Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
Perfect your packaging
The pandemic has put restaurant packaging under a magnifying glass. That will only increase this winter, with fewer (if any) dine-in guests in your restaurant. Your packaging is what ensures the experience of eating your food is as good at a distance as it is in your dining room. Is yours up to the task? The materials you’re using – as well as your to-go menu – should be adjusting to the times. If items your restaurant is known for don’t travel well – like burgers and fries – make new packaging a priority. While the pandemic has posed seemingly endless challenges for the restaurant industry, it has also sparked innovation – including the development of new packaging options (along with new uses for existing packaging, like paella being delivered in pizza boxes). Eco-friendly options are on the rise right now – and will likely again be more of a consumer demand as we emerge from the pandemic, which has caused many restaurants to return to plastic and Styrofoam packaging for the short term. If you’re making packaging changes right now, consider packaging made from biodegradable materials or easily renewable sources like bamboo, as this report from Stylus explains. As the distribution of the vaccine makes life feel safer, you may also be able to return to reusable containers that guests can return and refill. A recent McKinsey report said post-pandemic, packaging companies will need to think about three requirements going forward: sustainability, hygiene and effective direct-to-consumer design. Restaurants should have a growing number of packaging options available to help them perfect the off-premise experience.
Think local this year
A number of recent reports are calling 2021 the year of local digital marketing for restaurants. It makes sense: Travel could still take some time to return to pre-pandemic levels and consumers will continue to rely on local businesses – and their smartphone searches – to connect with businesses they like in their neighborhood. Making sure you’re as visible as possible online to people in your area can have significant benefits: According to data from Hubspot, 97 percent of consumers searched online to find a local business and 64 percent of those searching for restaurants online followed through with a purchase within an hour. If you’re just ramping up your local digital marketing efforts, claim and optimize all local pages (via Google My Business local packs), respond to online reviews in a timely and professional way, and then optimize your ranking factors (these tips (http://bit.ly/3rosIMV) may help you improve your local search engine optimization if you need help). If you’re curious to know what restaurant brands are generating the best sales growth as a result of their local digital marketing efforts (and what they’re doing to stand out), check out this recent report from the marketing technology firm SOCi (http://bit.ly/3aGuW4w ).
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