March saw the toughest month for full-service restaurants in years as states across the U.S. shuttered their dining rooms in response to new shelter-in-place regulations. Restaurants are already seeing the drastic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their sales. But current data shows that guest interest in off-premise dining remains high. To-go ordering not only remains the most cost-effective solution for restaurants. It also shows the most potential in promoting higher guest satisfaction.
To-Go Produces Most Sales Among Off-Premise Options
According to the NPD Group’s recently released report, to-go represented the largest dollar share at 53% of off-premise modes prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with drive-thru at 38% and delivery at 9% of dollars. As the pandemic forced restaurants to close their dining rooms, sales overall began to decline, yet off-premise sales jumped in growth. A Black Box Intelligence report found that full-service restaurants saw same-store sales decline an average of 74% in the five days ending March 23 and as the coronavirus pandemic deepened. Yet off-premise sales reached over 60% growth year over year.
To-Go Ordering More Popular Among Guests
Yelp reported 15 times more popularity among consumers for delivery and carryout in March. Yet satisfaction scores for guests ordering delivery remain significantly lower than dine-in and to-go sentiment. Historically, guests have more reasons to be more dissatisfied with delivery. One concern that has received more attention in the past year is food-tampering. According to a 2019 US Food study, over one fifth of guests have suspected deliverers of taking food, and 28% of deliverers have actually taken food from an order. These concerns can only grow further when implicated with fears of COVID-19 transmission during the pandemic.
Many guests also prefer to support restaurants directly, rather than using third-party delivery services that can charge large amounts of commission fees for restaurants, in addition to delivery fees for guests.
To-Go Ordering is Safer
A food safety specialist notes that contactless pickup is a “very safe alternative, especially for those who are in high-risk groups for COVID-19, the older people with weak immune systems.” The emphasis is on the word “contactless.” As long as guests practice social distancing guidelines when they order food to go, their food remains safe to eat, and they keep both themselves and restaurant staff safe.
How to Get Started?
We'd love to help restaurants scale their off-premise operations and recapture guests, which is why we are offering our To-Go Kiosks for free without any contractual obligations. Presto Kiosk enables full To-Go ordering in a minimum contact environment. The product enables guests to order and pay safely without requiring any interaction with the restaurant staff—protecting the health of both. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get our solution running at your stores in just a few days.