Operator's Edge | Balancing Safety and Convenience

Balancing Safety and Convenience

As operators work to fine-tune their carryout and delivery menus, innovative grab-and-go offerings may be next on the horizon. While traditional kiosks and self-serve stations are mostly off-limits, the concept of pre-packaged meals and snacks can still play out in fresh and interesting ways.

Be sure to explore the opportunity for grab-and-go in foodservice by examining its popularity in retail. After an initial downturn at the start of the pandemic, supermarket grab-and-go has demonstrated strong growth in the past few months (Produce Business, 2020)—and restaurant operators are taking notice. In fact, some restaurants have pivoted to a “pop-up provisions” model, converting dining rooms into mini markets. Others have teamed up with local retailers to offer signature meals in the prepared foods section of the grocery store.

Within your operation, consider a “no-contact” grab-and-go strategy to give your customers peace of mind while maintaining control over your sanitation practices. A curated menu of bowl meals, sandwiches, soups, salads, and other ready-to-eat offerings can be pre-packaged back-of-house, and customers can order and pay ahead of time for added convenience and security.

From fast-casual to fine dining, restaurants across the foodservice industry are getting into the grab-and-go game. Here are some ways operators are reinventing their menus with signature offerings created especially for grab-and-go.

Daisies (Chicago)
This back dining room of this notable Italian restaurant has been transformed into an upscale grocery, stocked with fresh produce and signature homemade pasta. Grab-and-go lunch service is decidedly more casual, featuring cold salads by the pint and specialty sandwiches.

Porridge + Puffs (Los Angeles)
Pivoting to give customers more in-store pickup options, this fine dining restaurant now allows patrons to enjoy a five-course meal at home or stock up on provisions like savory porridge, housemade shallot vinaigrette, sourdough starter, and umami trail mix.

Buttermilk Kitchen (Atlanta)
With a focus on sustainability and local ingredients, this breakfast spot sells biscuit mixes, buttermilk pancake kits, and jars of signature condiments, including blackberry-basil jam and rye whiskey syrup.

Fairgrounds (various)
The regional craft coffee and tea chain supplements beverage offerings with easy grab-and-go breakfast and lunch specials, including overnight oats, matcha chia pudding, egg salad, and even full pints of housemade dressings like Thai sunbutter and harissa Caesar.

Content courtesy of Conagra Foodservice