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Prepackaged salads on shelf

How to Build a Grab-and-Go Restaurant Menu

Restaurant grab-and-go pantries are a perfect way to grow customer visits and loyalty while introducing another income stream for a restaurant.

Before building out a grab-and-go menu, take some time to reflect on who will purchase from the pantry, and what you might offer. Taking the time to plan a grab-and-go pantry that makes sense for both your brand and your customers will save money and wasted product.

  1. Consider your target audience: What types of food are your customers most interested in? For example, a grab-and-go menu at a coffee shop might focus on pastries and sandwiches, while a grab-and-go menu at a pizzeria might include calzones and cold cuts.
  2. Offer a variety of savory and sweet options: Include a range of options that will appeal to different tastes. Note items for dietary restrictions that will appeal to vegetarians, vegans, and people with nut or gluten allergies.
  3. Keep it simple: The goal of a grab-and-go menu is to offer convenient, quick meals, so try to keep the menu as simple as possible. Stick to a few key items that can be easily prepared in advance and quickly packaged for takeaway. Include a prepared on/best by date on package to build consumer trust.
  4. Make it visually appealing: The packaging and presentation of grab-and-go items is important, as it can influence a customer’s decision to purchase. Use attractive, clear-top packaging and showcase colorful, fresh items.
  5. Price items appropriately: The pricing of grab-and-go items should be competitive with similar items offered by other restaurants or nearby shops. Factor in the cost of ingredients, labor, and packaging when setting your prices.
  6. Make payment easy: The idea is convenience, so have a dedicated cashier or an area to swipe-to-pay quickly.
  7. Promote your offering: Depending on where you’ve placed your grab-and-go area, not every customer may see it. Place signage on tables and at the counter reminding guests about the grab-and-go option. Post photos of grab-and-go offerings on social media to drum up additional interest.

When thinking about which food and beverage items to include in your grab-and-go area, consider the ideas below, keeping in mind your target audience and individual brand for each.

  1. Sandwiches and wraps: Premade sandwiches and wraps can be a convenient option for customers on the go. Offer a variety of protein options, such as turkey, chicken, roast beef, and vegetarian options like plant-based meat, hummus, or avocado.
  2. Salads: Packaged salads can be a healthy grab-and-go option. Offer a range of greens, such as mixed greens, spinach, and kale, and add a variety of toppings such as nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
  3. Snacks: Individual-sized bags of chips, crackers, meats, cheeses, and nuts can be convenient for customers looking for a quick, protein-packed snack. Small charcuterie platters are great, too.
  4. Desserts: Packaged cookies, pastries, and other sweet treats are a popular grab-and-go item. Fresh, seasonal, colorful fruit cups are a popular choice, too.
  5. Beverages: Offer a selection of bottled, mixed, or canned beverages, including water, soda, coffee, smoothies, juices, lemonade, and tea.
  6. Soups: Prepackaged soup is a convenient grab-and-go option for customers looking for a quick, warming meal.
  7. Frozen meals: Offer a selection of frozen meals that can be easily reheated at home, such as burritos, pizzas, and family-size pasta and casserole dishes.

Ultimately, choosing to introduce grab-and-go menu items inside a restaurant is a process of trial and error. You may find that customers enjoy a wide range of snacks more than breakfast or dinner options. Monitor your sell-through closely and you can pivot as necessary.


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.

Grab-and-Go Beverages Satisfy Snackers

Beverages are popular snack items—especially at midmorning and midafternoon. Try adding specialty coffees, juices, iced coffees, and chai to your grab-and-go snack program for extra sales.