Dine-In or Carry Out: 4 Benefits of Offering Both

Carry out is growing, but demand for in-person dining continues.

While dine-in is alive and well in restaurants today, you may be wondering whether you should expand to carry out and offer both services. The answer is generally, yes!

Since Covid times, there has been a dramatic increase in customers choosing take-out, but a large majority of people still like to eat inside your restaurant. In fact, according to a Door Dash survey:

76% have ordered food to carry out.
61% have dined at a restaurant.
When carrying out food, the most popular method is curbside pickup (41% of respondents), drive through is next (36%), and going into the restaurant is the least popular (23%).

So, you can see that dine-in and carry out both have their place, and we’re going to look at four benefits of offering both.

#1: You Boost Your Bottom Line

By offering both dine-in and carry out, you provide something to everyone in your target market.

For those people who still enjoy dining out, you can spend marketing dollars to bring those diners into your restaurant. This increases your numbers and your meals sold.

Conversely, for those people who like the convenience of ordering carry out, you can market to them and provide them with the service they’re looking for. Once they see how easy it is, they’ll be back for more.

You essentially now have two revenue streams that cater to specific target markets. Both targets enjoy your food, while some like to eat it at your tables, and some like to eat it at their own table.

#2: Dine-In Offers Positive Guest Experiences

Dining-in remains strong at restaurants, and most restaurants find that it also remains a strong source of revenue. It is also where you can have the most effect on the overall guest experience.

When people dine-in you can offer them amazing customer service along with their meal. You also have the opportunity to address any issues your customers have right when they happen. So, you can also help smooth out any issues so your customers don’t leave unhappy.

In addition, your well-trained servers are better able to upsell items like appetizers, desserts, and alcoholic drinks when customers eat at your restaurant in person. So, customers who eat inside your restaurant have the potential to bring in more revenue for you.

Don’t forget that employee training is key to the overall guest experience. Train your staff well so every dine-in customer leaves feeling great about their time in your restaurant.

Dine-in and carry out are both viable options for most restaurants.

#3: Carry Out Lets You Reach More People

The exponential rise in carry out is something that should give you pause, especially if you don’t already offer take out for your customers.

This is a second revenue stream for your restaurant that allows you to market to more people than usual. The carry out segment of diners is yearning for new places to eat, so you can leverage this to your benefit.

You have the opportunity to introduce new people to your menu. And while the customer service experience doesn’t physically last as long, you still have the opportunity to provide great service and encourage repeat customers.

In addition, because you don’t need to have as many staff for carry out as you do dine-in, you’ll save some money on this end. Your margins for takeout will be larger than in person dining because you aren’t paying staff to wait on tables.

#4: You Can Offer Convenience and Experience

People order carry out because they like the convenience of it. First, they don’t want to cook. Second, they’re busy people who need to pick up a meal quickly to feed their family.

By offering them their favorite foods for takeout, you provide your customers with the convenience they’re looking for.

People dine-in because they enjoy the experience. They want to enjoy the ambiance of your restaurant and immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and smells. Dining-in transports them to somewhere special, where they can be waited on in a special place while enjoying their favorite food.

People who dine-in want also may enjoy socializing. Whether it’s with your staff, their friends and family at the table, or simply just being around others, you provide this with your dine-in options.

You are the purveyor of both convenience and experience by offering both dine-in and carry out. You are also the restaurant that is busy all the time with two options for customers. (tweet this)

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Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Dine-In or Carry Out

Today’s diner has wide and varied tastes and many expectations when it comes to choosing where and how to eat.

You’ll find that many people still prefer the full experience of dining out, ordering from a menu, and having great customer service. All they have to do is show up and eat. Yet, you’ll also find a whole generation of consumers who order out several times per week. They don’t mind picking it up and taking it home. They prefer the ease of carry out over dine-in.

To boost your revenue and stay relevant in an evolving hospitality marketplace, it’s beneficial for you to offer both dine-in and carry out. Each category has relevance for most restaurants today. (tweet this)

For you, the most important thing is to fine-tune your processes. Work on marketing both your dine-in and carry out services so your customers know what to expect. You want to have the perfect balance between the two so you can meet all your customers’ needs.

You’ll find that by meeting both segments of your audience with their dining and eating out choice, you’ll continue to grow and increase your customer base.

Is your website ready to host an online ordering system for people choosing to carry out? At Restaurant Engine, we can create a website for you that provides the pivotal spot for your digital marketing. Your website is the centerpiece of your online marketing, and it needs to look and perform well to increase your online sales. You can count on us to create an amazing website that presents a unified brand for your restaurant and works across all digital platforms. Let us help you make the perfect site that draws customers in, improves customer engagement and your conversion rate, and enables you to grow your business!  

Are you ready to take your restaurant to the next level with a new website?

Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Dan Gold and Jessie McCall on Unsplash 

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