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woman with child at store selecting grab and go meal

6 Tips for Grab-and-Go Success

Grab-and-go continues to grow. Jump on the opportunity. Learn what items, presentations, and packaging sell best.

Sales happen when a solution meets consumer needs and demands, a truth that foodservice operators can use to build on and enhance existing business.

Grab-and-go, although not exactly new to the dining scene, has become a revved-up growth vehicle, its strong showing within several industry segments a boon, blessing, and smart way to target time-pressed patrons.

Spurred on during the pandemic, consumers continue to show strong affinity for grab-and-go options. Grocery stores, c-stores, lodging, hospitals, and college and university settings have a big foothold in the arena with competitive opportunity remaining strong for fast-food and fast-casual settings. A combo of made-to-order fare and grab-and-go items can be easily implemented in many operations, the grab-and-go sales often incremental.

Grab-and-go offerings are highly visual. Customers see exactly what they will get, both the items themselves and also the assurance that they’re freshly prepared, exactly the types of practical and emotional tugs that lead to sales.

Pro Tips for Grab-and-Go Success:

  1. Create inviting displays that are within patrons’ sightlines and that are easily accessed for mulling, browsing, and shopping. Shelf-stable items simply need floor space for kiosks, racks, or shelves while perishable foods and ready-to-drink beverages require refrigerated display cases.
  2. Give plenty of attention to the packaging, selecting the most appropriate container for each item. Keeping the food safe and in good form is a top consideration, with full visibility of contents a strong key to sales strength. Clear lids are pretty much non-negotiable, so patrons know exactly what’s inside. When possible, consider eco-friendly packaging to reduce plastic waste.
  3. Don’t necessarily trust that the ‘locking’ mechanisms on clamshell containers will stay secure after purchase, especially considering that they might be tossed into a satchel or backpack. Adhesive labels help keep them securely closed. In lieu of that, sturdy tape can save the day.
  4. Label each item in clear, appealing words that help the sell. “Turkey and bacon sandwich” doesn’t have quite the same appetizing come-on as “Maple-roasted turkey breast with applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese mayo, and cranberry relish on sage brioche roll.” Freshness dates also are helpful as are known allergens, reheating instructions, and special attributes such as gluten- and/or dairy-free, and plant-based.
  5. Cross merchandise like crazy to build out sales. Add beverage options including bottled waters, sodas, coffee, iced tea, milk, and juices. A selection of salty snacks, protein bars, and fresh cut fruit have easy add-on salability. Little snack packs can be terrifically appealing, almost like little charcuterie boards. A few slices of cured meat and sausage, cheese, olives, crackers, and perhaps a sweet such as a cookie or brownie appeal as between-meal snack items.
  6. Display sturdier entrées even during the lunch daypart. They may just spark sales for dinnertime solutions and lead to two-in-one, now-and-later sales.

The information provided is based on a general industry overview and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique, and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.

person at table using chopsticks to eat an entree in a bowl

The Future of Grab-and-Go

Discover how the current and future state of grab-and-go can help you plan new ready-to-eat promotions for your food and beverage business.