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Covid-19: why I have not ordered a take-away

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With the Covid crisis, one of the most impacted sectors has undoubtedly been the restaurant industry. Between restrictive measures and imposed closures, the only way out has been takeaway sales.  Presented as a panacea, the takeaway has only been adopted by 5% of restaurants.

Despite my proximity to many of the restaurant industry’s representatives, I have not once ordered a takeaway in the past 12 months.

Why? Because the pleasure is not the same.

3 arguments that demonstrate that the takeaway is not profitable

  • only 5% of restaurants have started offering takeaway: if it was so profitable, why haven’t the other 95% started? Because fixed costs are high, even for takeaway!
  • 25%: the delivery platforms’ commission. When you know the profit margins of the restaurant industry, giving away 25% is like losing money
  • Because the most profitable products (drinks) are not sold in takeaway. In restaurants, the profitability is made on the “extras”: wine, champagne, drinks. In takeaway, these high-margin products are not sold.

Going to a restaurant is a social experience, a privileged moment, that we savor (literally and figuratively). The takeaway is the antithesis of shared pleasure. Everything is delivered simultaneously; there is no waiting between dishes to enjoy the presence of others.

I would venture to say that waiting is an essential part of the customer experience in a restaurant. The “downtime” is as significant as the tasting time. To meet, to disconnect, to share simple pleasures, are in my opinion, a source of happiness (provided that the wait is not too long, of course 🙂

Beyond the food itself, the restaurant places us in an environment conducive to living an experience.

For me, the takeaway does not correspond to this moment of sharing. The takeaway corresponds to the search for a solution to a problem: to absorb calories in a minimum of time.

In the restaurant, there is an assumed part of inefficiency. Factually, we spend more time than necessary. And that’s the added value.

So please, don’t talk to me about takeaways. I’ll go on a restaurant orgy when they reopen. But for now, I’m on a diet.

To conclude

Eating out is an experience. Ordering food from a takeaway is not.

Eating out involves a relational dimension. Ordering from a takeaway is purely transactional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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