In today’s restaurant economy, the landscape is growing for operators that are hungry to serve customers outside of their business’s physical location. The rise of consumer demand for delivered food has introduced a new way to talk to customers and drive them back into your business. We’re diving into a few great ways to separate your restaurant’s brand from the rest of the competition:
Custom Printed Packaging
How do you stand out among your competition in a busy market? Many brand-conscious restaurants choose to print their logo or ensignia on their packaging. Printed packaging is a great way for high-volume foodservice operations to get their name out the door and promote brand image on the streets. Popular items printed are custom takeout bags, custom paper sheets, and custom cutlery kits. There are a few things to consider with printed packaging:
1) Large minimum production runs – don’t have a lot of storage space? This may cause an issue as most distributors don’t want custom printed packaging sitting on their shelves. Having enough storage space for a few pallets will greatly enhance your leverage with pricing.
2) Upfront art + plate charges – most manufacturers outsource the creation of your printing plates to a specialist. This means almost always they’ll pass along the cost to the distributor, who will then pass the cost to you. There are some exceptions to this but that cost is eventually built into your unit price/case price anyways.
3) Lack of expertise – unless your lucky and have a solid distributor sales rep, most likely they will need outside support in getting your custom project completed. Manufacturers hire brokerage firms as a way to support distributors who may not have the bandwidth to focus fully on custom packaging projects. This means more cooks in the kitchen and more possibility for error. eco-pliant are experts in custom packaging production and keep our custom projects in-house. This helps ensure a smooth delivery of your branded packaging goals.
eco-pliant can help you source, design, and purchase custom printed packaging that elevates your brand and keeps you top of mind with customers. Want to know more about custom printed packaging? Contact eco-pliant for more information.
What about operators that are just ramping up takeout & delivery and don’t want to shell out big bucks for custom printed packaging? We’ll show you a unique way in the next section.
Labels + Packaging
If you don’t want to commit to large minimum orders, wait for long lead times, or risk large misprints, another solution is to purchase custom labels with your brand image and place on the packaging as it makes it’s way out of your door. Labels are a great option for the following reasons:
1) Low minimum runs reduce upfront investment. Minimum runs can range anywhere from 2,000 pcs to 1 million pcs, depending on the material. Manufacturers have to cover what they call “set-up costs”, which is the fixed costs incurred by equipping their machines with your unique print plates and labor associated with changing them out in between production runs.
2) The ability to stick with stock packaging. Not only does this allow flexibility to try different things (i.e. – new menu items requiring different sizes/shapes of packaging), but also it allows you to leverage the lower cost of stock packaging, often less than the total investment in custom print. eco-pliant can help you source stocked certified compostable packaging here.
3) You’re not locked into large amounts of branded packaging. You may want to change up a logo, add a location, add a delivery app partner, and so forth. Printing 100,000 bags or boxes could lock up cash flow for a new purchase and keep you from being agile with your brand. Most suppliers will ask you to sign agreements to buy out custom packaging sitting on their floors, even if you no longer plan to use them during daily operations. That’s a lot of wasted money and materials.
4) Labels act as a natural “tamper-evident” seal to deter hungry delivery drivers (yes, this does happen). Protect your product by sealing your packaging with a label. Customers will appreciate the attention to detail and show that you care about food safety.
5) Drive traffic back into your store with weekly, monthly, or quarterly promotions. Industry insiders call these promotions LTOs, or Limited Time Offers. A big question in the restaurant industry is “Is food delivery cannibalizing my in-store sales?”. The answer: It doesn’t have to. Print these promotions on labels as a touchpoint with your customers, even if they’re not inside your restaurant. In-house traffic and repeat business proves to be more profitable. Use labels to promote deals and incentives for repeat orders. (For example: “Bring this label and a friend for 10% off your next in-store order from us!”)
There are many options when it comes to how you pack your food. Be sure to choose wisely, as most often the customer’s first impression of your product is the packaging itself. Take control of the customer experience and invest in making it the best possible.
Does taking the label route sound like something you’d be interested in? eco-pliant can help you take the next step, drop us a line!