Many carryout-only businesses are in dire need of branding. Doing business without dine-in options to impress guests can make marketing more difficult.

In recent years, some food service businesses adopted carryout-only status. They no longer employ waiters and waitresses to serve customers in dining room settings. Food is handed off in drive-thru windows, inside pickup counters or third-party delivery services.

This new way of doing business shouldn’t nix branding efforts. On the contrary, it’s more important than ever to market your business and engage customers for future sales.

It’s easy and affordable to boost your good reputation by offering convenience with a little fun.

Here are a few ways to promote your brand and keep customers coming back:

Creative ideas for carryout-only businesses

Carry out promo items
  • Slip ’em a can cooler or Koozie®. Surprise your customers by giving them a low-cost can cooler with each order. Place your logo on each koozie® with a message such as “Good food, good mood.” Premium Foam Can Coolers are available in more than 50 colors and cost about 65 cents each for an order of 300.
  • Keep them safe at home. Offer free delivery or partner with a third-party agent such as GrubHub, DoorDash or Uber Eats to provide the service if available in your area. This is crucial for the elderly or anyone without transportation.
  • Customize your food/drink containers. Use personalized disposable cups, containers and napkins for your carryout business. Placing your business logo on these items gives your company a professional look without spending a fortune. You’re going to buy these disposable items anyway, right? Why not use customized products that will advertise your business at the same time?
  • Identify your staff with shirts. Every employee who interacts face-to-face with customers should wear a personalized T-shirt of custom polo shirt. These apparel items help clients easily identify workers and gives you another opportunity to show off your brand!
  • Flaunt your app. Use your website and social media channels to advertise your company’s app. Offer a percentage off each order placed via your app. Don’t have one? It’s time to get one. People are more likely to choose your business over another if your app is just one tap away.
  • Offer kids’ meal deals. Parents will love the convenience of ready-to-go meals for kids as they navigate today’s busy lifestyles. Be sure to offer healthy food options. Include with each order some type of school supplies with your logo as your gift to the littles.
  • Create lunch specials with quirky names. It may be easier for your staff to offer a few daily specials instead of a full menu at lunch. Condense your offerings and give those special meals crazy names to spark interest such as “Lettuce Do Lunch” for a cobb salad and breadstick combo.
  • Give discounts for ordering during off-hours. Lots of diners and small bars are getting slammed during peak meal times. Reduce the chaos by giving customers a discount for ordering during slower hours.
  • Send a message from the heart. Show you care by displaying a banner or banner stand with a heartfelt message in your drive-through or wherever customers are served. Let them know you appreciate their business.
  • Provide make-at-home options. Offer family-style menu options that can be picked up anytime and baked at home when needed. Package cookie decorating kits with frosting and sprinkles to keep little ones busy!
  • Host online contests and giveaways. Use this opportunity to grow your social media by requesting “likes” and “shares” to enter trivia and other contests. Award each winner with food items, drink deals or customized promotional products with your logo for ongoing branding opportunities!

Menus are a must!

online ordering

I’d like to offer one other piece of advice from a personal point of view: Be sure your food and drink menus are easy to access and read on your website or social media channels. I’ve seen pictures of menus posted on Facebook that are out of focus, shown sideways and very frustrating to read.

Also, be sure the menu and prices you advertise are up to date.

Deliver Great Food + Affordable Marketing!

Written by our experts for you!

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