Optimize off-site business


Datassential/IFMA CPP Reports: July 2020, June 2021, September 2022, August 2023

Off-premise dining slows (but remains significant)

During 2020, peak COVID-related dining restrictions funneled consumers to delivery, pick-up, and drive-thru ordering. Over the past three years, as restrictions lifted, consumers have increasingly returned to on-premise dining. Even with the return to restaurant dining, most consumers’ last restaurant meals were still eaten off-premise in 2023. Industry pivots to things like delivery and mobile app ordering have helped bolster the off-premise market, increasing convenience for consumers. Learn consumers’ off-premise habits and preferences, uncover top limited-time offers (LTOs) to-go, and gain an understanding of off-premise consumers overall to take advantage of the still-significant off-premise market!

Off-premise means at home and in the car

Where do consumers tend to eat off-premise meals? Over half of consumers’ last meals were eaten either at home (or at a friend’s or family member’s home) or in the car – similar to consumer habits in 2020. When considering portability and packaging for off-premise, keep cars in mind, too!

Datassential/IFMA CPP 2023 Report, August 2023

Datassential/IFMA CPP Reports: July 2020, June 2021, September 2022, August 2023

Off-premise opportunities

Most consumers want fries that hold up better for delivery, and operators are taking note, with over half adding delivery-optimized fries to their menu in the past year (Lamb Weston/Datassential: AmpliFry Report, July 2023). Consider how sourcing the right product – like Lamb Weston’s Crispy on Delivery fries – could improve the delivery experience for consumers and help restaurants stay competitive in the off-premise market.

Lamb Weston/Datassential: AmpliFry Report, July 2023

Lamb Weston/Datassential: AmpliFry Report, July 2023

Off-premise winners

Consumers report that 59% of their fry consumption is off-premise, with 45% overall attributed to pick-up or drive-thru (Lamb Weston/Datassential: AmpliFry Report, July 2023). Which new introductions and limited-time offers (LTOs) do consumers consider most appealing for to-go fry consumption? Crispy is key, as three out of the four highest-scoring fry concepts feature the word “crisp” or “crispy”. The term crispy is also featured in a wings-focused to-go winner, highlighting the overall importance of crispiness in foods to-go.

Datassential Concept Testing (SCORES)

*average score of 54% for TO-GO APPEAL (pick-up or drive-thru appeal) for side/app menu introductions, Mar 2023 – Aug 2023

 top performer for item type, generation (>90th percentile)

 above average for item type, generation (70th to 90th percentile) 

Technomic Global Consumer Trends Webinar, May 2023

Packaging is pivotal

Consumers consider food packaging quality to be extremely important across the globe. Over two-thirds of consumers think that packaging quality impacts food quality across off-premise occasions. Since 12% of restaurant operators’ total spend is on packaging and disposables (Datassential PULSE Industry Overview: Segment Detail, February 2023), focus spending on the packaging attributes that matter most to consumers.

How to Optimize Packaging for Off-Premises Fry Consumption

Operators can increase the quality of their off-premises fries by incorporating some tips from Lamb Weston’s sensory scientists:

1.  Use wood or paper-based materials for cartons (cardboard or mixtures)

2.  Vents or cut vents (do not shut air-tight)

3.  Loosely carton fries (no packing or squishing to fit)

4.  Do not place fries next to cold items or steamy wet items

Just doing these easy things makes a big difference with increasing crispiness of fries over hold times. 

Understand consumer technology wants

Consumers’ top technology want is mobile app ordering. However, half of restaurants only allow phone or in-person ordering, missing out on the mobile app market. Consider how technology like mobile apps, automated order pick-up options, and kiosk ordering could help streamline off-premise dining for both consumers and restaurants operators.

Datassential Segment Guides: QSR, Fast Casual, Casual Dining, August 2023

Datassential Segment Guides: QSR, Fast Casual, Casual Dining, August 2023

Optimize off-premise!

Boosted by past pandemic restrictions and a desire for convenience, off-premise remains a significant market even as on-premise dining trends upward. Consider lessons from consumers regarding top to-go LTOs (crispy is key!) and the importance of better fries for delivery and more functional packaging. Finally, consider mobile app ordering and other technology to streamline off-premise ordering. One thing’s for sure: off-premise has slowed but is here to stay!