The state of dining has transformed over the last year and a half and continues to rapidly evolve. According to NPD Group data, takeout and delivery orders have increased dramatically, with takeout jumping from 18 percent to 60 percent within the FSR segment from 2019 to 2020. In the U.S., the pandemic only accelerated the growing trend toward takeout and delivery.1
As most states continue to loosen capacity restrictions for restaurants, both restaurateurs and diners alike are adjusting to the evolving guidelines. Customer comfort levels with on-premise dining varies and proper hygiene continues to be at the forefront of diners’ minds. Many restaurants are optimistic, as they resume on-premise dining, but at the same time, they are eager to maintain off-premise dining momentum.
As restaurants continue to enter this period of recovery, they will have to tackle a new slate of challenges. Tork research uncovered that as we emerge from COVID-19, 60 percent of restaurant patrons will have higher expectations of restaurants’ hygiene standards.2 What’s more, even when ordering takeout or delivery, there is an increased hygiene expectation for restaurants. For example, when ordering takeout, 60 percent of consumers would feel comfortable if offered disinfectant wipers or sanitizer for them to use themselves.3
As restaurants rebuild their businesses, and more people begin to return to work, the restaurants that are well informed on best practices and the latest consumer insights will be best positioned for success. That is why Tork commissioned new research as part of its annual Take Back the Lunch Break Campaign. The campaign began in 2018 to raise awareness about the positive effects of taking a lunch break on workers’ wellbeing. This year, as many restaurants rebuild their business following the pandemic’s devastating effects on the industry, Tork is continuing this important initiative by encouraging people to “Take a Break with Takeout,” which benefits both employees and restaurants. The campaign’s research uncovered that 37 percent of people order takeout or delivery to support local restaurants.4
To capitalize on peoples’ desire to support local restaurants during this time, here are a few key tips for how restaurants can boost their lunchtime business and optimize their success through takeout and delivery:
- Secure kitchen and employee hygiene, by making sure your staff know how and when to wash their hands and limiting opportunities for cross-contamination.
- Secure the takeaway bag, by ensuring all bags are equipped with napkins, wipes and other appropriate hygiene products.
- Secure the collection area, by communicating health and safety efforts to guests with messaging and signage at the pickup/curbside line and/or notes inside takeout bags.
- Secure the delivery, by ensuring delivery personnel have a good hygiene routine on the go.
In addition, to seize the opportunity and continue to promote off-premise dining, restaurants should leverage mobile-app ordering and contactless pickups to create an easy-to-order experience for customers. Research shows 20 percent of workers would be more likely to order takeout or delivery if curbside pickup were an option and 11 percent of workers would be more likely to order takeout or delivery if they could order food off a third-party app.5
With customers’ increased expectations of the hygiene standard in restaurants, and a desire for greater convenience when ordering takeout, it is critical for restaurants to guarantee a hygienic off-premise experience and clearly communicate their efforts to guests. By doing so, restaurant managers put hygiene front and center at every step of the food journey and can ensure a more efficient workflow and safer food handling. Having the right tools and products in place can help create a hygienic experience for guests and staff and guarantee safer dining. Takeout and delivery have been essential, and data suggests that off-premise dining is here to stay.
In support of restaurants during this time of great change, Tork has a dedicated resource hub with industry knowledge and tips to help restaurant managers secure safer off-premise dining – from the kitchen to the handover. To learn more and access these free resources, visit https://www.torkusa.com/off-premise.
1-NPD Group/CREST®, October 2020
2-Essity Essentials Initiative Survey 2020-2021
3-Datassential, fielded from research May 2020 with 1000 respondents in the U.S
4-2021 third-party custom survey of consumer working habits, as well as takeout and delivery ordering behaviors. Data gathered from 1,000 respondents in the U.S. and 600 respondents in Canada.
5–2021 third-party custom survey of consumer working habits, as well as takeout and delivery ordering behaviors. Data gathered from 1,000 respondents in the U.S. and 600 respondents in Canada.