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What are the Most Popular Types of Takeout Foods?

Diana Bocco
Updated May 16, 2024
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Takeout, also known as take-away in Britain and carry-out in some parts of the US, is food ordered to eat somewhere else, outside of the restaurant's premises. Restaurants that offer it may or may not have table service.

Traditionally, takeout consisted of fast food such as burgers and pizza, with companies such as McDonald's and Dominoes' Pizza leading the way. Later on, Chinese restaurants became the leaders in the business, especially in the US, with Mexican and Japanese restaurants following close behind. In the UK, were the Indian population is large, one of the most popular types of takeout is Indian food.

Despite the fact that the word takeout brings to mind the accelerated life of the 21st century, the truth is that people have been buying food to take away since the time of the Roman Empire. It was actually extremely popular in the 12th century, when food vendors set up shop in the main square of the city to offer ready-to-eat foods. The idea of sitting somewhere other than your home to eat is a newer concept by at least 200 years.

Many shops that sell food "to-go" did not set out directly to work as takeout places, although that is exactly what they do. Fresh deli sandwiches and salad bars are classic examples. Most people who shop there are making a quick stop to grab something during lunch break; many of them will actually return to their desks and eat there. In the UK, fish and chip shops are usually take-away only, as are kebab and sausage snack bars in Germany.

Aside from fast food restaurants, more and more traditional eateries are now offering takeout options to customers who prefer to eat somewhere else. Orders can be placed in person, over the phone, and, in some cases, over the Internet. Food that is delivered to the customer's home is sometimes called takeout, although this is technically a "delivery."

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Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.
Discussion Comments
By feasting — On Dec 06, 2012

We do lunch takeout in the office whenever we have a really busy day. One person will go and pick up all the orders, and the company even pays for our food.

We usually order from a place that offers chicken tenders, fries, and salads. Pretty much everyone is happy with this food.

We have also been known to order from a sandwich shop that is rather delicious. Those orders get more complicated, though, because everyone wants something different on their sandwiches, and it can be hard for the person placing the order to keep it straight.

By Oceana — On Dec 06, 2012

In my house, pizza is the takeout food we get the most. We live about twenty-five minutes from the pizza place, so after we call in the order and drive to the place, the pizza is ready to go.

Somehow, it is still nice and warm once we get it on the table. I guess those boxes keep it insulated.

By cloudel — On Dec 05, 2012

@Kristee – You would save money if you picked up the food yourself instead of getting delivery from restaurants. I'm assuming that you tip the delivery guy, as almost everyone does. That is one expense you wouldn't have if you picked the food up yourself.

It's even cheaper than eating at the restaurant, because you also don't have to tip a waiter. You are paying solely for the food and not the service.

I have had takeout delivered to my house a couple of times, but only when I absolutely could not make it to the place myself. I make it a point to find time to go pick up the food, because those few bucks I save add up over time.

By Kristee — On Dec 04, 2012

I do find it strange that the places that we call food “takeout” when it is actually food ordered for delivery. I almost never have the time to go by a restaurant and take out the food myself, so I just call them up and have them send it over.

Are there any advantages that takeout food has over food that is delivered to my home? Is there any reason for me to stop by the restaurant instead of letting the food come to me?

By anon244033 — On Jan 30, 2012

@pinkandred: 40 hours is a normal work week. Unless you have children or very different work schedules, it doesn't sound like a very compelling reason to have take out so often. It sounds more like a reason not to cook.

It is best when you know what goes into your food! Try checking out the cleanliness of some of the kitchens that you order from. (you may not want to order from them again).

By seekinfo2 — On May 08, 2011

@pinkandred- I agree with you about being too busy and tired to cook. We get all kinds of take out food, including pizza, Chinese, and sandwiches. None of us are overweight, but we have very active lifestyles. I do worry about how unhealthy some of the food is, but what am I to do? I can't cook and drive at the same time.

By pinkandred — On May 05, 2011

I know my wife and I get takeout boxes of Chinese food at least two times a week. We both work over 40 hours a week, and neither one of us feels like cooking.

I know they say takeout Chinese is bad for you, but my wife and I both have very active jobs. We work off what we eat, and eat more healthy foods during the rest of the week.

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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