Promoting Takeout Orders for Your Restaurant

Learn how to reach new customers and rise above your competition with these tried and true methods of promoting takeout orders.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, takeout orders have played an important role in allowing restaurants to stay partially operational. Without the ability to serve takeout, many establishments would’ve had to close their doors. For those still struggling to make ends meet, promoting takeout orders is a new challenge. Fortunately, there are some tried and true methods to promote your takeout menu that can help you reach customers.

Defining Takeout Orders

Chances are that you have eaten takeout before or at least heard the term. Essentially, takeout is when you order food from a restaurant and take it home to eat rather than dining at the establishment. This not to be confused with the term takeaway, which is often used to describe a restaurant that only serves to-go food. 

Marketing Takeout And Takeaways

For restaurants that have been able to adapt their business model and shift towards takeout orders, the next challenge has been finding creative and effective ways to promote their takeout menu. It is important to be at the forefront of customers’ minds as they contemplate where to order from and to earn repeat business. If you are looking for new ways to promote your restaurant and rise above the competition, here are some suggestions:

Take advantage of social media.

Leverage the power of social media to help spread the word about your takeout order service. You can further support and enhance your digital efforts with print ads and in-store signs. Also, make sure that you have a clear link to your online ordering system, such as Sixdots, on your website.

Run promotions.

This is a great way to attract new customers. A full 80% of consumers are persuaded to try a new place if the restaurant is offering a deal.

Offer daily specials.

Digital menus are easy to update and can allow you to run daily specials on takeout orders to attract customers. Use this strategy to promote less popular products and increase business on typically slow days.

Offer family-size meals.

You can bundle larger portioned entrees and sides so that your customers can easily feed the entire family without having to cook for themselves.

Emphasize safety.

Promote your COVID-19 safety precautions and hygiene practices. Customers want to feel confident that you are taking all necessary measures to protect everyone. Include this information on your website, all ordering platforms, emails and social media so that people can feel safe and confident ordering from you.

Create a loyalty program.

Start a loyalty program and reward people for being repeat customers and bringing in referrals. This is also a way to collect information for other marketing purposes and to re-engage if they haven’t stopped by recently.

Host a happy hour.

In many states, restaurants are temporarily permitted to serve cocktails and alcohol to-go. You can offer drinks specials, such as providing a discount on food with a drink order. Remember that happy hour is usually between 4 pm and 6 pm and is used as a way to increase business during a typically slower period, so design your offerings with this in mind. 

Best Tipping Practices for Takeout Orders

The Emily Post Institute, which is a longstanding thought leader in all things related to etiquette, argues that picking up a takeout order is one situation where there is no obligation to tip. They do recommend a 10% tip if the restaurant goes above and beyond in some way. However, COVID-19 may have changed those guidelines.

Customers are acutely aware that everyone is struggling, especially the restaurant industry. They recognize the losses their favorite spots have endured, and don’t want to see their doors close permanently. As a result, people are naturally tipping more on takeout orders. Analysts are also changing their tune and recommending that consumers tip about the same as they would for in-person dining, which is 15 – 20%.

Even after stay-at-home orders have been lifted and restaurants are able to operate at full capacity, there is a good chance that diners will still opt for takeout orders. Implementing and perfecting promotional efforts now will continue to benefit restaurants into the future. Leveraging these techniques will allow restaurants to get the most out of their takeaway. 


What is a takeout order?

A takeout order is when you order from a restaurant and eat the meal off-premise, typically at home. 

What is the difference between takeout and takeaway?

Takeout refers to food that is ordered at a restaurant and consumed off-premise. A takeaway is a restaurant that only serves takeout and doesn’t offer in-house dining.

How do you promote a takeout order?

Start by spreading the word that you are offering takeout orders on your website and social media pages and through email campaigns. You can also offer special promotions, daily specials, loyalty programs, happy hour specials and family style takeout orders. 

How do you attract customers to your takeaway?

You can attract customers to your restaurant by planning happy hours and offering family takeout meals. It is also a good idea to advertise your COVID-19 safety procedures on your website so that customers feel safe eating food from your establishment.

Are you supposed to tip on takeout orders?

Traditionally, takeout orders are considered a “no obligation” tipping situation. However, in light of COVID-19, many people are choosing to tip 15-20% in order to help keep their favorite restaurants open. 



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