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Home Delivery Explosion Continues – Are you ready?

March 15th, 2017

The home delivery explosion isn’t ending any time soon. Are you ready? Every restaurant should be at least thinking about making this option accessible to their communities. On-demand food service delivery brings food directly from your restaurant to the customers, driven through mobile apps and online ordering.

Millennials are driving change in many different areas, food service included. As you might have guessed, Millennials are tech savvy, typically using up to two or three different devices each day. They are using said devices to connect with friends and companies, to research and review products, and to place food orders for delivery or take-out. They already love coming in to your restaurant, so why not connect to them when they don’t feel like eating out.

The restaurant industry is a roughly $490 billion market. Food delivery makes up 43% of that marketing and is continuing to grow. Engage with your loyal customers in and out of your restaurant. Millennials and Baby Boomers, alike, want great food at their finger tips.

RestaurantBusiness.com has a great article about how to get started with food delivery. There are lots of questions to ask before you get started in offering your food for delivery. Which service should I use, how will this change my business? Are we prepared to take on the increase in take-out orders? Do we have the right packaging for full meals to travel?

Genpak is here to help. Take a look at our home delivery video to get free samples, request a call, and learn more.

 

Easily Bring Recycling Into Your Restaurant Or Foodservice Business

January 8th, 2015

recycling chartThere are different ways in which food service businesses are environmentally friendly. Some use locally grown produce. Some offer reusable containers and packaging, or allow customers to bring their own in. Some use containers that are compostable or made of recycled content. Others use eco friendly chemicals for cleaning. Some find ways to conserve water doing dishes, while still others Use solar power or wind power to generate electricity. The list goes on and on, and many are finding new ways to make Go Green part of the way they do business.

For those businesses that have not initiated any eco friendly movements yet, or think it may be too hard to get started, we want to provide steps to incorporate one of the easiest eco friendly things you can do: Read the rest of this entry »

Food Packaging Decisions

June 16th, 2014

I can’t tell you how many times I get calls from food service operators, confectioners and food processors looking for custom food packaging to fit their new creation or menu option. Now that by itself sounds great, and it is. The problem arises when the packaging to transport these culinary works of art are at the bottom of their to do list when it should really be the second item on the list.

The reason for this is the cost to make custom shapes and sizes can be a significant dollar amount. Without getting too technical, I can tell you it can get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A capital outlay of this magnitude is often something people just weren’t thinking about. Especially when they were probably thinking the packaging would be around 2%, maybe 3% of their overall cost. Now a whole new set of costs need to be justified for the operators. Often times on a brand new menu or food item, the “for sure” sales volume is not there to support such an expense. Sure we do get those calls from the larger, national food processors or foodservice operators who can handle this sort of thing with the power of their particular brand to support custom food packaging, but for the small and mid-sized companies, an extra $100,000 would kill the whole deal. They’d now be faced with going out and finding a smaller, custom forming company who might be able to make what they need without the large tooling costs, but their final part price will be 30% or more than what they were hoping which is no bargain either.

There is hope! Just move the packaging part of your new food product equation up to the number two spot.  A early on call to your friendly food packaging specialist could save thousands later down the road. We can work with you to design a packaging solution utilizing our massive inventory of existing footprints. 90% of the time we already have a design that will work perfectly. But for that other 10%, sometimes just a minor tweak to the food item or perhaps a simple count change (6 muffins instead of 9) is all it takes to design that perfect package. Perfect both economically and functionally. However if that packaging call is the last on the list and all other aspects are set in stone, it can sometimes be an up hill climb to find an economical solution.

So for all you food processors and foodservice operators out there who like to create new tasty items for us to eat, do me and you both a favor and bump your food packaging decision a few notches up the to do list.  I guarantee you’ll be glad you did!

 

Choosing The Right Take-Out Container

October 15th, 2013

For me, the first change in how restaurants view take out packaging, began shortly after 9/11. Late September and October traditionally offers and abundance of Distributor food shows (both in the Fall and Spring). As I attended these shows a common theme came from the restaurant owners that attended these show. Their dine–in business was down but their take out business had increased. This was due to a nervous public not feeling safe to dine out just yet but they still wanted to enjoy their local restaurant’s signature entrees. The traditional doggie bag packaging did not fully represent their “Brand”. This gave rise to decorated containers and black take out packaging Texas Take Out(highlights the food and not the package).

The second change I noticed was when my wife and I decided that, because we now had two young children, it was time to join the “Family Van generation”. As we shopped for this family transportation device, I noticed that a big selling feature was the multiple cup holders and easy folding tray tables these vans offered. We are truly a mobile society and the growth of the internet and social media makes that growth much faster. Imagine telling your parents back in the 1960’s, that the delicious looking sandwich you were eating came from…..the local Gas Station?

