February 14th, 2022

Taking Advantage of Take-Out in Long Branch

Waitress at Samantha’s Restaurant — one of several fine dining options in Long Branch.

Maybe it’s the cold weather.  Maybe it’s the couch-potato effect of so much social isolation.

Whatever the explanation, several Long Branch restaurants have told the Newsletter that fewer groups are coming inside to dine lately.  As a result, they are putting increased energy into the takeout and delivery side of their business.

Though the adjustment can be large for a restaurant used to focusing mainly on dine-in, it can have an upside.

According to industry sources, ordering food for delivery enjoys enormous popularity among members of so-called Generation Z — the 10 to 25-year-olds who make up the largest generation in U.S. history.  Twenty-five percent of Gen Z order food out 3 or 4 times a week. 

Another opportunity is provided by the growing number of two-income families with young children who are settling in Long Branch.  Such households are often pressed for time.  For such customers, to get the food that they like, convenience is often more important than price-point.  

As a result, particularly today, take-out and delivery hold the potential to increase your sales and earnings.

Here are some tips on how to maximize the benefits:

  • If Grub-Hub and Uber (etc.) are biting off a big chunk of your profits, it may be advantageous to let your own staff make deliveries.  Compare notes with what other restaurants are doing and consider reaching out to a consultant (see below) for advice;
  • Don’t be shy to raise prices if needed. Remember, food delivery is mainly about convenience;
  • Remind your customers that they can save money by picking up their own order;
  • If you do make your own deliveries, be sure to train your staff to maintain your brand by being polite, friendly and efficient;
  • Remove from your takeout menu those items that lose appeal when not served fresh from the kitchen;
  • Invest in a website-based takeout order app that allows you to do direct sales, and encourage customers to use it;
  • If take-out orders are stable and expanding, it may be time to shrink your dining area and make room for other sources of income – perhaps stationary items; cards and crafts; used or new books; or any other retail items in harmony with your brand.

Advisory services that can help you work through these complex decisions can be found, among other places, at the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC). Their coaches can review your current online presence and provide recommendations on platforms based on your capacity and goals. Contact Maria Llanos at  mtllanos@ledcmetro.org or 202.288.6381. Also, Montgomery County has a list of business resource partners at: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/Biz-Resources/Business-services.html