The Way We Enjoy Restaurants Has Changed
In April 2019, an online survey revealed that 60% of consumers preferred food delivery, take-out, and drive-thru over dining at a restaurant. The arrival of COVID-19, which has sequestered so much of society indoors, has likely pushed this percentage even higher.
With so many homebound, let’s look at how we can craft better dining in at home experiences.
Dining In at Home Means Food Safety First
The CDC considers the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 from food to be very low. They have recommendations for lowering the risk of exposing employees and customers to illness.
If you have food delivered or bring it home yourself, make sure you refrigerate it if you don’t plan to eat it right away. Commercial grade food packaging helps food maintain its temperature and is available with tamper-proof openings to give customers extra peace of mind.
Help for Restaurants with Heat and Eat Meals and Ready-to-Go Meal Delivery
Even with the increase in takeout and delivery orders, restaurants have still been hit hard economically. Wait staff now receive fewer tips, which formerly made up a large percentage of their income. And with fewer people dining in, there’s less opportunity to upsell on drinks from the bar or dessert.
Nevertheless, restaurants are fighting to remain viable by devising new income streams. By keeping customers and community front-of-mind, many still have their doors open.
For example, some restaurants have switched to providing heat and eat meals for the entire family, available as takeout or with ready-to-go meal delivery. Just make sure you have the right kinds of food packaging on hand to optimize the customer’s at-home heating steps.
Along the same lines, other eateries have deconstructed their dishes and offer them as meal kits that customers can prepare at home and others are selling their bulk food items to the public at wholesale prices.
If you go the route of heat-and-eat or meal kits, you might have to scale down your menu based on suppliers and what food travels well. When it comes to traveling, it’s better to focus on offering comfort food over dishes that rely on precise and attractive plating. The handling during takeout and delivery can shake food up quite a bit.
Other tips for restauranteurs:
Have employees triple-check customer orders before they leave the building to prevent a wrong order from going out.
More delivery and takeout means more food packaging goes in the trash. To reduce the effects on the environment:
- Check with delivery takeout customers before providing plastic cutlery.
- Look into using recyclable or compostable food packaging.
Encourage customers to order directly from you as opposed to using a third-party delivery service.
5 Tips for a Better Dining In at Home Experience
1. Order Smart
To help restaurants stay afloat in these difficult times, order directly from the restaurant. Third-party food delivery services take a large chunk of commission out of the order amount… anywhere from 15% to 30%!
2. Specify No-contact Delivery
Keep restaurant employees and families safe by specifying no-contact food delivery. This means that the delivery person will leave food by the front door, or somewhere else if specified. They’ll call or text you to make sure you know the food is on its way and once it has arrived!
3. Make It Fun for Kids
To help relieve kids from the boredom of staying at home so much, try different ways to dine. Kids might like an at-home outdoor dining experience by, for example, eating on lawn chairs or in pop-up tents.
4. Minimize Food Packaging
Instead of ordering multiple single meals, ask your restaurant if they prepare and sell family meals. You can also specify that they do not put straws, napkins, or plastic utensils in the order.
5. Ensure the Food is HOT
To be certain your meal is perfectly hot, consider trying these options that many restaurants are offering:
- Meal kits – You receive all the ingredients cut up and measured, but you cook the meal.
- Ready-to-go meal delivery – You receive an assembled meal that you heat up.
Proper to-go food packaging will ensure meal kits stay fresh and prepared food stays hot.
Learn What Food Packaging Options Are Available
To discover what #ReadyFresh and LK’s Fast Take packaging food containers and cooking bags would work for you: