February 23, 2021

Of all the potential industry-wide reactions to the pandemic, none seem to have made a greater impact on restaurants than a surge in off-premise dining.

Market analysts consistently report that consumer behavior towards off-premise dining will not be going away anytime soon. According to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Industry report released in January 2021, 68% of customers say they are more likely to purchase takeout or delivery food than they were before the pandemic.

Forward-thinking operators are already changing the way they do business by establishing new standards for off-premise dining. The most successful restaurateurs are devoting an equal amount of care to off-premise as dine-in sales, ensuring the same quality that customers expect in both experiences.

Many have already begun making permanent changes in their business models including online-ordering platforms, curbside offerings, and restaurant delivery services. The ability to place digital orders through a restaurant’s website or app has made life easier for the consumer and is now an expectation post-pandemic. Alongside the digital convenience, Datassential reports that curbside pick-up has been the top off-premise restaurant experience during the pandemic. This new concept for many restaurants has become a welcome option for consumer dining experiences. Additionally, while 3rd party delivery services have grown exponentially during the pandemic, many operators are now focusing their efforts on self-delivery. Self-delivery allows restaurants to have more control, reduce transit time, and increase customer service.

Restaurants are also tailoring menus to boost off-site dining sales and rethink packaging so that hot and cold foods can retain their proper temperatures. Choosing the right product and packaging will ensure food reaches its destination looking and tasting as good as in the dining room. 

Looking at the ‘new normal’ for consumer behavior in dining experiences, operators will need to optimize their menus to be delivery-friendly in order to retain and attract customers.



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