Take-Out: Giving Consumers and Restaurateurs Another Option

After participating in the ghoulish holiday’s twisted scavenger hunt, manically racing about town trying to piece together a last minute costume, who has time to mess with the grocery store?  

Earlier this week I mentioned that some restaurants are optimistic that they can woo consumers with “bargain” dinners and “two-for-ones”, especially in light of rising grocery prices, but what I failed to touch on was the evolving take-out menu.

What has been often perceived as glorified fast food (sometimes not glorified at all), take-out meals have made a refined shift.  This reform has little to do with take-out restaurants raising the standard of their menus, but quality restaurants participating in the take-out market.

As discussed in the NY Post, the take-out market has been invigorated from factors that include the season and the economy.

Casual eateries such as Tom Colicchio’s Wichcraft and former Top Chef Nikki Cascone’s 24 Prince have all admitted a spiked demand for delivery.

“Delivery has really taken off in our industry,” says Stratis Morfogen, who recently opened Philippe Express, the casual Greenwich Village spinoff of the fashionable uptown Chinese restaurant. “One, it’s an election year. Two, people are finding in all the Wall Street turmoil a lot more reasons to eat in and stay home.”

Enjoying a restaurant from the comforts of home is not a new trend with consumers, but at face of beverage mark-ups and an expected 20% for service, taking-out and dining in, has become increasingly popular.

Higher-scale restaurants are becoming more accessible at pressures of the demand.  Restaurants like Kefi, a Michael Psilakis and Donatella Arpaia (Anthos) establishment set to open next month, has the entire menu available for delivery, with offerings at lower price points and family style dinner packages.

“In today’s economic climate, value has become a very big buzz word,” says Psilakis.

The value and convenience of take-out might be the perfect formula for disenchanted diners, especially those with web access.  SeamlessWeb, an online delivery service, has been working with restaurants looking to branching out.

“Over the course of the past three months, we’ve been getting inquiries from fine-dining restaurants – not Le Bernardin, but one step removed from that,” says SeamlessWeb president Jason Finger.

I’d suspect that delivery would be minus the sporks if it ever happened.


image courtesy of dreamtime.com

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