If you’re a restauranteur, chances are you’ve noticed the growing market of online sales in recent years. With companies like GrubHub and Waitr seeing enormous growth since their founding, it has become apparent that customers are increasingly taking their business out of the store and bringing it straight to their homes.
There are a few reasons for this relatively recent phenomenon. For one, restaurants are seeing a rise in take-out business as customers are more willing to relax at home while enjoying their meal. It’s also important to note that both take-out and delivery increase a restaurant’s commerce without significantly raising costs in overhead to do business.
A major method of what is now referred to as “off-premise sales” is a rise of food trucks in recent years. For example, Mellow Mushroom takes its delicious dough on the road with its “Baked Bus,” a state-of-the-art food truck. This allows the company to take its food directly to its customers without having to pull them into a store.
Food isn’t the only thing restaurants are pushing off-premise. BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. is taking it up a notch with the launch of a pilot alcohol delivery program in partnership with DoorDash.
So, are off-premise sales a good fit for your business? Before you implement an off-premise sales plan, you need to know if the time is right for your business to take on the task. Consider the questions below, and if you answer “yes” to multiple, then you should consider trying off-premise sales.
- Have your sales declined or stagnated?
- Are you finding that fewer customers walk through your doors?
- When they do walk through your doors, do they order less?
- Have you noticed your competitors adopting new strategies?
- Are your competitors taking away business from you?
- Could it be a competitive advantage?
- Do you have the staff and resources to pull it off efficiently?
Now that you’ve answered these questions, what next? Use the tactics below to help you implement your off-premise sales strategy.
- Decide whether you want to utilize a digital ordering partner or do in-house delivery. Keep in mind that digital partners will charge a commission per ticket, but they also give you access to a network of foodies who use their apps.
- Consider where customers will pick up the order—take-out station, curb-side pickup or delivery straight to their homes.
- Decide if you will offer a full menu or select menu. We recommend making menu items quick to prepare and able to preserve their taste in case the diner chooses to eat later after receiving the order.
- Packaging is key! Package your items in containers that will preserve the heat of the food.
- Use targeted digital advertising, specifically for mobile devices. Lunch time is typically the best for targeted mobile ads, depending on your business.
- Get your off-premise sales going today to stay ahead of the competition, while also giving your customers comfort and a choice in how they enjoy your products.
Morgan Wampold, Account Leader