3 clever take-out concepts
Many restaurateurs have come up with creative take-out ideas to diversify their menus and revenue streams. According to a recent study, there’s still time to capitalize on the take-out trend that began back in 2020.1 Over the past 2 years, food kits found themselves on 37% of Canadian menus!2 The off-premise experience could therefore play a strategic role in setting your business apart from the competition.3
Chef Mayekar and our Consumer Market Insights team share 3 trendy and innovative concepts to add to your take-out menu.
The bento box concept owes its popularity to its practical format. All the elements of a full meal are preportioned and compartmentalized to preserve flavour and taste. This type of lunch box allows restaurateurs to offer small portions at a competitive price. It’s also an appealing format for people in a rush looking for a quick lunch option.
What goes in a bento box?
Bento boxes can contain either a cold or a hot meal, as long as everything can be eaten at the same temperature. Each compartment can carry:
- A lunch staple: any main course that can be eaten quickly and on the go, such as sandwiches, wraps, salads, pasta, and more.
- A side dish: veggies and dips like this sour cream hummus or this mascarpone labneh.
- A snack: fruits, crackers, or cheese cubes. To save on time, opt for cheese sticks or individually wrapped formats.
Cheese platters are among the most ordered side dishes.4 Trendy and Instagrammable, grazing boxes are a great way to turn these platters into take-out options that can easily be enjoyed at home or even at the park.
What goes into a grazing box?
- The essentials: 30g to 60g of cheese per person. Adding cheese tags along with a proper cheese knife will make the experience more enjoyable.
- Variety: 3 to 6 cheeses with different textures and flavour intensity among classic and specialty cheeses such as goat cheeses.
- Cold sides that are already part of your menu, such as charcuterie, dips, chutney, crackers, and bread.
- Tangy or sweet complementary flavours. This is the perfect time to add a pop of colour by using fresh fruits (figs, strawberries), dried fruits (apricot, raisins), jellies, marmalade, or olives.
- Wine or beer that pairs well with your cheese selection. According to a survey, 16% of customers are interested in ordering alcohol with their takeout.5 Get inspired by our infographic for cheese and beer paring suggestions.
- Vegetarian options. Often found on cheeseboards, nuts and marinated veggies can serve as a substitute for charcuterie.
Propose themed grazing boxes such as the “Budget-Friendly Box,” the “All Canadian Box,” or the “Viva Italia Box.” Or why not create some hype with a mystery box? These options could be offered at various price points to reach different clienteles.
A picnic basket can be served in a reusable container with a deposit or in a single-use box. If the pickup location is close to a park, the basket content may be hot or cold.
What goes in a picnic basket?
- Summer classics that are already on your menu (sandwiches, salads, wraps, skewers, dips, pizza). Simply add a dessert, and there you have it!
- Dishes that can easily be enjoyed in a park or anywhere outside. Consider adding utensils, napkins, and wet wipes.
- Elements that take little space to facilitate transportation.
- Beverages for all tastes and ages.
A bottle of wine that pairs well with the basket content.
Bottled milk. Resealable and aseptic, this innovative format allows the milk to be kept at room temperature.
- Vegetarian or vegan options also allow you to cater to the needs of a more diversified clientele.
- Themed options according to the ingredients used in your regular menu (“Family Lunch,” “Happy Hour,” “Romantic Date,” and more).
Consider offering recyclable or compostable packaging to meet the expectations of environmentally conscious customers. When it comes to off-premise dining, the food can influence a client’s experience just as much as its packaging!
In the coming years, customers will continue to look for meals that can be enjoyed anywhere, whether in a restaurant, at home, or at work.6 By creating a memorable experience both indoors and outdoors, you can spark client curiosity and encourage them to try your different options.
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1 Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurants can still cash in on growth in delivery and carry-out, 2021
2 Restaurants Canada, Foodservice Facts, 2021
3 Menumag, A Data Deep-Dive on Foodservice Delivery and Takeout in Canada, 2020
4 Technomic Ignite Menu, New Item Trends – Q2 2021, 2021
5 Menumag, A Data Deep-Dive on Foodservice Delivery and Takeout in Canada, 2020
6 Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurants can still cash in on growth in delivery and carry-out, 2021