Takeout trend likely here to stay, Chattanooga restaurant owners say – Chattanooga Times Free Press

Champy’s owner Seth Champion used to only schedule extra people to handle takeout when the weather was bad, which tends to divert diners from the restaurant to the carryout window, he says.

With the past year’s forecast cloudy, so to speak, his three restaurants have been flooded with takeout orders. And the trend doesn’t show signs of receding.

“People got used to going through the window,” he says of the continued deluge, adding, “But dine-in is back 100%. We’re just as busy as we’ve ever been.”

The volume of takeout has been so great, Champion changed the kitchen setup at each of his locations.

“We have split our expo lines to where we have one expo line that does nothing but to-go (food) and another for in-house (meals),” he says. “We’re essentially running two kitchens now.”

That was somewhat easy at his East Ridge location, which he was able to tailor before its opening in the midst of the pandemic. At the Lee Highway and flagship M.L. King Boulevard restaurants, however, “We had to get creative with the space we have,” says Champion.

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Staff file photo / Champy’s owner Seth Champion says takeout has always been strong at his three locations, perhaps because “all our products hold well for travel,” but the Mississippi Delta Homemade Hot Tamales shown here are “probably our No. 1 to-go item.”