Take-away: tips from the expert

Absolute trend: take-away. In the interview with industry professional Bernd Malter, there are expert tips on packaging quality, sustainable packaging alternatives, menus and serving, and waiting times for take-away meals.

Kellner hinter der Theke überreicht Kundin eine Take-away Papiertüte

Interview with industry professional Bernd Malter

Ed.: Take-away is becoming more and more trendy. Mr. Malter, you have been working in the industry for many years and also know your way around takeaway. What is particularly important when it comes to packaging?

Bernd Malter: Very important when it comes to packaging: Quality! The packaging should be of high quality and easy to close. In addition, the packaging material should be recyclable and visually appealing. There should also be the possibility to personalize a packaging with his individual logo or a saying. This can be accompanied by a small handout that provides information about the packaging material and explains how it contributes to environmental protection. On the back of the insert one could give for example still another view for the coming week map. The quality should be in the foreground, not the price.

Collage aus drei Bildern mit Take-away-Geschirr aus Zuckerrohr

Ed.: Whether sustainable or not, disposable packaging always creates waste. Are there any other alternatives for takeaway food?.

Bernd Malter: Yes, they exist! Some restaurateurs have introduced a deposit system. In this system, takeaway food is served on classic tableware. A deposit is then charged on plates, containers and the like. The advantage is that the dishes look much better, keep food warm better and waste can be reduced. Porcelain is impractical here, however. Better options include enamelware with matching lids (microwaveable), or jars with swing tops for soups and sauces. Customers can also bring their own containers to the food bank and have them filled on site. In practice, however, it is seldom possible to dispense completely with disposable products. Especially guests who drop by spontaneously and want their food quickly and easily, disposable tableware is the right option. That's why it's all in the mix!

Ed.: Which dishes are particularly suitable for the take-away sector?

Bernd Malter: Generally, many dishes lend themselves to takeaway. In general, you should keep your range small. A limited selection of eight to ten dishes, which change at one- to two-week intervals, is quite sufficient. Of these, one dish should be vegan and one vegetarian. However, when selecting the dishes, you have to be clear about which target group you are aiming at and how you address them.

Expert tip

Design your menu in a modern way! For example, label small dishes with terms like "for the small appetite" or "small".

The following principle should be observed: "Rethink your offer, but never leave the form of your premises". This means that in addition to proven "racers", there is also room for new dishes. For the colder months, soups or stews are a must. The advantage here is that there is a good use of goods with a simple preparation at the same time. You can also feel free to get inventive here: A potato and porcini soup, Asian chicken soup or a carrot and ginger combination can substitute for a classic broth. ".

For meat dishes, use well-done. One idea for this would be a classic roast, with the sauce served in an extra bowl. The trendy burger theme can also be wonderfully implemented in the take-away area. Instead of wheat buns, which unfortunately quickly become soggy, potato rösti can be used. A top-quality patty is important for this. And of course, in addition to classic meat patties, vegan and vegetarian versions should also be offered here.

Expert tip

Of course, take-away classics such as currywurst should not be missing from your menu! Wedges are suitable as a side dish: these do not become soft as quickly as fries, but have a similar use of goods.

In addition to classics can also be seasonal. Especially for the autumn days game is excellent, for the Christmas season can be a duck or goose to go. An example of a fish dish would be a warm smoked trout. You can also place cold meals like sausage salad in a jar on your menu. The important thing is to combine creativity and boldness with tried and true classics. New, unusual ideas can help you stand out from your competition.

Ed.: Should you attach importance to the arrangement of the dish?

Bernd Malter: Yes, definitely. Because here, too, the principle applies: "The eye eats with you". However, it is important to be aware of which garnishes are suitable and which are not. As garnishes can be used herbs or a slice of lemon, tomatoes are rather less suitable.

Expert tip

Present the food to your guests before packing it! So they see that you also attach importance to the arrangement of the dish.

Ed.: Does a delivery service make sense for restaurateurs?

Bernd Malter: Definitely. Especially in times like the Corona pandemic, a delivery service can provide another important financial support. However, there are also some things to consider here: The radius should not be chosen too large. A delivery radius of seven kilometers in the city is perfectly adequate. In a rural area, this can be set somewhat higher, but not more than ten kilometers. Delivery should then only be made with a minimum order value or a flat-rate travel charge. If you can't or don't want to use your own staff for this, you could also form a cooperation with a cab company as a delivery company in urban areas, for example. An app can be used to organize this structure. This should offer both a delivery and a pickup service. A precise definition of the pickup or delivery times should also be included in the app.

Ed.: What else is important to you to mention when it comes to take-away?

Bernd Malter: A very important point is the waiting time. This should be controlled so that the guest does not have to wait too long for his meal. The core of the take-away sector is that it should be fast, simple and uncomplicated. The price does not play the decisive role here. It should always be ensured that just as high-quality goods are used as in the restaurant business. Even after Corona, the take-away sector will play an important role in gastronomy. Particularly as a result of the crisis, the population is realizing how simple and uncomplicated it is to take away one's food without long waiting times and enjoy it at home. It is therefore important for restaurateurs to recognize the potential in the take-away sector!

Info to the expert

Bernd Malter is the owner of a cooking studio and chairman of the traditional professional chefs' association "Münchner Koch-Club Bavaria 1899 e.V." He was a member of the board of the Association of German Chefs for 8 years and regional chairman of the Chefs of Bavaria for 4 years. As a professional he offers high quality individual planning and consulting to gastronomy and franchise companies.