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Busy consumers want dining options that fit their hectic schedules. Grab and go foodservice gets their attention by shaving time off traditional carry-out. Combine that convenience with satisfying customer appetites for quality, and you win repeat business.
Buying a meal on the run isn’t new, but Millennials drive its current evolution. As a foodservice professional, you understand its potential across all demographics. By applying smart grab and go menu ideas to your operations, you can turn this trend into a profitable business strategy.
Grab and Go Food Ideas for 5 Foodservice Settings
Grab and go is the ultimate alternative to turning busy restaurant tables. It keeps school cafeteria lines moving and gives grocery store shoppers even more choices. The ideas for these five foodservice businesses are great examples of how easily the grab and go food concept can be adapted to different settings.
1. Grab and Go Restaurant Ideas
A grab and go business model takes the effort out of traditional to-go orders, and that’s a big plus for restaurant guests and commercial kitchen staff. These are a few examples of time-saving ideas that serve up carry-out convenience without having to process incoming to-go orders.
• Showcase grab and go salads in salad shakers that make it easy for customers to pick up a favorite.
• Offer two sizes of chilled pasta salads that can serve as either fast sides or dinner entrees.
• Market rotating daily specials made available only as grab and go meals.
• Encourage extra sales with a display of ready-to-go housemade desserts.
2. Grab and Go School Lunch Ideas
It’s always a challenge to keep kids in school cafeterias excited about making healthy choices. Grab and go food items are easy to change out, and that versatility keeps curious young appetites on the right nutritional track.
• Grab and go parfaits keep breakfast at school cafeterias kid-friendly cool with layered yogurt, fresh fruit and cereal.
• Healthy wraps filled with lean meats and light dressings make it easier for small hands to enjoy grab and go meals.
• Nutritional, low-calorie veggie calzones serve up yummy lunches for the younger grab and go crowd.
3. Grab and Go Menu Ideas for Stores
Grocery stores are uniquely positioned to offer grab and go meal solutions. Customers can complement shopping and dinner planning with convenient, ready-to-eat options. If they don’t want to cook at home, grab and go gives them appetizing alternatives to frozen dinners.
• Market easy dinner combinations by locating grab and go side dish displays next to meat department cases.
• Bundle proteins and vegetables together in meal packages that go straight from shopping carts to home ovens.
• Make a positive statement with grab and go selections that reflect the store’s commitment to ethical sourcing.
4. Grab and Go Deli Ideas
Loyal customers count on their neighborhood deli for quality cold cuts and fresh breads. They’ve come to expect healthy menu choices from national deli chains. Both small and large foodservice models can streamline service and offer deli goodness with grab and go food items.
• Pre-packaged cold cuts let customers buy a deli’s best and build their own sandwiches at home.
• Eye-catching mason jar salads attract grab and go attention with romaine hearts, tomatoes and chopped eggs.
• Take-and-bake pizzas offer a fast alternative to deli sandwiches without slowing down counter service.
5. Grab and Go Dining Ideas for Businesses
Many businesses cater to employees with amenities that include on-site dining rooms and corporate cafeterias. In-house kitchens can extend their services with a variety of grab and go meals. On-the-job dining options give a busy workforce flexibility that increases efficiency and productivity.
• Healthy grab and go meals like entree salads and poke bowls offer employees nutritious alternatives to fast food.
• Let workers build lunches and dinners with mix-and-match portions of separately packaged vegetables and proteins.
• Grab and go selections can include dietary preferences like vegan and gluten-free as well as choices that address special dietary needs and food allergies.
Your Source for Industry News
Here at Hitchcock Farms, we do all we can to stay ahead of trends and on top of the latest news. The grab and go concept is a great example of how well our industry adapts as we turn new challenges into new revenue streams.
The foodservice business is constantly evolving, and we enjoy being a part of all the positive changes. It’s our pleasure to be your trusted source for industry information. We’re always proud to provide you with premium produce and great customer service too.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.