While it’s easy to get the family dressed and have everyone troop to a nice restaurant for Thanksgiving or Christmas, nothing still beats the nostalgia of eating a fully holiday dinner with your loved ones at home. Still, with Americans living busier lives by the minute, it’s not surprising why many people prefer to dine out during the busy holidays.

Offering holiday meals is the perfect solution to this dilemma. Whether customers order a full catering package or ala carte dishes to supplement what they have prepared at home, allowing customers to order holiday dishes to-go helps ease the burden off cooking several dishes at once and cleaning up after. Plus, you don’t need to invest in extra supplies or restaurant equipments since you most likely already have everything you need. here are simple tips to help you offer high-quality takeout service to your customers this year.

1. Plan your takeout menu.

While it’s true that it’s harder to convince customers ordering over the phone or online to make impulse buys, having a properly crafted menu can help you make more upsells. For instance, if a customer orders hot chocolate, you can include upsell options, such as an extra bag of marshmallows, a shot of Hennessy, or a peppermint stirring stick.

2. Make it easy for customers to place their orders.

Orders placed by phone are okay, but with millennials starting to take over the market, it’s important that restaurants keep up with their ways. For instance, online ordering is a fast-growing trend in the foodservice industry, with more people using their computers to place orders. Not only is this fast and convenient for them, it’s also a better way to organize orders for you because it increases order accuracy by a significant rate. Mobile ordering via apps or a mobile-friendly website is also one thing you want to explore.

3. Set up a dedicated takeout area.

Use a separate counter to service customers coming in to pick up to-go meals. The area must be clearly labelled so that customers can easily know where to go. Be careful not to set up the takeout area at the place where in-house guests wait to be seated. You don’t want the entrance to the dining area overcrowded with uncomfortable customers. If your restaurant regularly accepts a high volume of takeout orders, you may also want to consider investing in a drive-thru area, which you can use during the holidays and the rest of the year.  

4. Invest in systems and staff to ensure accuracy.

When dine-in customers receive the wrong item, it’s easier for them to have it returned to the kitchen and have their order prepared. When someone who orders takeout receives a dish they didn’t order, it’s more frustrating for them because they would rather not go through the trouble of returning the food item. This is why having a high-quality point-of-sale system is important. You may also want to have check that everything is in the package before it reaches the customer.

5. Use good packaging.

Use heavy-duty food packaging that prevents spillage or leaking. You don’t want impatient customers waiting for your food only to find out that the honey glaze for the Christmas ham has spilled out of its container. All packaging must also be clearly labeled for easy unpacking. If the food items require reheating, you must also include easy-to-understand reheating instructions on the package.

6. Keep food at safe temperatures.

Takeout dishes must be kept in packaging that keeps them at safe temperatures. Food that must be kept warm can be placed in warming bags before delivery, while cold items that came from the walkin cooler, such as fresh salads and cool Christmas puddings, need to be kept crisp and chill inside the undercounter refrigerationbefore pickup.