The Take on Takeout (Infographic)

Technomic highlights need for consistency, convenience


CHICAGO -- "Convenience is key for the takeout customer," said Joe Pawlak, senior vice president at foodservice consultancy Technomic. To help foodservice executives understand the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of consumers regarding takeout, including carryout, catering and delivery, Technomic has published its "Takeout & Off-Premise Dining Consumer Trend Report."

Today's consumers order takeout on a regular basis. More than half (51%) surveyed report doing so at least once a week. When consumers think of takeout, fast food usually comes to mind; however, with the exception of fast-food concepts, prepared foods from grocery stores are used more often for takeout than any other segment.

Takeout poses special challenges for operators and catering programs, but is also an attractive way to increase unit sales, especially as the economy continues to recover. Focusing on creating products specific to takeout--not just logistic--will help grow programs.

Consumers "want consistently high-quality, well-packaged meal solutions that can be sourced in truly convenient ways," added Pawlak. "Enhanced amenities and services--from updated delivery and call-ahead services to easy-to-use mobile apps and online ordering platforms--can help provide an edge over competitors and improve takeout and catering sales."

Interesting findings include:

  • Takeout consumers expect consistency and look for takeout fare to match dine-in occasions; out of all traffic drivers measured, including freshness, temperature and portion size, consumers say it is most important for takeout and dine-in food to taste the same (68%).
  • More than half of consumers (56%) say a convenient location is one of the most important factors in deciding where to purchase takeout; 48% report that quick food preparation is an important consideration in this decision.
  • Call-ahead services are vital; 69% of limited-service takeout customers and 61% of full-service takeout consumers say they would likely use call-ahead ordering if it was offered.

Chicago-based Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.