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FOLD-PAK a RockTenn Company

Sustainability Made Easy for Food Establishments

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 10:31 by dfederico

Food establishments are always looking for ways to improve their businesses and the most recent and popular trend is becoming environmentally savvy. Becoming more sustainable will help to cut down on costs, increase customer loyalty, and improve your reputation all at the same time. However, sustainability is not as easy as it sounds – it is not enough to simply include a recycling bin at your location. While it’s a good start, try to take advantage of these tested solutions when you’re ready to make the change:

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Techniques

In many cases, the most commonly used cleaning products used by food establishments and even your own home can cause more damage than the germs they are designed to fight. Some products release dangerous greenhouse gasses that destroy the ozone layer and can even cause breathing issues amongst people. Instead, you can buy all-natural cleansers that work just as hard without the unfortunate side effects. The best part? You can make your own.

Eco-friendly Food Containers

 Food containers are an absolute staple for nearly every business. Fortunately, there are methods of reducing your waste without inconveniencing your customers. Fold-Pak creates several variations of paper boxes, some even made from 100% recycled materials.  They can also provide your eatery with custom food containers bearing your business name or logo, making the product not only stylish, but eco-friendly as well. Fold-Pak is dedicated to providing sustainable solutions for a variety of food establishments.

Investigate your Energy Usage

Restaurants, diners, and other food related businesses use a great deal of energy on a regular basis. Between lighting, cooking, and chilling, the monthly electricity bill can really start to add up. The good news is that there are alternative means of achieving each of these tasks while limiting the amount of energy wasted. For example, reducing the size of your cool case or dimming lights ever so slightly during off-peak hours could greatly help your wallet and the environment over time.

 

 

These are only a few steps to take towards becoming an environmentally-friendly food establishment but will do a whole lot of good in saving you money, increasing customer loyalty, improve your reputation… all while helping the environment.

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3 Tried and Tested Methods of Promoting Sustainability in Your Restaurant

Monday, 27 October 2014 16:32 by dfederico

Like all businesses, restaurants are facing increased pressure to be earth-friendly and rely on sustainable business practices, but for many restaurants the route to green status isn’t obvious. Here are three tried and true methods to make your restaurant earth friendly, from the take-out food containers you use to the lighting overhead.

 

#1: Use earth-friendly take-out food containers. No matter what kind of restaurant you run, to go containers are a must. From fast food counters where most items on the menu are served in a carryout package to the finest five-star eatery where leftovers are carefully packaged, every restaurant goes through lots of containers. Unfortunately, many restaurants use containers that are made of plastic and are unlikely to go on to be recycled.

 

That doesn’t have to be the case. Earth-friendly take-out food containers are surprisingly affordable and can substantially boost your restaurant’s image. These containers are available made of 100% recycled paperboard and remain highly functional. Grease and leak resistant, microwaveable, and fully recyclable, these containers are a major step toward sustainability.

 

#2: Offer recycling. Unless you sell soft drinks in cans or are located in a food court type area, many restaurants don’t think of adding recycling bins and recycling their own waste. However, this can be a major lost opportunity both to reduce waste and to impress your customers.

 

Recycling in restaurants takes place at two levels: recycling bins for customers to use and recycling efforts by the staff themselves. Any eatery that has trash cans out for customers to use can benefit by placing clearly marked recycling bins next to them, which sends a clear message to customers that you care about the environment. But even restaurants that bus all tables and do not vend soda in cans or bottles can benefit from recycling. A single recycling bin under the bar can take empty bottles, substantially reducing the waste you send to landfills.

 

#3: LED lighting. There was a time when restaurant owners were afraid to turn to LED lighting. After all, early LED bulbs were expensive and had a harsh white-colored light. No one wants to feel like they’re in an operating room while they eat their dinner!

 

Fortunately times have changed. Not only have prices come down on LED lights, making them competitive with traditional lighting, but they have also warmed up. LED lights are available in a variety of hues including those that closely mimic natural light or incandescent bulbs. Even better, you’ll see your energy bills fall after making the switch!

 

How has your restaurant gone sustainable?

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5 Ways Delis Can Be More Customer-Friendly

Friday, 27 June 2014 15:03 by dfederico

If you’re the owner of or even just an employee at a deli then there’s a good chance you’ve had a lot of interactions with customers. Let’s face it, no matter how good a deli is it is nothing without its loyal customers. This is why it is so important to work to ensure that your customers are always satisfied. There are many things that you as an employee or owner can do to ensure your deli offers excellent customer service. Here are 5 ways that delis can be more customer-friendly

1.      Offer pre-packaged sandwiches and foods. Your customers can be very busy people. Sometimes they want to have a gourmet sandwich or a bit of homemade potato salad, but they simply do not have time to order anything. Make sure you meet the needs of these busy customers by offering pre-packaged sandwiches and salads that your customers can grab-and-go with. Use eco-friendly sustainable deli food containers to keep sandwiches and lunch meat fresh and to allow for easy handling. Pre-packaged sandwiches and food are especially great if your deli is located by other businesses because workers can then stop in your deli to purchase a quick lunch.

