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Take-Out Menus
By Jane Ogurek

Restaurant ServerRestaurants, along with other forms or entertainment-type businesses, are some of the first to experience financial trends. It's easy to understand how consumers would modify their entertainment budgets during a waning economy. "Modify" is the key word. We cut-back on the number of times we go to the movie theater, renting movies instead. We don't stop socializing -- we just spend more time at home with friends. And we certainly don't quit eating! So find ways to tie into this "stay-home" economy with your Take-Out Menu.

Your Take-Out Menu doesn't have to match your in-house menu -- you can offer different entrees, prices and daily specials. To give your take-out orders a boost, try offering nightly specials such as "Saturday Night Movie Specials" that include a bag of microwave popcorn. Or Family Dining suggestions: "Every Wednesday we offer the best of our home-cooking, so you don't have to!" Is there a hit TV show popular in your area? You might offer "Monday Night Football" chicken wings or "American Idol" hamburgers -- different selections each week.

Be creative! Be thoughtful! And don't forget presentation. Suggest foods that travel well -- baked potatoes over fries; soup; salads. To increase the ticket total, encourage desserts -- if you feature a different dessert daily, make sure you mention it to your phone-in customers.

Have fun with this...and watch your Take-Out Menu take-off!

Jane Ogurek, The Menu Maker --

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