Follow these steps to build your brand and enhance the customer experience.

6 Ways to Update Your Restaurant's Carryout Packaging


One of the lasting effects of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry will be the massive revenue shift from dine-in sales to delivery and takeout. The lockdowns and dining room closures forced restaurants to adopt off-premise sales as a way to stay afloat. With the ongoing vaccine rollout, 2021 should hopefully see a return to what everyone has dubbed the “new normal,” and while that will include more dine-in sales, takeout is here to stay.

So how can your restaurant give your customers the best takeout experience possible? What can you do to stand out from the competition?

Try sprucing up your takeout packaging. Customers still want a special dining experience when they order takeout, and the packaging their food comes in can go a long ways toward transforming a normal meal into something more. Plus, if you're not following these steps already, you are missing an opportunity to build your brand and enhance the customer experience.  

Here are 7 ways you can spruce up your takeout packaging to make your customer experience more special.

Brand It

It’s never been more important for restaurants to effectively brand themselves to try and stand out in a crowded marketplace. With dine-in limited, set your restaurant apart and build brand awareness and loyalty. Adding a logo or your brand colors can take a bland paper or plastic bag and transform it into a piece of marketing for your restaurant.

Use Stickers and Labels

If you lack the funds or motivation to order all-new packaging, stickers and labels make it easy to spruce up your current packaging. Stickers are a cheap and effective means to add your logo and other branding elements. Labels can elevate your takeout experience by providing the necessary information your customers need to enjoy your food the way you meant it to be enjoyed. Even a branded “freshness seal” sticker can set your takeout apart and ease the mind of your customers.

Use QR codes on carryout packaging and in-store signage to engage with your customers.

Add QR Codes

Use your takeout as a launching pad to the rest of your digital marketing by adding a QR code to the bag. Linking to your online menu is a modern, environmentally conscious alternative to including a takeout menu with the order. It gives customers a next step to engage with your restaurant, and makes it easy for them to order from you again by eliminating steps in the process. With QR codes, the possibilities are endless. You could also link to your loyalty program's enrollment page, to your social media, or encourage customers to leave a review by directing them to your Yelp or Google page.

Drop In a Coupon

Incentivize repeat business by including a coupon for future orders in the bag. This is a great way to turn into first-time customers into recurring ones. You can also encourage customers to skip third-party services with discounts on direct orders.

Slip in a Loyalty Card

Give your customers a jumpstart on your rewards program by including a loyalty card with the order. That way they have a bit of your marketing to save over for the next time they order your takeout. Be sure to punch or stamp the first field, though, to get them started down the path to a lifelong loyal customer.

Include a Takeout Menu

While most customers turn to online menus nowadays, some still prefer the old-fashioned utility of a printed takeout menu they can stick on the fridge. Slip one into your packaging so it’s easily available for them next time they want to order from you. Include a QR code on it that leads to your online menu so they can access your menu however they prefer.


About the Author:
Mark Plumlee is a a copywriter who has helped restaurants and small businesses grow and define their brands.

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