Missed Opportunities: Packaging or Advertising?

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Any smart restauranteur looks at their numbers with scrutiny and a discerning eye. It’s good business. You want to save money wherever possible and maximize your  revenue/profit. Sometimes this is taken too far to the detriment of the food, the service and missed opportunities. But what are missed opportunities?

I stopped in at a Flying Biscuit this morning to pickup a tasty latte and some breakfast. They have good food and good service. Friendly atmosphere. When my order was up I grabbed it and left. During my “travels” I passed a few people in the parking lot. I was sitting next to a number of folks in other cars at stop lights, I walked into my office of over 18 people. I encountered probably 30 people while holding my plain white cup, generic “thank you” bag full of plain white containers. Those are missed opportunities.

Packaging can be seen as a necessary, utilitarian element in your restaurant. You have to have them. Smart restauranteurs know that packaging also acts as moving advertisements with immediate credibility attached. You see, when we walk with a restaurant’s bag in our hand and cup tipped to our mouth, we’re endorsing that brand and the people around us see this endorsement. They see the bag. They see the cup. The brand’s identity is there touting benefits and portraying the brand’s promise. Smart designs even direct a viewer to engage online or call the restaurant. The sky’s the limit.

Look at your packaging as an advertising media first and a utilitarian necessity second because every time you send someone out that door with a plain white cup, generic  “thank you” bag, and plain packaging you’re missing out on valuable advertising and endorsements. Think about the amount of money you invest in advertising then look at the cost of producing bags, containers, etc. I think you’ll see the per unit is cheaper and the results will most likely be better.

Sure, producing packaging can be expensive, but consider other options like a custom sticker you can place on bags or containers. Maybe get the sleeve for a coffee cup printed instead of the entire cup.

What restaurants do you think have great takeout packaging? Post links to pictures if you can.

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One Response

  1. Top notch point!

    Just wanted to add, when i used to work for one of the big food distribution companies – a trick we always pointed out to restaurants about imprinting cups, etc was that quite often you can get custom printing done for free if you carry someone else’s ad on the sleeve/pizza box/whatever.

    There’s a couple of companies dish out free sleeves for your coffee cups, in exchange for some ad space. Seems like trading getting your brand out there for a little ad for a non-competing business would be a win-win for most establishments.

    Alternatively – go to a successful local business and ask them to split the cost of printing with you for a promo spot on your coffee cup. Works great in communities where people love to support local businesses.

    Yes indeed, the generic white coffee cup, or pizza box with no branding is a huge missed opportunity!

    Keep up the good work!

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