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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.

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