Restaurants and other food service companies need to use every advantage to market themselves to potential customers. This has traditionally been accomplished through commercials on television, radio, print and through old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising. These traditions obviously are far from dead, and they’ve even been joined by social media advertising, but companies that offer take-out or delivery services can also use their own packaging and to-go containers to sell themselves. Here are just a few examples of how that is done.

Memorable Logos

One of the smartest things that a food service company can do with its packaging is display its logo. Logos are far more powerful than many people realize, with many being instantly recognizable to people all over the world. Fast food restaurants are perhaps the best known for this practice. Everyone can recognize a container from McDonald’s from its iconic golden arches, just as everyone knows a KFC bucket thanks to Colonel Sanders’s face. The simple act of carrying a bag of McDonald’s food home turns people into a walking advertisement for the restaurant.

Other restaurants that aren’t considered fast food have also adopted this marketing approach. Applebee’s offers take-out food in fairly distinct bags, and restaurants such as Timber Lodge have their logos on their styrofoam to-go boxes. It’s a simple yet effective marketing strategy that requires little effort on the part of the company.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Since styrofoam and plastic aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, some people may be reluctant to order food from restaurants that use them for take-out orders. On the other hand, more and more people are going to restaurants that use more eco-friendly biodegradable packaging. This may not exactly be a marketing strategy, but the very fact that so many smaller companies are using this kind of material for their food definitely makes people take notice.

Providing Menus with To-Go Orders

Restaurants that rely heavily on delivery and take-out orders often include menus with their food. Not only does this make it a lot easier for repeat customers to order food in the future, but the menu makes a great advertisement for anybody who sees it. Many Asian take-out restaurants like to use this strategy, and some restaurants may even print the menus on the packaging itself. This may not work as well as simply putting a copy of the menu in with the food since the packaging is usually thrown away, but it’s still a good example of how some food service companies are using their own food packaging as a marketing opportunity.

These are just a few ways that food service companies can use their own packaging as marketing opportunities. Plenty of restaurants and other similar businesses use these marketing strategies to their advantage, but there are also plenty of businesses that still rely on nondescript styrofoam packaging when it comes to sending food to their customers’ homes. More specialized food containers are surprisingly inexpensive, and they can be customized to have practically any logo and be any color. They are a perfect way to provide a restaurant with some inexpensive advertising, and any take-out restaurant, delivery service or fast food place would do well to find packaging that works for them.

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No one likes to be served “soggy” takeout food, yet it happens all the time in restaurants across the country. By “soggy” food, we, of course, mean the soft, limp texture that hot and fried foods take on when they spend too much time in to-go containers. Texture is an important part of food, and a dish that isn’t as light and crispy as it’s supposed to be can be very unappetizing. Some people think having to contend with soggy food in take-out food containers is just an inevitable peril of ordering anything to go, but restaurants can avoid it if they keep these tips in mind.

Move Away from Styrofoam

Styrofoam packaging was the norm for takeout food containers for years. It seemed like everything from fast-food burgers to leftovers from five-star restaurants were placed in foam clamshell containers so that customers could enjoy them in their own homes. There are good reasons for this; Styrofoam packaging doesn’t leak, and it makes a great insulator against heat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t breathe, which means hot food effectively gets steamed until it is a limp, soggy mess. If you really want your customers to be able to enjoy your food at home, you need to move away from Styrofoam packaging. Switch to cardboard and paper packaging instead. It may not seem to be as durable as Styrofoam, but it will breathe much more easily and allow steam to escape. This will ensure that your food will be as crisp and fresh as it was when it was first served.



Use Vented Takeout Containers

If you must use Styrofoam or plastic containers for your hot food, make sure they are properly vented. Vented containers will keep moisture from building up near your hot and fried food. These vents don’t need to be very large, either. In fact, they’re more effective if they are kept smaller. The vents will still be large enough to allow steam and moisture to escape, but they won’t be so large that your food will get cold on the way home.


Keep Food Loosely Wrapped

If you have to wrap food before putting it in a container, be careful not to wrap it too tightly. You may think that a tight wrap will keep the food fresh, but all it does is seal in moisture and ensure that it will be soggy if it isn’t eaten quickly. Wrap burgers and other fried foods loosely so that they have room to “breathe.”

Serving food in take-out food containers and to-go containers is something of a lost art. It’s not enough to just place food in a box and sending it out the door; you need to think about what your packaging and packing technique is doing to the texture of your food. Keep these tips in mind, and remind your customers to eat their food as soon as possible to ensure the best dining experience.


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