The take out industry has exploded in every shape and variety. Statistics show that more people take out their food than eat it in the restaurant. I used to tell distributor sales people about our products and how they function; now I tell them to ask the question to the restaurant owner. What do you want out of your take out program? Having a solid to go program helps you realize a tremendous source of profit. No wait staff, no waiting for table turnover, and no dish washing.

They say “you eat with your eyes” and if your brand is your food, then choosing take out packaging in this day and age is critical to your bottom line

Food Packaging And Container Needs For Fine Dining Restaurant

September 30th, 2012

[This is a continuation of our “Starting A Food Business” Series]

Thinking about starting a fine dining restaurant? Or maybe you just opened the doors on your new establishment? Whatever stage your business plan is in, you may have a mindset that paper, plastic and foam food containers are not part of your future. If this is the case, take a few moments to realize that it may be time to revisit your restaurant plan.

Paper. Plastic. Foam. These are not words normally associated with a fine dining Read the rest of this entry »

Food Packaging And Container Needs For Food Delivery Businesses

August 20th, 2012

[This is a continuation of our “Starting A Food Business” Series]

Is it time to start thinking about adding food delivery as an option to your customers? Or are you just starting your food business, and want to use delivery as the primary way to get food into your customers’ hands? Whichever case, being prepared for the challenges will make it a great deal easier and make your customers much more satisfied.

And one of the most pressing challenges is how to keep the food your customers will eat, tasting (and looking) just as good as if they ate it as soon as you plated it. Now, time from packaging your food to getting to your customer’s door is an important factor, but that’s not our expertise. A critical factor we’re prepared to help you with is the packaging and containers you should consider when looking to start delivery, or to improve your current delivery operations.

Why is this such an important element? Because poor food packaging can lead to spills, messy looking meals, food that needs to be reheated, cold food that is too warm or countless other mishaps that could yield a poor customer experience. That is something all businesses want to avoid. So here are some of the top things to consider when setting your food container and packaging plan for your delivery operations.

  • Think of your image. If you serve family style or catering sized meals, you must think of the image you want to portray for your business. If you are a more upscale type brand, high quality plastic plates will go over a lot better than regular paper plates, which would work well for a local barbecue business.  Remember who your competition is, as well as what your customers expect from you. And then go out and exceed all expectations.
  • Microwave Safe Containers can be useful. Does your food need to be finished off once it arrives at your customer’s house? Is it likely that the portion will be eaten over a few days? If this is the case, a microwave safe container is a great option to have on hand. Most of these containers have a stylish look, and show the customer that you really do have their interest in mind.
  • Hinged Containers make it easy. For individual meals, a hinged container can be a life saver for a delivery business. You don’t have to find a matching lid each and every time you pull a meal together. Just grab one of the hinged containers and start plating. And many hinged containers also have compartmented styles, so you can keep each item of the meal separate.
  • Ensure your customers remember you. Branding delivery bags or pre packaged foods can go along way in keeping in the forefront of your customers minds. Flexible packaging and branded solutions ensure that your name (and hopefully contact information) stays with your customer longer than just when they answer the door and pay the delivery person.
  • Give your cups lids. A piece of foil just won’t do. If you are giving your customers the option to order individually sized drinks, make sure that you have a large supply of quality cups with matching secure lids.

When you are delivering food to customers, be sure that you are delivering in the best way possible. You want their entire dining experience (from calling in and placing the food order to first opening up the container and seeing how good the food looks to diving in and eating) to be as enjoyable as possible. Any hiccup along the way could be just the reason for them to call a competitor next time around.

Remember, for all your food service packaging needs, Genpak is here make this process easy for you. Have you recently added food delivery to your business? What obstacles have you run into? Let us know what questions you have and we will help you out.

Food Packaging And Container Needs For Coffee Shops And Cafes

June 27th, 2012

[This is a continuation of our “Starting A Food Business” Series]

People who have the drive to open or acquire their own coffee shop or cafe come from many backgrounds. Some have a passion for coffee, others love to make baked goods, while others enjoy greeting locals and commuters each and every morning. They love the core aspects of a cafe – the drink, food and people. What they don’t necessarily have a desire to do is get into the nitty gritty of which type of food packaging would work best to serve in house or takeout. That’s where this article comes in.

Here are some great tips on what to think about when placing your initial order of food packaging and containers.

Coffee Cups – Since you are a coffee shop, the plan is probably to sell a lot of coffee. This will be seen by more people than any other item in your shop. Be sure to think through how you want to be portrayed when choosing the best cups to serve your hot drinks in.

