Getting it to go: 2010 Portability Study

Six operators share how they are seeing growth in their take-away business.

Grab and Go: 25% and Growing

Among foodservice facilities that offer portable, grab-and-go food options, one quarter of the total foodservice revenue is generated by such items, according to the 2010 Portability Study conducted by FoodService Director.

Our study surveyed more than 300 operators in schools, colleges, hospitals, long-term and senior care facilities and business locations, and 73% said they currently offer grab-and-go service. The percentage is highest in B&I (95%) and colleges (88%), while college operators reported the highest average percentage of total revenue (32%).

Most operators surveyed (52%) added that they expect the volume of takeout business to grow in the coming year. Seventy-two percent of college operators and 66% of hospital directors expect to see an increase in their grab-and-go revenue.

Customers’ busy lifestyles was the reason most often cited by operators as the reason for the expected increase, with 54% of respondents indicating that “customers have less time to spend in the dining area.” “Stated customer demand” and “increase in customer base” each were noted by 45% of operators, while 17% said “less seating capacity” and 11% cited “higher profits on prepackaged items due to labor savings.”

Conversely, only 5% said they expect to see a drop in grab-and-go business, with a decline in customer base or a decrease in demand as the reasons most often cited.

A wide range of items are sold in the grab-in-go format, with salads from the salad bar being the most popular.

Most operators (59%) said that grab-and-go service “saves labor in a way that boosts profitability, with 77% of college operators and 68% of school foodservice directors agreeing with that statement. Interestingly, 61% of B&I operators disagreed, possibly seeing the takeout option more as a customer convenience than a labor-saving device.

Also, operators by and large agree that point-of-sale merchandising trumps marketing tools in building grab-and-go sales. Only 21% of operators—with 3% of schools and 15% of hospitals being the lowest—use such items as promotions, coupons and discounts to attract customers, with most believing that dedicated take-away stations and improved merchandising displays and packaging materials will drive traffic.

Finally, biodegradable containers continue to rank among the less likely packaging option for grab-and-go service, with only 32% of operators offering such containers. Biodegradability is most often embraced by college (57%) and B&I (42%) operators.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
usa map regions

From global flavors to clean labels, it’s clear that some buzzworthy noncommercial menu trends are universal. But FoodService Director ’s 2016 surveys have revealed some noteworthy differences within segments in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West regions. We combed through data from our College and University Census, Hospital Census and Long-Term Care/Senior Living Census for the most surprising variations in menu trends and expectations.

1. Plant-based dishes are on the rise at Midwestern colleges and universities

Seventy-seven percent of C&U operators in this region say...

Industry News & Opinion

Ithaca College is turning to new solutions to address overcrowding at a dining hall that is already understaffed, The Ithacan reports .

The Ithaca, N.Y., school's Terrace Dining Hall has seen a large influx of students this year after being renovated, causing lines to wrap around the dining hall.

To ease congestion, Sodexo Area General Manager Jeffrey Scott told The Ithacan that the eatery has added a separate entree line, as well as signage displaying menu items at less-crowded food stations in an effort to draw students to the other side of the dining hall.

The...

Menu Development
mac cheese pizza

Anybody think the popularity of mac and cheese has played out? Anyone?

More likely, foodservice directors are trying to bake new life into the comfort staple by tweaking the presentation and components. Here’s a snapshot of how that rejuvenation effort looks in streetside restaurants.

Industry News & Opinion

Noncommercial foodservice operations and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to set aside the rules, which are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

If the court rejects the request, restaurants and other businesses will be required after that date to pay overtime to any salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a week and earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis.

The...

FSD Resources