Barilla & Restaurants Rise: A Q&A with our Experts
See answers to the top questions from the Q&A portion of the webinar from Barilla’s experts below:
Q: What do you change about your operations for gluten-free orders? Will gluten-free pastas work in a takeout context?
A: The short answer is yes! But it will take some special handling. We’ve created this guide to help with cross-contamination and packaging concerns in the takeout and delivery context.
Q: What pasta shapes/cuts are must haves on a limited takeout/delivery menu?
A: Your goal should be to keep it simple and streamlined, while still providing choice, customization and differentiation. In our tests, a range of 5-8 pasta menu items was optimal. You’ll want a mix of short and long cuts – while short cuts like penne and rigatoni travel better, long cuts like spaghetti and linguine are customer favorites.
When building your menu, focus on SKU maximization and cross-utilization. With 4 base sauces: a meat sauce, a bechamel-based sauce, a tomato-based sauce, and a vegetable stock-velouté, you can offer a wide number of menu items and combinations. Mix that with 2-3 proteins, 3-5 seasonal veggies, and you’ll have a lot of room for creativity and customization.
Here’s an example menu:
Q: What’s the right portion size for a family meal pasta?
A: A typical restaurant portion is 3-4 oz dry pasta per person. Assuming family meals are built for four people, 12-16oz dry pasta is a good range.
Q: How long do you think guests will want the “classics” and comfort food before they’re ready for something new?
A: Research from Datassential suggests that guests will be ready to branch out by their 3rd or 4th visit. We recommend slowly incorporating LTOs or seasonal specials to keep these guests coming back.
Q: What methods of marketing within 3rd party platforms work best?
A: 3rd party platforms constrain the types of marketing that you can do, but generally those methods do work. Remember that a user of 3rd party delivery is already hungry when they’re using the app, so free appetizers, pricing incentives or BOGOs can be quite effective at motivating purchase. Testing a variety of approaches will help identify what’s best for your brand.
Q: How do you plan for future LTO’s during this difficult reduced menu cycle?
A: We’d recommend you balance the need for innovation with the efficiency and other advantages of a reduced menu. Just as guests are accepting of a reduced menu, they will likely be amenable to less LTOs, less often.
Q: Are there specific “to go” packaging tips you can share?
A: Packaging is one of the best branding opportunities you have in takeout/delivery. Use it! Consumer data is showing that safety measures like tamper-proof seals, and sustainability cues like offering to remove disposable cutlery are seen as valuable. Also, taking the time to add a personal note or thank you adds a (safe) human touch that’s much appreciated these days.