Innovative Bakery Containers – There are fantastic containers made specifically for baked goods in all shapes and sizes. This includes disposable bakery containers that can go from the oven, to the customer, and then back to the microwave for a quick heat up. This is any baker’s dream. A no hassle way to get food from your oven to the customer.

Paper or Plastic (or Foam) – What will you serve your food in or on? Will it be plastic, foam or biodegradable plates? What works best with your food offerings? What will your customers expect? Be consistent.  Staying with one material provides customers with a better experience.  Each material has its own set of benefits including strength, color options, appearance (with your specific food options) and versatility.  We can help you make the choice that is best for your particular scenario.

Utility Bowls (with lids) – You’ll want to have on hand some bowls that can be the solution in multiple situations. Utility bowls offer a medium for you to serve hot or cold, liquid or solid, group or individual servings. And by ordering bowls with pairing lids you instantly make them more useful by turning a dine-in packaging option to a take-out package.  Utilizing food packaging that have multiple uses is a huge money saver!

Plates – Having the right plates on hand is critical, especially if you are serving both baked goods (smaller sized plates) and meals. This allows your artistic talents to shine as you can better control how your food is presented. Not only will the configuration of the plate (round or square) play a role in your food appearance, but the color plays a big role as well.  Food operators are switching to a black plate option as many foods really pop against a dark background.

Takeout Containers – You’ll want to have takeout containers on hand for carryout or delivery orders. Sturdy hinged containers can now stand up to the most demanding foods, and many have compartments to keep sauces and dressings separate. As you place your takeout container order, you’ll want to think about which of your food items customers are most likely to take home with them or want delivered (if that is a service you offer).  Again, we can help guide you through the many choices available to the right package for you.

Eco Friendly – If your business is located in an area where legislation limits your choice of materials or your customer base prefers a biodegradable option Genpak can fill those needs as well with our Harvest® line of products.  We offer a full range of food packaging options that are third party certified compostable, source reduced and those that container post consumer recycled content.

Utensils – You’ll need to consider if you want to offer metal utensils or single use utensils. What would the customers expect, based on the type of business you are and the food they are ordering? Don’t be worried about choosing single use utensils. There are eco friendly options now available made from natural, annually renewable starches from our Harvest Starch line.

In addition to the above basics, some other items you may want to consider initially are:

  • Plastic cups with lids to hold desserts
  • Clear cups for serving water
  • Portion cups for condiments
  • Napkins
  • Straws
  • Presentation accents (likes doilies or toothpicks)

For operations looking to build a strong brand, flexible packaging and custom printing make perfect sense. Adding your logo to cups, branding your takeout bags and offering to go items in sharp looking packaging is just the start. Be sure to keep this in mind as you move forward with your cafe.

Remember, for all your food service packaging needs, Genpak is here make this process easy for you. Are you opening a coffee shop and would like some guidance? Have you found any of our other containers to be extremely useful in your business? Please let us know. We’re happy to assist you in any way we can, and are always open to any feedback you may have.

Starting A Food Business? Follow These Basic Food Packaging Orders To Get You Started

February 29th, 2012

So, you’ve mastered how to make the best chili in town. You’ve decided to take this talent and run with it and start your own food business. Congratulations! However, before you start your business it’s important not to overlook all the small things you need to purchase before you open your doors. One step that commonly gets overlooked is buying the correct food containers for your products.

Whether you’re starting up a cupcake business, stocking up your new coffee shop, cafe or catering services, it’s important that you invest in the correct food packaging. In this series, we’ll help you choose which and how much packaging is right for you. We’ll provide helpful tips on a regular basis not just for our veteran readers, but also for those who are just getting started in this market.

Deciding on what to order may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. You may be wondering a number of questions. What size packaging should I buy? Which packaging will withstand my food? Should I use environmentally friendly packaging? From deli containers, foam containers, to disposable food containers, we’ll walk you through exactly what you will need.

We’ll start this new series with a quick but effective tip.

Tip #1: Starting a small sandwich business? Our 22500 & SN227 products work perfect. Need to-go containers for subs? Our 21900 and 26600 foam hinged containers would probably be the best fit.

Remember, for all your food service packaging needs, Genpak is here make this process easy for you. Follow our basic food packaging series and your business might just be the next one we write about. Are you just starting out a food business? Let us know what type of business and we’ll provide you with helpful ideas to get you started. And if you have any other questions, your answers are only a click away. Send us a quick note and we’ll have you in the right direction in no time!

