Deli | Holidays

Holidays to Go

Aug 19, 2018

Holidays to Go

Should you offer delivery and carry-out for your patron's holiday favorites?

"Holidays to Go" is the convergence of two emerging trends based on the twin desires for convenience and crave-worthy seasonal flavors. It's also an opportunity for savvy operators to increase their sales at a busy time of year.

Seasonal and holiday flavors are among the most popular LTOs

From pumpkin spice lattes to turkey and gravy, fall and the holidays are chock full of flavors that inspire strong, emotionally-driven cravings.

  • Of the top 4 types of LTOs diners say their interested in, seasonal dishes/beverages and holiday-themed dishes/beverages rank at #2 and #4. (Datassential)

Whether it's Millennials cooking-averse Millennials or empty-nester Boomers, a growing number of Americans are choosing to forgo hours in the kitchen and get their seasonal flavor fix from restaurants.

Takeout is still king, but delivery is growing the fastest

On-premise dining accounts for 56% of overall restaurant traffic. The remaining 44% of traffic is off-premise in the form of takeout and delivery. While the bulk of that business is takeout, delivery is where the growth is, fueled by the introduction of third-party delivery services like Uber Eats.

  • Delivery is estimated to grow at a double-digit rate in the next five years (The NPD Group/CREST®, YE December 16)
  • Delivered meals (excluding pizza) traffic is forecast to grow 20% by 2022 (Technomic's On Demand Delivery Study; Technomic's Takeout & Off-Premise Consumer Trend)

Accordingly, the majority of restaurant operators are either 1) evaluating or 2) enhancing their delivery business and believe small-order delivery can represent a greater portion of their total sales over the next 3-5 years, according the Cleveland Research Company.

Are you prepared?

Suggestions for seasonal/holiday takeout and delivery

As a substitute for home cooking, delivery and takeout have always been favored by those short on time. But for Millennials, it may also reflect their unfamiliarity with preparing holiday meals themselves. In one study, only 42% of Millennials being able to carve a turkey compared with 70% of Boomers. (

Here are a few ideas to meet the needs of these audiences:

  • Appeal to their cravings - Off-premise diners cited "the need to satisfy a craving" as the most compelling reason for selecting a restaurant for a recent visit. While convenience is certainly part of the equation, cravings might be the tipping point in the decision-making process. Use the high crave-ability of seasonal and holiday dishes to your advantage.
  • Think young and female - Trying to balance their busy lifestyles, off-premise diners tend to skew younger and female. Positioning takeout capabilities that appeal to women and younger patrons may boost off-premise orders.
  • Follow QSR's lead - Quick-service restaurants lead in off-premise penetration among traditional restaurant segments. Look closely at the strategies employed by QSRs and appropriate those useful in competing for off-premise share.

A match made in holidays

The special flavors of fall and the holidays are as popular as ever. What's changing are how and where your customers choose to get them. By capitalizing on the love for fall/holiday dishes and the convenience of takeout and delivery, you can make your last quarter very merry indeed.