10 food packaging tips for your restaurant business
Packaging has a significant effect on consumer behavior. Studies show that 72% of Americans consider package design an important factor in purchasing decisions.
This reiterates the need to prioritize your food packaging as a restaurant owner. It’s also worth noting that your packaging choice can affect your food quality. Poorly packaged foods, for example, may end up stale and lose their freshness before reaching the customer.
Do you want to make the right impression on your customers? If so, here are 10 food packaging tips you can follow for the best results.
1) Consider a customizable box
Few things will make your restaurant business stand out more than a customizable box. This unique food packaging lets you personalize the customer experience and create the right first impression with any buyer.
Fortunately, creating a customized box shouldn’t be too complicated; you only need to make simple yet thoughtful tweaks. For example, if you know a customer has children at home, you can add colorful cartoon stickers to your food box.
You can also consider writing their names on the package to add a personalized touch to each food order. You can customize your packaging differently, depending on what’s on your menu, so keep this in mind.
2) Use edible wrappers for takeaway food
Try edible wrapping or packaging if you’re looking for a unique way to package some of your takeaway orders.
This type of packaging uses materials that can be consumed to wrap ordered food. KFC, for example, invested in a 200% edible wrapper made from rice paper. They then used edible ink in various ways to enhance their design. And it’s proven to be quite a hit, so it’s worth trying, especially if you care about the environment.
Moreover, you can also invest in other forms of edible packaging. Again KFC has led the way with many examples, including cups made of wafers and white chocolate.
The options are almost endless, and it all depends on your level of creativity. Some other options you can try are edible cutlery and sugar straws. Edible packaging works best for certain orders, like beverages, sandwiches, and burgers.
But you must ensure that every material or ingredient in this packaging is 100% safe for consumption and meets local food safety guidelines and standards. And speaking of safety standards, the next tip is also worth considering.
3) Highlight your hygiene standards to build customer trust
Your customers want to be reassured that your restaurant business meets all hygiene standards, and you can use your packaging to offer this reassurance. Experts recommend highlighting your restaurant’s measures to guarantee food safety through packaging. And a simple way to pull this off is to place a small sheet bearing the necessary information in the package. It should also be well-designed with your restaurant logo.
But you can do more than highlight your hygiene standards. For example, consider adding a tiny instruction sheet to food packages that need special directions. You can use this to guide a customer on how to keep an ordered food warm, how to store it, the expiration date, or what steps they should follow before eating the food.
Another great idea is to seal the packages with branded stickers to highlight the package content or caution handlers to be careful.
4) Don’t forget to compartmentalize your orders
Packaging with compartments makes it easy for customers to sort out their food after an order. The last thing you want to do is place different food items into one bag, box, or pack and leave the rest for your customer.
Doing that will affect how your food looks. Even worse, packing different flavors together can affect how your food tastes, as the flavors can mix. Moreover, this process can be messy and difficult. If an order includes different foods, create separate compartments for each. For example, rice should have a compartment separated from fries, burgers, salad, and drinks, so feel free to consider this.
5) Consider portion control
Consider portion control when packaging food to maintain consistency in serving sizes. This way, it’s easier to ensure that customers receive the same experience every time. You can use portion-sized containers to accurately measure and control serving sizes.
Doing this boost customer trust and satisfaction while ensuring their loyalty. The more consistency you maintain with portion control, the fewer customer complaints you’ll receive. You can also manage your costs, as it’s easier to accurately measure ingredients and minimize waste. It allows you to optimize your inventory and control expenses, so feel free to consider this.
6) Invest in out-of-the-box and fun packaging
As the name suggests, out-of-the-box packaging requires thinking outside the box and being creative. So it requires a lot of brainstorming. That usually concerns your chosen design, so keep this in mind. Moreover, you can explore as many designs as possible, provided they’re functional.
Your out-of-the-box packaging idea may be inspired by a desire to stand out from the competition or make things easier for your customers (or both). Sometimes, you only need to add a unique twist to an already popular packaging design to achieve the desired outcome.
A good example is serving pizza in a circular box. You can also do something as simple as printing humorous quotes onto your packages. Your jokes can be about the food in the package.
For example, if someone orders a hamburger, you can use a package with a hamburger-related joke printed on it, such as, “How do you make a hamburger smile? Pickle it gently!” A simple but good joke will not only put a smile on a customer’s face but encourage them to make their next order, expecting another joke.
7) Add a small gift or sample to your package
If you’re not good with jokes, you can add a small gift to your package instead. It should be something that won’t cost you much and yet good enough to put an appreciative smile on your customer’s face.
Adding an unexpected gift to your package will create a surprise element that will make your customer think they received more than they paid. That can easily encourage a customer to refer your restaurant to someone else to show appreciation. It could be a simple card, a flower, a small stuffed animal, a bookmark, or anything else.
Alternatively, you can add a small sample of another recipe or food on your menu to the order. This tip will work well for new additions to your menu that you want to promote. For example, if someone orders a burger, you can add a slice from one of your new pizza recipes.
8) Pick the ideal packaging material
Regardless of the packaging design, your customers may be disappointed if you fail to pick the right packaging material. Your ideal material should keep the food safe, be user-friendly, and show your customers that you care about the environment and their health. Most restaurants’ Popular packaging materials include aluminum, tin foil, glass, steel, and paper. Experts recommend staying away from plastic since it’s generated a lot of bad rap regarding the environment.
Instead, consider investing in paper bags, cardboard boxes, and even wooden packages since they are more sustainable. It’s no wonder they have become more popular among restaurants. It’s best to work with different packaging materials, as some foods will do better with some materials than others.
But no matter what material you choose, you need to ensure that it is durable, can withstand long drives, will protect the food, won’t cause the food to go bad quickly, and ensure food safety – which leads to the next point.
9) Ensure food safety
Prioritize food safety by using packaging that meets health and safety regulations. Aim to maintain the highest standards using only materials specifically designed for food contact. Ideally, your packaging material should not contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury, and hexavalent chrome, as they can contaminate the food. You should also avoid industrial solvents, inks, artificial coatings, adhesives, and paper-bleaching chemicals.
Use only tamper-proof containers and secure them with sealable materials to prevent contamination. Regularly inspect and maintain your packaging equipment to ensure it is always clean and in good working condition.
10) Try telling a story with your packaging
You can do more with your package beyond just selling or delivering food. Storytelling packaging will connect with your buyers differently, especially emotionally. And it works best during seasons, festivals, or special events like weddings.
For example, you can design your food bags during Halloween with themes highlighted by popular Halloween characters. You can also ask customers to make special requests beforehand if they want to take advantage of your storytelling packaging. For instance, a customer can have food delivered to a loved one with a special message on the package for their birthday, so feel free to consider this.
Your food packaging can attract or repel your customers, making it essential to prioritize it. You don’t have to break the bank to do this; hopefully, these tips will help you achieve the desired outcome.