To-go is becoming go-to for many restaurants

- If you don’t have the time to sit at their tables, more and more restaurants are saying: take the food to whatever table you want.

Experts say to-go options are quickly taking over as a trend in the sit-down dining industry. It’s even growing so popular that some restaurants are taking out the tables all together.

Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands just opened up a new test restaurant in their home town: an Outback Steakhouse/Carrabba’s Italian Grill Express. The store-front serves most of the same menu customers would find at any of the restaurants’ locations, only it’s to-go and delivery only.

"The pricing is exactly the same as it is at any other Outback or Carrabba’s in this area,” said Bloomin’ Brands Representative Chris Demery, “there's just a $4 delivery fee if you choose to have it delivered."

To-go only has long been a mainstay for many pizza and Chinese restaurants, and though it is fairly new in the casual dining sector experts expect it may become more common as well.

"You know if you don't change with everybody, don't grow with the times, you get left behind,” said Robb Seltzer from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality.

Seltzer said to-go options have really become a must for many restaurants as they work to keep up with the “on the go culture” of today. That culture’s been growing for decades, but Seltzer said consumers’ tastes have evolved, and the drive-through and fast food options just aren’t enough anymore.

"They still want to have quality dining, but they want to have it at home or wherever they happen to be, so they're pushing the restaurant operators to provide them with the same good food when they sit,” he said.

Bloomin’ Brands plans to open another Express location in the Tampa area in the coming months.

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