Winning at foodservice takes a lineup of all-star players. Yes, the food is important and always will be, but we aren’t just talking about the food. You need a team effort to succeed — to provide quality, consistency and service. Winning at takeout needs adaptable players. Is your takeout team ready?
The right coaches bring out the best in players. Why? Because they have played those positions. They understand the wins and losses, the risks, obstacles and struggles. Use foodservice coaches, from nationally recognized and trusted brands, to be your guides to build your best takeout menu and strategy.
Offensive line coach – on land
Chef James Keppy is the corporate chef for Maple Leaf Foods Canada.
“Operators … need to focus on items that they are known for, that travel well and that customers will come back to, again and again!”Chef James Keppy, corporate chef for Maple Leaf Foods Canada
“Most corporate chefs are usually consulting with operators to introduce new menu items and increase check averages. Today, all of us are helping operators streamline menus and offering value-added products for quicker service times. We are matching the best products to hot hold for delivery, while keeping quality high.”
“Operators are already adapting to a takeout world, but they need to focus on items that they are known for, that travel well and that customers will come back to, again and again!”
“The menus should be getting smaller and ingredients need to have multiple applications wherever possible.”
- TIP: Consider family-sized options
Wings and pizza are king, but the innovation will be in the complete family dinner. Consider selling popular menu items family style — servings for two, four or six instead of a family ordering four different entrées.
Takeout is blurring the lines between grocery and retail with finish-at-home meal kits. Get the order for tonight’s meal and offer up a “Finish at Home” package for tomorrow… like a smokehouse kit with cooked ribs with signature sauce, baked mac and cheese, slaw and Mexican street corn.
Maple Leaf offers pulled meats, shaved steak, fully cooked ribs, wings and chicken sandwiches — perfect for takeout menus.
Remember to return to the comfort foods, because they also happen to travel well!
“Wings will always hold well for travel, especially breaded wings, but so do pulled pork and beef, BBQ ribs, mac and cheese, shepherd’s pie, lasagne and chili. These items can quickly become a regular order in a family’s dinner rotation.”
Offensive line coach – at sea
Chef Philman George is the corporate chef for High Liner Foodservice. High Liner Foodservice is on a mission to remind Canadians how healthy, versatile and tasty seafood is.
“My goal is to place craveable seafood on your menu and help you generate more profit. I work closely with operators to help them succeed and reach their full potential with seafood offerings.”Chef Philman George, corporate chef for High Liner Foodservice
“My goal is to place craveable seafood on your menu and help you generate more profit. I work closely with operators to help them succeed and reach their full potential with seafood offerings.”
- TIP: Maximizing your online presence is key. Whether through social media, reviews on Yelp, or third-party delivery apps, it’s vital that your restaurant be seen in as many digital avenues as possible.
- TIP: You eat with your eyes first! Take pride in capturing drool-worthy, Instagrammable photos of your menu items. Most delivery service apps offer photography sessions and most of them are free. Get as many dishes captured as possible!
- TIP: Be strategic with your takeout menu offerings. Less is more! Design a menu that is easy and quick to execute and delivers an exceptional culinary experience.
When customers order takeout, they want it relatively quickly and they want it to taste as good as it would if they were dining in-house. Be strategic with your takeout offerings to deliver great food without an extremely long wait time. Successful operators have streamlined their takeout offerings to make it simple for the kitchen staff to execute.
“High Liner has many fantastic products that can help the operator save time, money and deliver exceptional seafood takeout. I think the true value to the operator is being able to tap into our High Liner Foodservice dedicated seafood experts, available across Canada. They love seafood and are passionate about helping the operator achieve their seafood goals.”
“We have some fantastic new Guinness beer-battered products which are unique and simple for the operator to execute.”
Special teams coach
Chef Thomas Heitz is the corporate chef for Kraft Heinz Canada, a company with a large portfolio of brands.
“Create something true to your brand. Don’t try to be everything, figure out what customers come to you for, what you do well. Own it and do it better.”Chef Thomas Heitz, corporate chef for Kraft Heinz Canada
“Create something true to your brand. Don’t try to be everything, figure out what customers come to you for, what you do well. Own it and do it better. People do not tolerate mediocre food anymore.”
- TIP: Less is more. Streamline and focus your takeout menu.
An added benefit? If you are doing less, it’s easier to focus on being the best. Your customers are happy and satisfied, you reduce your ingredient count and labour needs and typically save money.
“The key to making that happen is convenience for the kitchen. Speed scratch. Take our Renée’s Roasted Garlic Aioli, add your own herbs or horseradish and you have a unique item you can execute with consistency. But that same Renée’s Roasted Garlic Aioli can used for other applications or again be quickly transformed into another unique ingredient just by adding one or two extras.”
Whether takeout or in-house dining, it is still about the quality of the food. Maintaining quality for takeout means using the right packaging and hopefully, sustainable packaging. Some premium ingredients lose their premium status after 30+ minutes in the wrong packaging.
It’s okay to package takeout menu items deconstructed. Keep cold and hot items separate whenever possible.
- TIP: Test your takeout packaging before you use it with customers.
To test something for takeout: Put it into the container, put aside for 20 minutes or more. Give it to someone, tell them to walk up and down the stairs, maybe even drop the bag, then look and taste.
“Figure out the little things like whether to have the bun buttered or not buttered, using bibb versus iceberg lettuce. Your final menu item will be better for the time and attention to all the details.”
“Service is part of the details. Having your takeout packages sealed and numbered, for example, can provide your customers with peace of mind while ensuring orders are complete and delivering quality.”
“It’s all about collaboration: working as a team in your own establishment and working with vendors and suppliers to succeed. You don’t need to do it on your own. Let us help.”
The final huddle
The best defence against the ups and downs of foodservice is a good offence. A good offence takes practice, training and creativity. It’s worth taking the time to streamline your takeout plays to achieve quality, consistency and service. Grab the opportunity now and your team is sure to execute a smarter, more profitable, winning takeout game.
One, two, three…go, takeout team!