Take Out and Delivery Marketing


People are often too busy to cook, but they may not want to eat out, either. Takeout and delivery offers the perfect alternative to working men or women who want to spend a relaxing evening at home, but do not have time to prepare their own meal.

If you own a quick-service establishment, takeout business could account for up to 70% of your customers. However, even if you own a full-service restaurant, takeout can probably add about 10% to your revenues.1 Takeout and delivery services can be especially profitable because they can increase business without significantly increasing your regular operation costs or requiring that you expand your facilities.

Marketing Takeout and Delivery

Before you begin marketing your to-go services, make sure your takeout and delivery operations are in order. You need to have special space and materials ready for your to-go business and make sure you can handle a new wave of takeout and delivery orders, in case your marketing is successful. » Learn More

Once your operations are in order, you can market your to-go services through the following means:

Takeout and delivery menus. Make sure your takeout menu only includes items that are easily transportable. Print an abundance of takeout and delivery menus and distribute them around town. Good places to put them include hotel lobbies, convention and welcome centers, the chamber of commerce and resorts or spas. You can also deliver them door-by-door in your trading area and give them to dine-in customers to take home with them. » Learn More

Packaging. Your to-go containers and bags should make it easy to store and reheat the food. Furthermore, the packaging should remind customers of your business. Consider printing delivery bags and takeout containers with your restaurant logo, slogan or a design that fits well with your restaurant’s creative platform. » Learn More

Website. About half of consumers check out restaurant websites. It is essential that you market your to-go services on your website, whether or not you offer online ordering. Many new or repeat customers may not have a takeout or delivery menu, and they will likely go to your website to look for one before ordering. » Learn More

Flyers and personal selling. One of the best ways to get takeout business is simply to distribute flyers or takeout menus throughout the neighborhood. You should also go to any nearby businesses or factories and distribute your takeout menu or post it on the bulletin board. You could even consider speaking to the HR departments of companies in your trading area to try to set up delivery for a company party. » Learn More

Phone book or newspaper. Advertising in the phone book can bring a sizable return on investment, especially if you are hoping to attract tourists. Make sure your ad mentions your takeout or delivery services, and with a full-page ad, you could even include your takeout menu. Newspaper ads offer another form of paid advertising that could inform a broad audience of your takeout and delivery options. » Learn More

Takeout Ordering and Building Your Database

Whatever methods you use to take delivery and carry-out orders, make sure you reserve all of the customer information in your marketing database, so that you can use it in your direct marketing campaign. You can also reserve customers’ past purchasing information, so you know what they like to order and can tailor your direct marketing promotions to their buying habits. » Learn More

Telephone. When taking delivery or takeout orders on the phone, be sure to reserve the customer’s contact info, including address and email, in your database for future direct marketing promotions.

Online ordering. With an electronic POS system, it is easy to build a marketing database, since all the customers’ contact information can be sent directly from the online form to the database. When customers order online, make sure to prompt them for an email if they would like to receive special offers.

Text message. Several quick-service chains, including Papa Johns and Subway, have added the option of text messaging to their ordering processes. If you take orders via text message, record customers’ cell phone numbers in your database, since customers who order through text message may respond well to a future text message marketing campaign.

Building a database is a great advantage of offering takeout and delivery services. The more methods for ordering you offer, the more information you will be able to record in your database. Any restaurant could help profits by offering takeout and delivery services, but only if they use good marketing techniques to inform customers about their to-go options. Once you start marketing your takeout and delivery, make sure you are ready for the increase in business. If there is not enough increase in to-go sales, perform a restaurant marketing assessment to help determine where the problem lies. » Learn More

1 Patti J. Shock, John T. Bowen and John M. Stefanelli. Restaurant Marketing for Owners and Managers (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2004).

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