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Do you need a takeout window forever more?

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Restaurant interior with blue, yellow and white tiles, pastry case, and a blonde woman leaning out of a takeout window.
Karen LuKanic at Chef Zorba's credits her new to-go window with changing the way she runs her business. / Courtesy Chef Zorba's
Man's hand giving thumbs up gesture against yellow background.
Yay! / Copyright: Natali Busarova

Last summer, Karen LuKanic of Chef Zorba’s in Denver took the bold step of installing a takeout window (and reengineering the face of the building). With takeout now making up 50 percent of her sales, she’s never looked back. “It has changed our business model permanently,” LuKanic says. “Even as we increase capacity inside, we haven’t seen a falloff. And we’re not trading customers.” In fact, LuKanic reports the window draws more frequent users and nabs higher guest check averages.

Woman's hand giving thumbs down gesture against white background.
Nay! / Copyright: Iurii Stepanov

During the spring shutdown of 2020, Adam Malmgren, co-owner of Mi Chola in Aspen, pushed open a street-facing window and began serving takeout. Prior to the pandemic, takeaway business made up just eight percent of nightly sales, but when that became 100 percent, Malmgren said the makeshift takeout station was a lifesaver. “We hustled out that window and it saved us,” he says. But even as to-go orders remain a solid 15 to 20 percent of sales and the town has professed its love for the window, Malmgren says he won’t reopen it. “It was a lot more work—we had to work twice as hard.”

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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