Pandemic Drives Takeout Boom

Feb 1

The pandemic radically altered the restaurant industry, and many operators have pivoted strategies in order to stay afloat – including a sharp focus on carryout foods. But not all food is ideal for carryout, and not all restaurants are used to providing this service. Many restaurants have reimagined how they serve carryout, including pasta dishes.

Many restaurants streamlined their menus and offered their top-selling items with the most straightforward execution; bonus points if those offerings could travel well. Thicker, shorter pasta tend to travel best, and al-dente pasta benefits from being undercooked – the pasta finishes cooking in the to-go container during the delivery process. In the same vein, mixing the pasta and sauce together before delivery trips prevents the pasta from drying out and sticking together.

Other restaurants have opted for family-size “meal kits” that consumers can heat and eat on their own time. These offerings are often gourmet, and come in larger portion sizes (such as a whole lasagna instead of by the serving). This allows consumers to enjoy family-style comfort dishes without worrying about them getting cold or soggy during the delivery process.

The restaurant industry has always thrived on adaptability and creativity, a world where “what’s next” is often the hottest ticket. Though we hope the pandemic will be behind us before 2021 ends, it will leave a lasting mark on how consumers experience restaurants. Perhaps some of these innovations are even here to stay.