How to Optimize a Restaurant Menu for Takeout and Delivery

The unprecedented growth of online ordering, takeout and delivery is not expected to simmer anytime soon. In fact, the market for online food delivery is projected to grow to be $152 billion by 2024

To appeal to the largest number of guests, restaurants need to be prepared to serve this market. Here are a few ways to do just that. 

1. Feature Items That Travel Well

For most dishes, the sooner they’re consumed after leaving the kitchen, the better the experience for guests. No one wants to get their hopes up for piping hot wings and pizza, only to open up their boxes of lukewarm food. This could mean excluding certain items from a delivery menu that don’t travel well – especially when working with third-party couriers that often deliver multiple orders each trip. However, if the restaurant offers in-house delivery to a smaller radius, preserving temperature might not be as pressing of a need. 

On the other hand, there’s some more leniency with takeout than with delivery, as guests typically take the food directly to their homes. Either way, it’s worth investing in containers that hold the dish’s intended temperature well, as well as separating colder foods from warmer foods in different containers. After all, nobody wants a grilled chicken salad with cold chicken and warm lettuce.

2. Offer Popular Takeout and Delivery Options

To tap into the delivery market, a restaurant’s menu doesn’t necessarily need popular delivery options such as sandwiches and fried chicken, since those menu items may conflict with a restaurant’s tradeoffs. 

Instead of adding or deleting menu options, it might be worth making specific options for off-premise dining. Seamore's, a sustainable seafood restaurant in New York City, simply reconfigured its menu during the pandemic after moving to a takeout-only model. In doing so, they kept with the concept of their restaurant, yet were able to package many of their popular offerings into at-home meal kits, thus appealing to families and couples with unique and engaging to-go options.

many different types of food on a plate

For restaurants that sell alcohol, it’s also worth looking into whether the area allows the sale of cocktail kits to-go. With these, guests can make the bar’s signature cocktail with a recipe and pre-measured kit of ingredients (at a high margin for the business). Dine Machine offers cocktail kits for sale through their website.

graphical user interface, website

3. Optimize the Restaurant’s Online Ordering

A restaurant’s website cannot be overlooked – specifically when it comes to online ordering. An online ordering system managed through the restaurant’s website allows complete customization of which menu options are available and is designed to reflect the restaurant's branding.

For example, with BentoBox, restaurants can single out their most popular options for online ordering in a dedicated section of the menu. Restaurants using BentoBox can also add in custom imagery of their food and descriptions of menu items. 

Direct online ordering also gives the restaurant complete control over the experience. From getting rid of third-party commission fees to collecting valuable guest data to instantly updating the availability of menu items, running a restaurant’s online ordering system through its website keeps the experience in the hands of the business. 

To learn more about how BentoBox can help your restaurant optimize its menu for takeout, delivery and on-premise dining, click here for a free demo.

Time to Make a Menu

After narrowing down a concept, choosing menu items and categories, and designing a restaurant’s menu in print and online, restaurants will have a solid foundation to build a business, generate revenue and welcome enthusiastic, repeat guests into their business. 

Remember, the best way to reach these customers is online with a restaurant website and online ordering – and it’s imperative to have these essentials in place when opening up a restaurant.


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