How To Maximize To-Go Sales

To-go sales have completely disrupted the restaurant industry. According to some expert analysis, to-go sales are the propeller to the industry’s upward climb over recent years, due in part to developments in delivery technology and changing customer attitudes.

For restaurants in the future, maximizing to-go sales can be the make-or-break point. So, here are a couple tips on how you can drive sales without sacrificing the quality of your product.

  1. Add photos of dishes to online ordering platforms

This may seem like a no-brainer, but too many restaurants expect their customers to be able to order food by product descriptions alone. Instead, put pictures of your dishes next to their description. That way, your customers can see how your description is arranged on a plate. Make sure you use high-quality photos, this may involve shelling out for a professional photographer, but the initial investment will pay-off when your images entice consumers instead of scaring them away. 

  1. Promote to-go sales with in-store signage

It’s nearly impossible to get someone to buy something when they have no idea it exists. If you’re offering a special deal exclusively online, make sure your customers know about it. Be creative. Utilize posters, at-table cards, special pins for your employees to wear on their uniforms, or any combination of these.

  1. Design your online ordering platform to up-sell

When your customers add items to their cart, what happens next? Are they prompted to purchase items that go well with their selection? If you answered no to that question, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to maximize your to-go sales. Adding small items like a $.50 side of ranch can go a long way to increasing your sales. But, you need to make sure your online ordering platform prompts your customers to purchase these items.

  1. Make sure your food reaches the customer in the same condition as if they were eating in your restaurant

This may be the single best piece of advice to maximize your to-go sales. If a customer is loyal enough to your business that they will order your food to go, you should expect them to want their order to be as fresh as if it were being served in your brick and mortar. Otherwise, why would they order from you? Some ways you can ensure your food arrives to your customers in dine-in condition are adding an in-house delivery service, have different packaging for different types of food (for example, never put fried foods in Styrofoam because the packaging will act as a steamer and soften the fried food), or dedicate a team of employees solely to to-go orders. Some foods just don’t travel well so consider omitting certain types of food if you don’t think you can offer the same quality to-go. 

  1. Optimize the layout of your restaurant

The increasing demand for to-go orders requires restaurant owners to carefully consider the layout of their restaurants.  Be sure to conduct a time-in-motion study to see where your restaurant’s layout can be improved. Optimizing your layout can help your business handle increased sales in ways that doesn’t require you to hire any new employees. This approach will both save money and help your business increase profitability.


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