The use of third-party delivery services like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub are at an all time high.
While third party delivery services were gaining popularity before the Coronavirus Pandemic, the outbreak created increased demand and sped up adoption.
Pre-pandemic, third party delivery services were growing rapidly given that people loved the convenience. What’s easier than ordering your favorite meal from your couch, then having it delivered right to your doorstep?
Then when the Pandemic hit, restaurants and other foodservice operations in many areas were forced to close indoor dining, requiring businesses to rely on takeout if they chose to remain open.
When you combine pre-pandemic popularity with increased consumer interest and reliance on takeout due to COVID-19, delivery services are somewhat of a lifeline to foodservice operations right now – and they will likely remain important for the foreseeable future.
Even with the release of the COVID-19 vaccines, we can anticipate a slow return to “normalcy” as consumers continue to prioritize their safety.
Given that, when offering takeout, properly packaging your meals for delivery is vital to guest satisfaction and safety, especially when using third party services.
As mentioned before, it’s great to get your favorite meal dropped right at your doorstep, but if it arrives messy, cold, or even soggy – then the whole experience is unfavorable, likely leading to lost future sales.
In this article and video, we’ll review the key features your to go food packaging needs to ensure a great guest experience.
While there are several different considerations to select the best takeout packaging, we recommend starting with the following few features which are key to maintaining the safety, quality, and appearance of your food products during delivery.
Tamper Evident Packaging
The safety of your patrons is a top priority.
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, patrons have increased standards for health and safety. And, this includes food packaging.
Whether your product is delivered in a brown bag, plastic container, or cup, once it leaves the kitchen it should be sealed until it arrives at its final destination.
Tamper-proof or tamper-evident food packaging has a secure barrier or barriers that, when opened, clearly display to consumers that tampering has occurred or that the product has been altered in some way.
The most common types of tamper-evident packaging include tear strips, stickers, and seals.
Tamper-evident packaging will help keep your products and your customers safe, avoid harm to your business’ reputation, and reduce costs associated with tampering and product replacement.
As an added benefit, tamper-evident food packaging clearly demonstrates that you have a concern for their well-being. Customers who see that their food provider understands that safety is a priority will have increased loyalty to your products.
In fact, one-third of global consumers strongly agree that packaging designed to keep the product safe makes them feel more favorable towards the brand and more likely to purchase that brand.
To find out more about the benefits of tamper-evident packaging, read: 3 Major Benefits of Tamper-Evident Food Packaging
Once ensuring your food is kept safe, the quality of your food should be your next priority.
Your guests expect their meals to be delivered at the correct temperature and at the right consistency.
How can you ensure your food quality and safety with delivery orders?
For hot foods, vented plastic containers allow for the release of steam unlike other containers which may trap hot air and cause food items to become soggy and unappetizing when it arrives.
Multiple Compartment Containers
Another way to preserve the quality of your delivered items is with the use of containers with compartments.
If you are serving a meal with multiple textures or temperatures, consider containers with separate compartments.
This feature keeps foods from mixing, helping to maintain the desired texture and appearance.
Microwave or Oven Safe Take Out Containers
Sometimes as hard you try, it is just not possible to control whether your food products will be delivered on time and at the right temperature.
Look for disposable takeout packaging that is microwave or oven safe so that when your food arrives your patrons are able to reheat as necessary.
Consumers love convenience. By delivering food in heat tolerant containers, patrons can cook or reheat their meal directly in the packaging it came in upon arrival.
Heat tolerant containers allow your guests to quickly and easily reheat their meal at home without having to transfer containers and dirty more dishes as a result.
Aside from convenience, this helps avoid any cooking catastrophes. Consumers who are in a rush or are unaware can put plastic containers into the microwave where they can melt, damage the microwave, ruin food, and create a safety hazard.
There are several different types of disposable takeout containers, and it can be hard to know which is safe for the microwave or the oven.
It is important to note that not all containers which can be used in the microwave are safe for the oven and vice-versa. For example, aluminum containers are great for use in the oven but can lead to fire if they are put into the microwave.
For a list of microwave safe containers, check out this article: Microwave Safe Containers: A Business’ Guide [VIDEO]
If you are more interested in oven safe containers, visit: Oven-Safe Disposable Food Containers 101: What Containers Can Be Used in the Oven?
Additionally, packaging food in a heat tolerant container allows you to include reheating directions with your meal so consumers can reheat the meal to near-restaurant quality.
Full Perimeter Seal
Protecting your guests from opening their meal to a spilled or sloshy mess is important.
Sealed containers lock around the edges, preventing accidental opening during transport.
If your food spills before it arrives, you’ll be dealing with complaints from delivery drivers and requests for new food from consumers, creating unnecessary headaches and costs.
Tightly sealed packaging helps give customers the confidence of a tight, leak-resistant seal.
Additionally, containers with a full perimeter seal can help keep leftovers fresh.
Sealing out any air will help keep food from spoiling quickly if your patron isn’t able to eat it all immediately after delivery.
Eco-Friendly Food Packaging
Finally, don’t forget to consider sustainability when picking containers for third-party delivery.
If one of your main business goals is going green, your containers should align and project that image to your patrons. Similarly, your patrons may want sustainable items, putting increased pressure on you to select “green” items.
Disposable food packaging can be recyclable or compostable.
To get a better idea of which food packaging products can be recycled, visit: Which Common Food Packaging Products are Recyclable: A Business’ Guide
Depending on your goals and the disposal options in your area, either recyclable or compostable products have their benefits.
For example, if your customers can not compost or recycle the container, you may not be using a sustainable option at all.
Meaning, if you’re providing your customers with compostable bowls but there is no compost facility nearby (and they are just throwing it away in the trash bin), it is no longer a sustainable option.
To learn more about the best eco-friendly take out containers, visit:
Eco-Friendly Take Out Containers: What’s the Best, Low Cost Option For Your Business
The timing and delivery experience are often out of your hands once your food leaves the kitchen. It will be even more important to select a container that is sure to keep your food looking great, at the desired temperature, and safe from tampering.
When selecting a container for third-party delivery, tamper evident containers are great to promote safety. They immediately alert the end-user if the product was opened or tampered with after it left the kitchen, saving them from potential harm.
Similarly, containers with a full perimeter seal will minimize spills and help keep drivers and your customers happy.
Vented and compartmentalized containers will help preserve the look and quality of your food.
And, while it might not preserve the quality or keep your food safe during delivery, eco-friendly takeout containers help boost image and increase customer satisfaction.
If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, or Canada, Imperial Dade locations offer a wide variety of takeout containers to suit the needs of your operation. Reach out to a specialist today so we can help match your operation’s needs to the right food packaging fit.
Check Out Some of These Related Articles:
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- Oven-Safe Disposable Food Containers 101: What Containers Can Be Used in the Oven?
- Microwave Safe Containers: A Business’ Guide [VIDEO]
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- 3 Major Benefits of Tamper-Evident Food Packaging
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