023]
Remember, being adaptable and creative is key to standing out in the industry. By staying on top of the latest trends and offering these options, you can give your customers what they want and keep them coming back for more.