Restaurateurs: Some Guidelines for Doing Takeout

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Taptogo bag

Many restaurateurs are new to the wonderful world of takeout and delivery. It takes some rethinking and retooling to do it right. Here are some thoughts to help you adjust:

  • Limit your menu. Don’t try to offer everything from your regular menu. You’re probably working with a streamlined kitchen crew – please help them keep a distance from each other – and supplies might be limited, so focus on the foods you can make efficiently and well. Choose the items that will travel well – keep in mind that hot food placed in closed containers is going to create steam, so breaded items or anything else that should not turn soggy should be left off the takeout menu.
  • Put prices on your takeout menu. No one is going to order without knowing the cost.

  • Try to make the experience as contactless as possible for the customer. Take the credit card information on the phone and ask if the person ordering would like to add a tip and, if so, how much. Ring up the full amount so that a credit slip won’t have to be handed to the customer, signed and then handed back to the staffer.
  • By all mean, practice responsible suggestive selling techniques. Have a special of the day? Do you have wine and cocktails to go? Desserts? Sell ‘em.
  • Be realistic with the time estimate. And give instructions on what the customers should do when they arrive at the restaurant. For example, if it’s curbside pickup, tell them to call when they arrive.
  • Assign an expediter to assure that everything ordered has been included in the package.
  • If offering curbside pickup, ask the customers if they’d like you to put the order in the trunk. Again, zero contact is the goal. The person bringing the order to the customer’s car should wear gloves. (Gloves are only a clean as the person wearing them keeps them, but it looks reassuring.)
  • Let your customers know that the food was packaged under the strictest sanitation guidelines, but remind them that they should wipe down the containers when they get home and move the food from the takeout containers to their own plates. (Customers: If possible use an outside table to wipe the containers down so as not to possibly contaminate your kitchen counter.)
  • Include a note on reheating if it is necessary.
  • Let’s not be concerned for now with what is sustainable or earth-friendly packaging. Use the best, most solid and leak-proof containers you can find. If you’re afraid items with sauces might leak from the containers wrap them in foil or plastic wrap.
  • Instead of placing condiments and side dishes in the same container as the main food item, put them in a separate bag. The illusion of the smaller container that someone else has handled touching the food might be off putting.
  • Be mindful of how the individual containers are placed into the carryout bag. Try to keep everything upright so it looks good when the customer gets it home.