Marketing takeout windows

It’s not enough to install a takeout window—it must be marketed.

empty drive thru window

The University of Vermont Medical Center cafes often overflowed with diners at lunchtime. But adding another cafe wouldn’t be enough. “We definitely needed another place for people,” says Garden Atrium supervisor Tanya McDonald.

That’s why the UVM Medical Center this fall opened a takeout window in its new Garden Atrium cafe, a part of the design scheme before the cafe even opened last year.

Not wanting to pressure the staff—and struggling with technological delays—dining services began with a monthslong soft launch, opening the takeout window to about 200 employees through word-of-mouth, rack cards and a limited email blast. Later, McDonald sent an email announcing online ordering to the entire staff.

Turnout was still at a trickle in the first days after the announcement, with only 11 orders placed on the second day. But with plans to promote the new offerings on Facebook and the intranet, McDonald is confident the window will soon ramp up to its goal of 120 meals per day and eventually expand menu offerings. “We all sit at computers,” she says. “I really think once people do use it, they will enjoy it.”

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