How to Launch a Successful Retail Carry Out Program

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According to NPD Group1, in-store dining and takeout from grocers has grown 30% since 2008, accounting for approximately $10B in consumer spending and greatly impacting the restaurant industry. This trend has been largely championed by millennials, who are searching for quick and easy takeout meals. The increased competition from “grocerants” means restaurants need to think about ways to increase revenue in brick and mortar establishments.

Bring Retail Carry Out to Your Operation

One way to cater to this growing demand is by offering ready-made, chef-inspired retail takeout options made right in your kitchen. Channel your culinary team’s creativity by creating a menu that’s both delicious and economical – creating large batches of recipes that can be either refrigerated or frozen in pre-portioned containers for customer pickup or delivery. Your carry out operation will serve as a great way to boost revenue year-round by developing a retail-side of your restaurant while staying top-of-mind with patrons.

A Few Tips to Get Started

  1. Start small and scale up – develop tried and true recipes before pushing the envelope and stay true to your restaurants roots
  2. Store meals in ready-to-serve takeout containers, making it simple to heat and serve or dish up as is
  3. Ensure meal packaging is the proper choice for the dish being served – avoiding any leaks or spillage in transit
  4. Add meal preparation instructions for customer ease-of-use, download this kit for a free template
  5. Create and promote your carry out menu through multiple channels

Get the Word Out

Launching a new carry out operation will fall flat unless it’s promoted properly. Develop in-store signage like posters, table tents and menu inserts, use social media channels, and educate your wait staff on how to sell the new offering. Partner with local delivery companies to increase your distribution footprint. For additional ways to leverage social media, check out our social tips article.

Try Your First Carry Out This Thanksgiving

Even the most avid restaurant goers choose to dine-in for Thanksgiving, yet many dread the work (and chaos) that goes into creating a full Thanksgiving meal. Use this as an opportunity to try a soft-launch of your retail carry out business with chef-inspired Thanksgiving dishes from Chef Ted.

Looking for ways to get started? Download our free carry out kit which includes a menu insert, social assets, and customizable flyer.


1NPD Group, 2016, “A Generational Study: The Evolution of Eating”