If you ordered takeout or delivery and your greatly anticipated meal was cold or soggy, would you order from that restaurant again? Probably not.
Getting the packaging right is important, and it’s not just about keeping food warm. It’s about capitalizing on a growing trend—online orders account for a bigger portion of the food delivery market every year, and it’s only 2020.
To take advantage of this growing demand, you need to make sure you’ve covered the basics of delivery and takeout, and that includes to-go packaging that meets consumer expectations. Packaging your food correctly helps you accomplish the following:
- Strengthens brand presence—unique packaging that features smart design and witty copy catches your customers’ attention and gives you a chance to connect with them even outside of your four walls.
- Controls food temperature—the right packaging will regulate temperature without making the food soggy.
- Allows you to optimize pricing— research shows consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging that’s better for the environment.
So, how do you package your food so customers are satisfied with their experience?
When it comes to packaging your food, you have several materials to choose from, but they’re not all created equal. You’ll not only want to consider the pros and cons of each material, but current cultural trends, and your brand’s personality.
Before you decide on your style of packaging, you’ll have to choose your materials. You have a variety of materials to choose from; let’s take a look at the most popular options.
- Styrofoam—while styrofoam is great at controlling temperatures and is fairly cost-effective, it’s not good for the environment and brands that use it are receiving negative feedback, particularly in some areas of the country.
- Sustainable options—biodegradable and sustainable options are becoming increasingly popular as environmental concerns are brought to the forefront and consumers demand transparency from brands. While sustainable options are more costly, they can garner loyalty and support from consumers.
- Plastics—plastics do a great job of protecting food as they’re strong, but they’re also not good for the environment.
- Cardboard—this biodegradable material is cost-effective, easy to customize, and when folded correctly it’s nice and sturdy. Corrugated cardboard boxes have been a staple for many restaurants because they provide heat insulation and close tightly, but also allow air to escape so the food doesn’t get too wet.
Every restaurant should consider the main packaging trends hitting the market today. While these trends will continue to evolve, consumers expect brands to be in touch with their values, preferences, and desires.
One of the biggest trends to emerge recently is tamper-evident packaging for to-go foods. The catalyst for this was originally the growing popularity of third-party delivery services. Customers wanted to know for sure that their food hadn’t been opened or snacked during its journey from the restaurant to their doorstep.
But in the age of coronavirus, it’s even more clear why tamper-evident packaging would hold an appeal for customers. Customers appreciate all the health and safety precautions a restaurant can take.
Customers are ordering your food for the convenience of it—for the experience of eating a delicious meal they didn’t have to slave over. Once they get their food, they expect the packaging to be reusable (so they don’t have to eat it all at once), easy to open and close, lightweight and easy to carry.
Minimalism is in, and it’s not just about people wanting to clear away the clutter in their bedrooms—people are attracted to brands that seem modern, upscale, and simple. People want clear messaging and clean design.
When you clutter up your message, you cover up the core values of your brand. Graphics and copy are great, and they show personality, but make them intentional, concise, and in alignment with your brand’s purpose.
Don’t be cluttered, but also, don’t be boring. Spice it up and provide a little personalized note to your customer. Because, who doesn’t want to feel special? Personalized packaging will help you to stay top of mind, and build deeper connections with your customers. It’ll also work wonders for word-of-mouth marketing, which is effective and completely free!
In the end, as long as you cook crave-worthy food and your packaging meets consumer expectations, you can expect to rake in more orders and sell more food. Want to start offering takeout or delivery but haven’t been able to get it set up? OneDine is offering its contactless order and pay system completely free to restaurants right now.