How to save money with takeout containers for restaurants

The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound and lasting impact on the restaurant industry.

According to a report by the National Restaurant Association, the US dining-out sector lost an estimated $290 billion in sales from March 2020 to December 2020 alone. Financial pressures as a result of months-long lockdowns forced owners to find ways of becoming more efficient and streamlined simply to stay afloat.

However, a lifeline emerged in the form of takeout orders. Throughout nationwide closures, food delivered directly to customers’ doors or picked up by themselves was mostly allowed. As such, takeout and delivery services surged by approximately 300% in the US during the first year of the pandemic.

And although the worst of Covid-19 has now passed, takeout deliveries continue to be extremely popular, with 68% of Americans indicating that they are now more likely to order delivery from a restaurant than they were pre-pandemic. A Gloria Food’s study found that 86% of the country’s adult population had ordered food delivery at least once a month.

The surge in takeout containers for restaurants and fast-food chains was inevitable, necessitating better packaging that won’t incur excessive costs. To assist restaurants in saving on those expenses, this article will outline some tips for using takeout containers efficiently.

Why reducing costs is crucial to restaurants

Competition in the restaurant industry is fierce and businesses often operate on slim profit margins. Data from the National Restaurant Association indicates that full-service restaurants typically have a 5-6% average margin, emphasising how critical it is to save every penny to be successful.

In addition, rising costs of living, labour, energy, and supplies must all be taken into account when discussing margins and profitability.

Notably, access to reliable and affordable electricity usage has been associated with a high level of GDP in studies. This means that high energy costs can affect food businesses in many ways:

  • Increasing costs of labour as employees have to adjust to the increasing cost of living 
  • Rising food prices due to transportation and storage costs 
  • Higher energy bills for restaurants with ovens, refrigerators, and other equipment that require electricity to operate

Aside from monetary costs, restaurant owners face an even greater difficulty with disposables: their environmental impact. Single-use plastics are detrimental to the environment – a serious concern for us all. Therefore, the food industry was forced to find better takeaway packaging – and it paid off.

In 2022, the global market for takeout containers for restaurants is set to reach a value of $2.3 billion. This has paved the way for manufacturers to offer more eco-friendly materials that reduce costs and protect the environment.

For food businesses looking to be more efficient, they must understand their margins, track costs, and identify ways to reduce them – this can be done by finding alternative suppliers who offer lower prices, negotiating better terms with existing suppliers, adopting energy-efficient practices like LED lighting or investing in technology that automates certain processes.

The dominance of the food delivery markets is set to be big until 2027, with a projected market value of $900 billion. An effective response is the use of efficiency in takeout containers for restaurants.

Consumers prefer sustainable takeout containers for restaurants.

Takeout packaging costs

Takeout packaging can incur additional costs for restaurants without necessarily resulting in higher prices for customers. This is because the containers are single-use materials, such as plastic and paper, which require resources to acquire, store and dispose of. Consequently, restaurants must factor these expenses into their budget when buying takeout supplies.

Additionally, some municipalities may impose fees on single-use takeout containers or Styrofoam due to its non-biodegradable nature; thus, restaurants should be mindful of local regulations when selecting their takeout packaging options.

Furthermore, since many customers now prefer eco-friendly packaging solutions over traditional ones due to environmental concerns – which could potentially lead them towards other establishments if not provided – restaurants should consider investing in more sustainable alternatives even if it means slightly higher upfront costs.

To ensure that the extra costs do not eat away at their profits, they should look for affordable and eco-friendly options that allow them to remain competitive while still protecting the environment.

What are the most expensive items?

When it comes to takeout containers for restaurants, plastic and Styrofoam tend to be the most expensive – and not particularly sustainable either.

While lightweight and durable, these materials are notoriously difficult to recycle – a fact restaurant owners must consider when making their purchasing decisions. Shipping costs should also be taken into account, as well as any potential surcharges imposed by the government.

Cheaper, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic and Styrofoam include paper, cardboard and compostable materials; though they may not support heavier foods as well as plastic or Styrofoam does.

It’s up to restaurant management to decide which material is the best for their takeout containers – a decision that can be informed by customer preferences. A survey shows that at least 70% of Americans are willing to pay more for better packaging materials, making this an opportunity for sales strategy, too.

Restaurant owners must consider several aspects when offering food delivery services, such as what items to include, whether to charge a fee and which payment methods are accepted. Making the right decisions can ensure customers enjoy their meals without any hassle.

Additionally, restaurants may opt to register their business on food delivery applications; this will allow them to reach a wider customer base and set delivery policies (e.g., minimum orders and delivery times).
Food businesses can use these apps for performance monitoring in order to optimise service. One study in Korea shows that due to the convenience of food delivery apps, together with easy payment methods, customers view such apps as reliable – leading them to be used more often.

Eco-friendly food packaging includes our paper boxes. Discover our tips for reducing the cost of takeout containers for restaurants.

Tips to reduce packaging costs

Cutting back on packaging costs is a no-brainer for restaurants and food businesses looking to save money. Here are a few tips for reducing the cost of takeout containers:

  • Use recyclable or compostable materials: One way to reduce costs is to switch from plastic and styrofoam containers to recyclable or compostable materials such as paper, LDPE, or cardboard. These materials are usually cheaper in the long run and more eco-friendly, ensuring they appeal to a wide customer base.
  • Consider portion sizes and minimalistic design: Takeout containers for restaurants may also cost less if owners opt to adjust portion sizes. With smaller containers and simple packaging, they can save on the cost of purchasing larger containers and design materials.
  • Find the right supplier: Restaurants should do their research and find the right supplier. The supplier should be able to provide quality materials at an affordable price. After being in touch with the right one, restaurants can then buy bulk orders to save more on costs per unit.
  • Choose multifunctional containers: Multifunctional packaging is a great way to reduce costs while still providing customers with the convenience they need. For example, there are containers that can be sealed, while some are reusable and microwaveable. These are cost-effective and practical both for restaurants and their customers.

These are merely the opening steps to reducing takeout container costs for restaurants. By continuing this process and investing in the market and customer research, restaurants can not only save money, but become more sustainable over time.