The 7 Sins of Takeout and How to Combat Them

Takeout can be a difficult skill to master, but it has become an increasingly necessary aspect of everyday life. So, how do you optimize your takeout operation for safety and efficiency? Our storage experts will break it down for you and give you the best processes for creating a takeout operation your customers will love.

Before we cover the solutions, let’s take a look at the 7 deadly takeout sins:

1. Waiting Customers & Drivers

2. Bottlenecks in Kitchen Pass-Through

3. Log Jam at the Front Counter

4. Food Safety Abuse from Time-Temperature

5. Cold Lower Quality Food

6. Theft (accidental) of customer meals

7. Buying too much - big, bulky, fixed, complex stations

Now let’s go through each individual sin and let the experts at Metro break down what you can do to avoid having this happen to you.

Waiting Customers and Drivers- There is nothing more painful than going to a restaurant when your order is completed to find a huge line. Getting orders turned over to customers, and third-party delivery drivers is a fundamental component of your customer satisfaction strategy. Having customers wait can cause chaos in your restaurant. Instead, invest in a customer organization system such as a shelving unit with individual dividers where orders can be placed in a specific slot for a more organized and efficient pick-up.

Bottlenecks in Kitchen Pass-Through- Sometimes, pushing out orders for both dine-in and takeout can be stressful but don’t use that as an excuse for your kitchen to be overcrowded with supplies. Instead, make sure your takeout containers have their own storage area that doesn’t interfere with the cook line.

Log Jam at the Front Counter- As foot traffic at the front counter increases, it can be challenging to keep the front moving efficiently. This is also true in order handling. It is never the best practice to keep orders directly on the front counter. This leads to clutter and disorganization.

If you begin to lose organization and get flustered, crowds build, orders get cold. It can be a disaster for your staff and leave your customers dissatisfied. Instead, have an organized order area away from the front counter. This will free up space and combat the crowds.

Food Safety Abuse from Time-Temperature- It can be a challenge to maintain quality while holding meals for long periods. Not only can a cold dish make a customer unsatisfied. If it was held at room temperature, there is a high likelihood it is also unsafe to consume. The last thing your business needs is patrons becoming ill from the food you serve.

Instead, invest in a temperature-retaining storage solution. For easier access and shorter periods, we would suggest the use of heated shelves.

Heated shelves are unique in that they can be easily added to an existing shelving unit, and each shelf can have its temperature adjusted according to what you are holding.

For longer holding times or larger family-sized orders, heated cabinets are generally a better solution.

Metro’s line of heated holding cabinets is also a great choice if your concern is an overall quality hold. Their designs allow for the addition of humidity to maintain quality more effectively for moist foods.

For a less expensive holding system, pan carriers like the Mightylite set are a great way to safely hold food while on a budget. Mightylite is one of the lightest pan carriers on the market for easy transport. Mightylite carriers are also one of the most versatile carriers on the market in that they can hold both hot and cold foods to temperature for 5+ hours.

Cold Lower Quality Food- As we have covered earlier in this piece, quality is essential in a takeout operation. So, make sure that you have proper ways to manage food quality.

Theft (accidental) of customer meals- A lack of organization can often lead to orders going to the wrong customers. Sending orders out to the wrong people regularly can be a costly operation because you are forced to remake the order and lose a potential repeat customer.

To avoid this mishap, invest in a proper holding system with dividers that can be labeled. For easy access to orders without getting them getting jumbled or confused. This will help prevent these types of mishaps.

Buying too much - big, bulky, fixed, complex stations- The final sin is wasting your money directly. Spending thousands of dollars on a bin-based system is highly unnecessary. With the right tools, you can build a system that leaves you more usable space in your facility without breaking the bank.