How an upscale restaurant group shifted to offer memorable takeout options at scale
Type of restaurant:
6 locations in
Average number of takeout
order pickups per special day,
ordered on OpenTable and
through the restaurant
Estimated number of diners
that are new from special day takeout
Days in advance diners started
placing orders before a special day
Puffer Malarkey Collective, an upscale restaurant group from celebrated chef Brian Malarkey, never dabbled in takeout—at least not until the COVID pandemic. Without a clear timeline of when they would be open for dine-in service, its restaurants Herb & Wood and Herb & Sea shifted to takeout. Offering takeout meals for the special days helped keep some staff employed, drive revenue, and pay rent for the restaurant group. With OpenTable takeout, they drive revenue and see an average of 250 takeout order pickups per holiday or event, ordered on OpenTable and through the restaurant.
When local regulations due to the pandemic kept restaurants closed for dine-in service for the winter holidays, Herb & Wood and Herb & Sea shifted gears to offer special holiday takeout meals via OpenTable takeout.
Lauren Winget, director of marketing at Puffer Malarkey Collective, says takeout on OpenTable is easy to use and they can organize their menus the way they want. “When the holiday rolled around, we chose OpenTable takeout because we can feature our special menus for holidays up front and we have the personal touch and support system of our account manager,” she says.
For Herb & Wood and Herb & Sea, offering takeout on OpenTable was a natural extension of their dine-in experience: they could manage all offerings on one platform both their staff and their guests are familiar with.
The restaurants focused on family-style meals for special days to bring their restaurant ethos to life. “We have our chef, Brian Malarkey, and we want this meal to feel like an extension of him,” Winget says. “If he popped into your home, what would he cook you for dinner?”
Additionally, family meals offer operational benefits—they’re easier to prep and the team can more accurately plan for food costs and staff needs. With family meal takeout offerings, about 10 staff members prepare the food and run operations, compared with the more than 150 staff members required for dine-in service. The meals also require less time to put together and pack up and therefore bring in greater revenue.
Winget attributes the success of their special day takeout to the reputation of their restaurant and chef, as well as the reach to diners on OpenTable. With takeout on the OpenTable network, Herb & Wood and Herb & Sea are able to elevate their takeout menu and reach new diners. Winget estimates that 40% of orders are from first-time diners looking for holiday or event-specific takeout.
Moving forward, the team is expanding to offer new and chef-driven experiences, partnering with local florist Native Poppy, and leveling up what they’ve already done. They’ll also keep add-ons coming, such as caviar, pork belly appetizers, baking at-home experiences, and a pop-up wine shop.
“For Thanksgiving 2021, I see us doing a takeout meal alongside our dine-in, same with Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Consumers’ habits have changed and we still want to provide for people who aren’t comfortable venturing out yet.”
Lauren Winget, Director of Marketing
Puffer Malarkey Collective, Southern California
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