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Restaurant Takeout Options Do Not Threaten Dining Room Traffic, Say Consumers

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 12/8/2011

In a recent survey that should be of interest to restaurant owners and franchisors, the majority of consumers indicate that takeout dining options are not a substitute for dine-in restaurant experiences.

For years, restaurateurs have secretly worried that takeout options pose a major threat to dining room traffic, jeopardizing their ability to earn revenue from the creation of exceptional in-house dining experiences. But according to a recent consumer survey conducted by Technomic, that simply isn't the case.

Restaurant Franchise Data and Trends

Although takeout dining is more popular than ever (of the diners surveyed, 57% purchase takeout at least once a week), 60% of consumers who recently purchased takeout indicated that if they hadn't chosen takeout, they would have made food at home rather than opt for a sit-down restaurant experience.

"In many cases consumers do not view takeout orders as a part of the same consideration set as food purchased to be eaten in the dining room or onsite," says Technomic Vice President Joe Pawlak. "Operators have a real opportunity to gain an advantage if they can respond to consumers' needs for convenience, accuracy and food quality."

The survey also revealed several other findings that are particularly noteworthy for owners/operators of franchise restaurants:

  • Approximately two-thirds (60%) of respondents are willing to pay more for packaging made with sustainable materials. This is good news for major chain restaurants, many of which are moving toward takeout containers manufactured with recyclable materials.
  • 1 in 2 consumers indicate that several types of takeout snafus have the ability to "ruin" their experience: Leaking food/liquids (52%), stale or deteriorated taste (49%), improper food temperature (46%), and missing condiments (46%).
  • In limited-service and fast food operations, individual alternatives like boxed meals, value meals and snacks lead the field as the most popular takeout options. Full-service restaurants, on the other hand, tend to promote family-based dining options.

 

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