Make sure you get the basics right
Firstly, you need to ensure you have good hygiene practices in place and ensure staff wash their hands frequently. Food safety is still the biggest barrier to purchase so remember to reassure, reassure and reassure your customers. They will be likely to order from you if they trust that their food will be delivered and handled safely.
Thinking about how you transport the food to keep it to restaurant standards and look great once the customer receives it is really important. You need to ensure the functionality of the packaging is suitable for the food delivered. Ask yourself these questions: what temperature does the food need to be kept at? Do you need leak proof packaging? Would microwavable packaging add value? Answering these questions will help you figure out what packaging you need to deliver the food at a standard you are happy with.
Having the right size packaging saves you space and money, as you will not be over packaging your dishes. We also recommend having packaging that looks similar in style so that each element of the takeaway complements each other… this is pleasing on the eye to your customer!
Finally, you need to remember the important role packaging plays when the food is in transit. Keep hot foods and cold foods in separate bags and package the containers with the heaviest at the bottom so that your dishes arrive the way they left the kitchen.
Give customers a positive experience
A lot of people would say ordering in isn’t the same as going to a restaurant or your local café around the corner, as the atmosphere is very much part of the experience. However in this new world, food establishments are having to explore new ways of adding value to takeaways that not only represents the food but gives the customer the whole experience at home.
We know the classic way to offer a takeaway is to deliver a fully prepared meal to the customers at their home. However, a lot of business are now offering ‘at home DIY kits’. This is where the food is delivered in individual containers and the customer can cook or create the dish themselves, from the comfort of their home. This unique way of offering takeaway and connecting with your customers provides a whole new experience and a welcomed distraction.
Another way you can create a positive experience for you customers is simply by considering the role of branded packaging. Branded packaging may be a good solution to reinforce your brand and create a talking point. Think of the Christmas cups from coffee shops… they are a great example of this. We all look forward to seeing the new fun designs on the high street that get us into the Christmas spirit and you can guarantee a lot of people share them on their social media which creates some nice exposure for your brand.
You could also make your customers feel special by adding an unexpected gift such as an after dinner chocolate. Even making sure you have the basics like napkins and cutlery can make all the difference to your customer.
Thinking about the environmental impact is still important
With the increase in takeaway, there is also an increase in waste from disposable packaging, so remember the environment and think about the message you want to covey to your customers. As the takeaway market continues to grow, wouldn’t it be a great USP to say that your packaging is also thinking about the future of our planet.
There are plenty of good environmental solutions such as bagasse which is a great packaging product. These soft paper-style boxes are not lined with any plastic or other material and will decompose naturally if they end up becoming litter. Bagasse is also slightly absorbent but doesn’t leak… so perfect for dishes with sauces. Cardboard packaging is also a good alternative even though it has a thin plastic lining. Your customer can still wash it out and put in cardboard recycling.
However, sometimes plastic is still the best alternative especially for food that needs to be microwaved. This doesn’t mean you can’t think about the environment. There are now plastic options that are made out of 100% recycled material or can be recycled.
Remember, whatever packaging you choose to use, educate your customers and take them on the journey with you on how to recycle and make that takeaway a guilt-free choice.
Take a look our new guide: ‘Helping you with Takeaways – the essential guide’ where you can find packaging solutions that are perfect for an array of menu choices including burgers, fish n’ chips, main menu classics, plus the ever popular dishes of pizza and curry.
This year with the current restrictions we will be experience the Christmas season in a very different way, but whichever tier you might find yourself in, there will always be takeaway!
*Bidfood Christmas with Caution, August 2020