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Take-Out-Only Restaurants Respond to Market Needs

We have so many words for this thing that we love to do–take-out, carry-out, take-away, to go, parcel or tapau. And while there are so many ways to say it, it means only one thing—food bought at a restaurant for the purpose of being eaten elsewhere. The idea of purchasing food and eating it somewhere else, often at home, spells convenience for most of us, as it saves us from the hassle of cooking.

In a survey done by the National Restaurant Association this year, 37% of adults said that buying meals at restaurants, delivery places or take-out establishments allows them to become more productive in their daily lives. Almost half (47%) of adults agreed that they are likely to call home delivery if the option is presented by a full-service restaurant.

Take-out food is often being served at fast foods or often small businesses whose chef in his smart chef apron serve traditional dishes. But listening to the inclinations of the market, there are now new establishments that cater to this very concept — take-away services with excellent food just like what we get from full-service restaurants. They offer “call ahead then take-away” or “delivery only” services and do not have seated dining. Their business plan is a combination of the benefits of the food industry’s different business segments – the flexibility of a catering business, the convenience of a fast food restaurant and the quality of a full-service dining place.

Owners of these places say that this new business model presents considerable benefits both for business owners and their consumers.

“Most of our customers are families that are always pressed for time, or single professionals who aren’t keen on going home and cooking for only one person. They don’t want to continually eat pizza and fast food,” said Patrick O’Connor, proprietor of A Moveable Feast by O’Connor’s. “So if they want healthy food, like salads, they come to us.”

“And because our patrons order their food in advance, our chef in his exquisite chef apron can create their meals according to their specifications –the taste they want, or if they have allergies to some food, they let us know ,” said Tricia Hogan, who owns Dishes by Trish. “I have customers who say they want gluten-free food, and I can twist the menu a bit for them.”

Some take-out restaurants accommodate specific customers who have special diets – gluten-free, vegan, raw, soy-free, or dairy-free, such as Yorkville Organics, ran by husband and wife team Joe and Fran Guerino. “Most people hardly have the time to make their own, or finds it difficult to make one,” said Joe Guerino.

Individual ordering of meals is also ideal for families who want meals that are different from each other. O’Connor said that the concept is perfect for people who put a certain value to their time, as they realize that purchasing their meals in this manner is much less expensive than cooking it themselves.

The carry-away or delivery business model also turns out very beneficial to business owners. It is flexible, and has little start-up risk. The overhead is at a minimal, since they are not sustaining the operational costs of a restaurant. Labor cost is also lower, since there is lesser staff to pay and manage.

The business potential is quite promising, really, and although many customers are confused with the concept, a lot are said to be getting the hang of it. It is, after all, one market demand that’s just being heeded.