FINE DINING Fine dining and takeout/delivery; almost sounds like an oxymoron. The whole purpose of fine dining is to enjoy cuisine in a wonderful atmosphere and to receive great service. So what’s changed to make fine dining a candidate for takeout containers? It’s driven mainly by a new audience that chooses to dine on premise occasionally but also to enjoy the same delicious food in the comfort of their home or outside location. This is the challenge: how does a fine dining white tablecloth restaurant keep its loyal patrons happy and satisfied when they choose take out or have their food delivered? The answer is wrapped up in a three-legged stool: takeout menu items, the correct containers and the delivery method. The fine dining restaurateur need not have the same menu for takeout and delivery as it does for dining on premise. Items should be selected that can travel well and taste good after 20 – 30 minutes in the containers. Containers should have compartments to keep foods separated and separate containers should be used for hot and cold items. For example, a leaf salad will wilt quickly if placed with food in a hot container. Restaurants should select a delivery partner that could ideally reach customers within a 15 – 20 minute time frame and have the means to keep the respective foods hot and cold and delivered with similar service. Consumers list other reasons they prefer takeout and delivery of fine dining. Transportation conflicts, too tired, can’t get a reservation and of course, to take home leftovers from their dining experience or a great dessert for later.