Takeout & Deliveryby
Imagine this: You order your favorite meal online from a local restaurant, and thirty minutes later it arrives…cold.
How do you feel?
If you’re ravenous, you may eat it. But chances are you’ll probably feel unhappy about the entire experience. Will you be rushing to order from that restaurant again?
Whether you’re a restaurateur that offers delivery or takeout for pick-up, the right restaurant food packaging helps keep the food warm from your restaurant to your diner’s door.
However, food packaging isn’t only about practicality. It can be your competitive advantage in a digital food delivery market that Morgan Stanley expects to make up 11% of total restaurant sales by 2022 (up from 6% in the middle of 2017).
To achieve this competitive advantage, you need to make smart decisions about your packaging from the start, decisions that will help grow your brand. There are several factors to consider when creating your packaging.
In this post you’ll learn:
Ready? Let’s get started.
Packaging offers many benefits. To realize these benefits, you need to take the time to create packaging that’s right for your business. The right packaging:
Now that you have a basic understanding of what the right packaging can do for your restaurant, let’s look at several factors that will inform your design: the choice and cost of material, food packaging trends, and your brand personality.
Choosing the right materials is the first step in selecting your packaging. There are a variety of materials available, such as plastic, cardboard, styrofoam, as well as biodegradable and sustainable alternatives. Each has its own pros and cons:
While there are many different materials to choose from – each with their own pros and cons – choosing eco-friendly packaging may be the best option. Sure, sustainable alternatives can be more expensive, but they’re far better for the environment.
Besides, as we’ve seen, many consumers are willing to pay more for food that’s delivered in sustainable packaging – a packaging trend discussed in more detail in the next section.
Here are four of the most significant trends to consider when creating or redesigning packaging.
The growing awareness of environmental issues has lead to customers placing increased pressure on companies and restaurants to be totally transparent about the products they sell.
Understanding a food’s origin is currently one of the hottest food trends. Customers want to where it came from, what’s in it, and how it’s made. With an increased pressure on corporate social responsibility, customers are less forgiving of companies who don’t share their values.
And it’s not just about food anymore. Customers want restaurants to embrace sustainable packaging practices too. Nearly two-thirds of Americans demand sustainable packaging and clear labeling.
This means that plastics and anything that can’t be recycled is a no-no. Instead, biodegradable, eco-friendly, and even edible packaging is in. Many restaurants are already following suit with McDonald’s announcing they would ditch foam packaging in 2018 and Starbucks promising to make coffee cups that are 100% recyclable.
The bottom line?
Sustainable packaging can help you win over customers who support environmentally conscious brands. On the flip side, fail to adopt sustainable practices and you’ll probably feel the wrath of customers who care deeply about these issues. What side of the fence will you be on?
The minimalism trend is present everywhere: Clean and simple websites, book covers with less clutter, and yes – you guessed it – packaging free from unnecessary materials and cluttered designs.
McDonald’s, for example, chose to replace packaging that told a story with a simpler and more elegant design. The reason? They wanted to portray themselves as modern and progressive.
But what is driving this trend?
There are many factors:
To remain ahead of the curve, include relevant information and graphics on your packaging and only use essential materials.
To stay ahead of the competition, many brands are personalizing their packaging. Look at Coca-Cola, with their pre-named cans for a perfect example of this type of packaging.
The rise of this trend isn’t surprising. Personalization offers many benefits for companies, It helps them create stronger, more emotional connections with customers and gives them free, word-of-mouth marketing thanks to social media.
Personalization also provides “a nice touch” that ensures companies remain top-of-mind with customers. Wouldn’t you feel special if you received a personal note every time you ordered food?
As a restaurateur, you could print personal messages on your to-go items that make customers feel special. Simply leave a space on the packaging and then write a small note that reads “Made with love for [insert customer name] by [insert server name].”
Customers today have busy lifestyles that demand convenience.
That need for convenience has a big impact on restaurant takeout. Customers are buying the convenience of ordering and eating food on the go or in the comfort of home – without having to cook or do dishes.
This means your food delivery packaging needs to be designed with convenience in mind. It should be lightweight, easy to carry, and resealable (so it doesn’t need to be eaten all in one go).
For example, if you’re a restaurant that specializes in noodles, your takeout might have a convenient handle at the top. Or, if you focus on sandwiches, do what Eat&Go did and offer accordion takeout tubes that inch smaller and smaller as you eat. The end result is something that fits in the customer’s pocket.
If you need some food packaging inspiration, check out the article from TrendHunter titled 26 Examples of Convenient Food Packaging.
Packaging is an ideal opportunity to market your restaurant brand. Include your company name or logo on the packaging so your brand is visible to anyone who sees it.
But there are more opportunities here than just slapping some logos on a takeout box.
As mentioned right at the beginning, packaging provides yet another touch point for customers to interact with your brand. Your food packaging shows customers what you care about and, by extension, what you don’t.
That means your packaging is as an extension of your brand and should be designed with your brand personality in mind. Ask yourself:
Answering these helps you figure out if your packaging will have a positive or negative impact on your brand. As we’ve seen, the materials alone can have a big impact, with many customers today boycotting brands who don’t choose their packaging wisely.
Restaurant takeout packaging potentially offers many benefits for your business – from simply protecting your food and controlling the temperature to helping you charge a premium and portraying a positive brand image.
To grab hold of these benefits, make smart decisions about your packaging from the start.
These smart decisions include:
The only remaining question is, will you make smart decisions about food packaging at your restaurant?