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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.

Food Packaging New: Trends for Food Packaging

March 9th, 2012

Flexible food packaging for processors is becoming all the rage. With good reason really. Lightweight, low cube, increased shelf life and great graphics to boot. The good news is, you don’t need to look far for good flexible packaging solutions.

Recycled content in food packaging plays a big role in consumer’s choices at the retail shelf. Packaging is playing a much more important role than in years past. Food safety, integrity and merchandising are all huge factors when choosing the correct packaging.

Panda Restaurant group is testing a brand new plate that allows consumer’s to choose three slightly smaller entree portions instead of two larger portions. I really like that design. That plate manufacturer is really on the ball 🙂

Campbell Soups decide to move away from BPA lining in soup cans. This is a case where a company was confident in the safety of its products, but still made the choice to make a change based on consumer demand. Who knows if there was a significant percentage of consumers that had strong opinions on this matter or not. My guess is probably not, but it still highlights the power consumers have in the products they choose to support.

Hinged Food Containers: How They Are Made

February 7th, 2012

You know, it dawned on me that we have spent the last three years talking about all this great food packaging, but we really have not described or shown you how we actually make our products. I don’t know about you, but I find myself drawn into watching those cable shows on how various things are made, like a bug to a shiny light. Somehow I always come away feeling better that I now know how glass Christmas tree ornaments are actually made. Along that same vein, allow me to give you a crash course in how our products are made.

Although it is a highly sophisticated and complex transformation from resin pellets to finished parts, it can really be broken down into two main functions. Extrusion and thermoforming. In the extrusion process we take the raw material which we call resin (they look like little pellets), and melt them down to form smooth sheets of material. To do this the resin enters the extruder at one end where it is pushed forward via a screw. As it’s pushed forward a combination of heat and pressure produced from the screw, slowly melts the resin. When the molten material reaches the end of the extruder, it exits over the die which gives it its new shape…a sheet of plastic. Here are a couple of pictures that will help aide in the description. In this shot we see the actual extruder and the foamed polystyrene material exiting, being split into two sheets and heading toward the S-wrap.

making of our food packaging

Following that process further, here’s the end of the extrusion line as the sheet exits the S-wrap, which is a devise used to Read the rest of this entry »

Food Packaging News

October 28th, 2011

Another community attempting to ban one type of litter for another. Say hello to higher restaurant bills and colder food when you get it home.

Canned food benefits. I wonder what makes some canned foods more nutritious than their fresh or frozen counterpart? Bullet point 2 in this article.

The right packaging design can mean the difference between a sale and not.

Hermosa Beach city council just voted to raise the average price of a restaurant meal and/or squeeze already struggling businesses out of existence. Why? To trade one kind of litter for another. Makes perfect sense to me.

Markham is a community with leaders who have some foresight. They don’t ban their way through issues, they find workable solutions. Bravo! The city leaders of Hermosa Beach should take a page from Markham’s playbook.

Bring your own dishes? I applaud all those who try to do more with less. We practice that every day in our business, but this person’s arguments are not well thought out. They probably did not consider that for the convention center in question to actually use china dishes instead of single-use products, they actually used far more natural resources than the alternative. Those dishes don’t wash themselves. Thousands of gallons of water, huge amounts of electricity (usually from coal power) to run the industrial washers, not to mention all the heavy chemicals it takes to actually clean those permanent plates. There’s no easy answer but I’ll bet a paycheck none of these people even considered this. Also, the practice of giving restaurants your own dishes from home to put food in is extremely unsafe. Sure, you know your dishes are clean, but what about the next guy that brings his home dishes in for the restaurant owner to bring to the back of the house for filling? I don’t know about you, but I’d feel much more secure in the cleanliness of single-use products touching all those cooking and preparation surfaces than some other guys dishes off the street. No thanks! And by the way, #6 polystyrene is NOT toxic. Get your facts straight next time.

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