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5 Smart Ways To Elevate Your Delivery And Takeout Packaging

Jun 16, 2023

5 Smart Ways To Elevate Your Delivery And Takeout Packaging

Image via Pexels 

Even as dine in opens up and vaccines slowly become available, takeout and delivery will remain primary avenues for consumers to interact with restaurants. Third-party delivery services report their business more than doubled between the end of 2019 and the first half of 2020. 

But let’s not forget people still want to be delighted by their dining experience, even at home. In the same way we judge books by their covers, how you package your orders—and the little touches you include inside—can turn your dishes into must-have meals before the first bite. Stepping up your game when it comes to your takeout and delivery service ensures your current customers remain enthusiastic and can help generate the kind of buzz you need to attract new ones. 

Here are 5 helpful tips restaurateurs can upgrade their delivery and takeout service to improve customer satisfaction and increase repeat orders. 

Select The Right Packaging

If your restaurant is focused on high-quality, fine foods, select packaging that shows off the food in a way that your team can still play with some plating techniques and provides a “wow” factor when the customers open the box or bag. Branding your packaging doesn’t have to be expensive. Rubber stamps and well-placed branded stickers can promote your restaurant in a stylish, memorable way, without breaking the bank.

wonderfood open containers filled with foodwonderfood delivery containerswonderfood bottles

Images via Wonderfood 

Attractive packaging with the right message such as Thailand based superfood brand Wonderfood helps you to connect with customers and retain their loyalty. Your packaging will interact with hundreds of customers.  If this experience is positive, there’s a higher probability of repeat purchases. Think sustainable bottles with quirky messages and reusable bento boxes with your brand’s tagline. Seeing branded food and drink containers in their kitchen can bring out a hunger response.  

Convenience is Key

Convenience will always be the number one reason to order takeout from a fast-casual restaurant. It doesn’t matter if customers choose to have it delivered, or order online and pick it up (sometimes known as click and collect). It’s all about enjoying that delicious food from the comfort of their couch and fuzzy slippers, as they work through lunch or any type of multitasking activity, without having to cook or do dishes. 

This means your food delivery packaging needs to be designed with convenience in mind. It should be easy to carry, resealable, and lightweight so that it doesn’t need to be eaten all in one go.

dragon bowl conteiner with sidesDragon Bow container using lid to pour contents

Image via Dragon Bowl 

For example, many restaurants that specialise in noodles such as Dragon Bowl in Indonesia have made their takeout convenient by applying two separate compartments where one is for the noodles and another is for the soup. This not only saves time to eat a ready prepared meal but also avoids messy handling and spillages.  

Enhance The Experience

Just because customers aren’t sitting in your restaurant as much doesn’t mean you can’t still extend hospitality. Consider how your customers will be experiencing every step of the takeout or delivery process and find ways to make each step more enjoyable or surprising.

raw ingredients hown next to plated dishesfresh and bagged ingredients next to prepared meal

Image via St. Regis 

Take St. Regis for instance, their in-house restaurant The Brasserie has started doing high-end to-go menus during the pandemic accompanied by how-to instructions from chefs to prepare the meal. Meals such as their Lobster Tagliatelle Kit and Steak Kit enables customers to whip up and enjoy the gourmet dishes in the comfort of their own home.  

Do It For The ‘Gram

These days, people are all about sharing their stories online, and creating a buzz via social media is one of the effective ways to put your restaurant out there for the online audience to see and check out. When creating packaging, think about the unboxing experience that people will want to share via their newsfeed. And make sure your social media handles are clearly visible on the packaging. Encourage customers to share their experiences and tag your social accounts. 

steaming benta boxchild smailing at a steaming benta box with lid

Images via Hotbox Philippines 

The Benta Box with Rice by Filipino company Hotbox uses unique self-heating steam boxes that make a great customer experience story to share on social media. The meal box comes with an easy pull string that allows the water within the packaging be poured over the heater pad, releasing enough heat to warm up a pre-cooked meal at 100 degrees in approximately 10 minutes. This encourages their customers through this presentation to post videos and tag them, then reshare those videos on social media. Encouraging FOMO (“fear of missing out”) is one of the best marketing strategies.  

Put Your Chef Out There

food service on to go traysSIA chefsplated food and sides

Image via Singapore Airlines 

Engage your customers more by including the chefs. Chef TV shows has always been popular long before the advent of YouTube and some of them have even expanded over online. This is because everybody wants to hear the stories behind your dishes. Whether that’s a special note in the takeaway box from the chef about how to prepare their meal or a special Instagram Live Q&A about specific dishes, find ways to include the chef’s voice. 

Take Singapore Airlines for example. They’ve come up with a way to engage customers during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has devastated the travel industry. Their SIA @ Home aims to bring the first- and business-class experience into homes. Customers can opt to choose meals that are the very ones served aboard its flights, that were designed by chefs from its international culinary panel, such as Sanjeev Kapoor, chef, television host and cookbook author from India, Yoshihiro Murata of three-Michelin-starred Kikunoi in Japan, Matt Moran of Aria in Australia and Georges Blanc of the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Georges Blanc in France  

A Little Extra Goes A Long Way

Before the pandemic, restaurants were skilled at conveying their brands through the design of their dining rooms, menus, and a thousand other things that helped differentiate them from competitors to create a memorable experience. With the rise of delivery and takeaway, you need to give the same care and attention to how your orders are packaged and presented for a home audience. The food is just the beginning.