Mobile Food Truck Food Container Solutions

January 30th, 2012

food truckFood trailers, food trucks, mobile kitchens. Whatever you call them, they seem to be all the rage right now. And why not? Innovative people have found ways to make quality food quickly in a confined space. And they can do so in a restaurant that goes to where the customers are. That’s brilliant! (Not to mention that the payments for the truck can be a fraction of what some people must pay in leasing space for a restaurant in major cities.)

Food trucks, more than a restaurant, must depend on  Read the rest of this entry »

Food Packaging Trends

December 9th, 2011

I was asked the other day, what some of the trends are in the food packaging industry. We get these questions from time to time from our customers. Presumably to make sure their packaging choices are staying up-to-date, or perhaps they want to buck the current trend and go with packaging that may be “retro” or against the grain (I like those). Either way here’s what we told them in no particular order of importance.

1. Product light weighting. I think anybody who drinks bottled water has noticed the bottle has gotten really thin. You can especially tell when you open the bottle and allow it to pressurize. Does it leak or tear or break in any way. Not at all. Did I still get my 12 ounces of cold refreshing aqua? Yes. This might seem minor to the average Joe out there (and that’s what the bottlers want to happen), but it saves millions and millions of pounds of raw materials annually. Subsequently, cost is being taken out of the supply chain. The manufacturer of the bottles are paying less due to the decreased raw material usage and they in turn past savings on down the line. Now, does all of that savings end up with the consumer? Good question. Has your bottled water price gone up, down or stayed the same?

Now we don’t produce water bottles but we do produce many other food packaging items and have been asked by some of our customers to lower part weights. This is obviously to lower the overall part price. In some instances that’s not too hard to do, but I want to caution you on this practice. For example let’s look at our foam hinged containers. We have been asked and in fact have taken weight out of some select items. In each case we’ll create a new part number with the new weight and keep the current number and part weight for those customers who do not want to reduce the weight. In many cases, customers will ask for reduced weights to meet competitive pricing situations where a competitor has offered a lower weight item. All this is fine and dandy. But sometimes I think it is easy to be seduced by the lower price of the light weight parts and start to use them for other, existing business where a lighter part might not work as well. A full meal of say lasagna may really tax I light weight version of a foam hinged container whereas the standard weight had been working well all along. The moral of the story here is you do get what you pay for. It’s best to test first before committing full speed ahead on a light weight project. As always, all you really need to do is pick up the phone and call us, or shoot us a quick email with your question. One of our food packaging professionals will contact you within 24 hours.

2. Smaller overall package profile. I think in many ways this relates right back to light weighting products. A smaller food package profile could translate into a lower price point. There certainly are advantages to a smaller profile. If your particular use for food packaging is going to end up on a supermarket shelf, a smaller profile will enable you to put more packages on that shelf. A smaller profile might also enable you to put an additional sku on that shelf with your brand name. For example, let’s say you sell cookies that come in a clear hinged container big enough for a dozen cookies. That supermarket is perfectly happy with placement with the rest of the cookies and bakery items of similar size and portion. But, if you could reduce the footprint of that hinged container to something smaller (I’d recommend our small hinged delis) and reduce the number of cookies where your product could now also be marketed in the 100 calorie isle, you’ve just doubled your exposure. That might not be the best example, but you get the idea. Once again, we can help with any food packaging scenario. In fact some of those deli containers I mentioned earlier are a direct result of such a situation.

3. Optimized product visualization. What this means is that food manufacturers want to give consumers the best opportunity to see their product within its package. In many instances, this means taking what we call “side flutes” out of the design. If you look at one of our foodservice lids you’ll notice the flutes going vertically on the lid. These are designed in to give the lid strength. Many times restaurants will stack meals to go one on top of the other when packing them into their take-out bags. The lids need to be strong enough to hold that meal being placed on top. By adding this geometry to the sides, we can accomplish this strength without the need to add more material to the part (lower part weight). The trend now though is to remove side flutes in favor of increased visibility. Not so much on lids like this, but rather complete packaging you might find at the supermarket. Fortunately, your friends at Genpak have a solution. Our line of Supermarket Containers fit this description to a t. Notice the elimination of any such fluting that would detract from product visualization. Same goes for the lids we offer for this line. In fact, you have probably seen and used one of our containers as we have many food processors that utilize these great packages for their product. They are produced from #1 recyclable PET and contain up to 40% post consumer recycled content. So they fit the optimized visualization profile as well as have a nice environmental story to tell.

Alright, I know that food packaging trend report turn a little into a Genpak sales pitch, but hey, it’s my blog. And hopefully you did get some good knowledge from reading it.

Until next time…

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