 2.      Allow for custom orders. Your deli might have its own signature items as many delis do, in addition to the standard American and Italian hoagies. However, there’s always that one customer with the rather unique order. Rather than saying no to your customer’s request for an olive-loaf and liverwurst hoagie with ranch dressing (or whatever unusual request they make), be prepared for it! Try to have an ample variety of items and be willing to cater to your customer’s custom orders, regardless of how strange they may sound. Your customers will appreciate the effort and it will make them want to come back.

 3.      Be considerate of your customer’s dietary needs. How can your customers enjoy your food if there’s nothing available for them to eat based on their dietary needs? Consider common dietary needs and requests. Many customers may want low-sodium or fat-free lunch meat. Others may request gluten-free rolls or bread. You should also have a couple of items that are vegetarian or vegan-friendly. Make sure you inform your customers of all of your deli’s offerings and how you plan to meet their dietary needs. Also, tell your customers to make your employees aware of any food allergies they may have ahead of time so you can be sure to create food that is safe for them to eat. They will appreciate the gesture!

 4.      Offer specials and discounts. What better way is there to honor your customers than by offering special discounts and deals? E-mail your customers exclusive offers and offer loyalty programs. Many delis like to hand out cards and punch them every time a customer purchases a sandwich. When the card gets a certain amount of punches, they offer a free sandwich or another item. This helps to encourage your customers to keep coming back and purchasing more items. Customers love feeling like they are valued and offering rewards is the perfect way to thank them for their purchases.

5.      Listen to and acknowledge your customers. Customer feedback, whether positive or negative, is essential for the success of your deli. Delis love to highlight positive feedback and boast about their success. However, any negative feedback is just as important if not more so. Negative feedback allows your deli to identify any current or potential issues and to learn new ways to improve their service. Make sure to offer customer surveys and to give your customers a chance to offer their feedback. Always listen to your customer’s comments and consider ways that your deli can improve. It could be something as small as hiring more employees for quicker service or something bigger like launching a new sandwich type.  Either way your customers will notice when you listen to them and work to meet their needs.

When you follow these five tips you’ll be sure to have happy and loyal customers that love to come to your deli. Take the time to follow through with each step. It will be worth it in the long run when your happy customers help push your deli to success!

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What Top Restaurants Have

Thursday, 8 May 2014 09:50 by dfederico

When considering opening a restaurant, it’s important to look at what successful establishments have that separates them from the others. Once you discover their secret to success, it’s up to you to replicate it in your own unique way. Before even starting out, it’s important to realize that owning a thriving restaurant is very difficult, but there are things that you can do to enhance your prospects. Here are some things that will help you boost your business.

 

Packaging

A great way to market your business is to invest in unique and personalized food service packaging. With unique labels and designs, your packaging will stand out from the rest and get people asking about your food. Though distinctive packaging may cost a bit more, it will be worth every penny when it draws in new customers. 

Holiday Specials

Taking advantage of holidays is a great way to drum up business. Mother’s Day is around the corner, why not plan specials for the holiday? Many families enjoy treating the women in their life and they will be looking to check out a new place with an interesting menu. Other popular holidays for dining out include Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. 

 

Social Media

Using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, FourSquare, and Yelp are great ways to promote your business. These sites will allow visitors to leave personal reviews, which are highly regarded by people who are deciding on a restaurant. Social media also gives you the opportunity to get in touch with clients, answer their questions, and keep them up-to-date about your establishment. Use these platforms to advertise specials, new menu items, events, and anything new and exciting that is going on at the restaurant. The more visibility you have online, the better.

 

Get Feedback

To be a successful business owner, you have to be willing to ask for feedback. Ask diners what they honestly think about every aspect of your business and try not to be offended about what they have to say. Take their opinions into consideration and find ways to address things they brought up. Customers will respond positively to a business that is open to change and willing to listen. 

 

Since it’s very hard to run a successful restaurant, it’s important to set yourself up for success by purchasing new food service packaging, working on holiday specials, creating social media buzz, and asking for customer feedback.

       

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What your Food Service Packaging Says About You

Monday, 24 February 2014 09:56 by dfederico

Working in the food industry – whether a supermarket or a bakery, a restaurant or a candy store – you might think that your choice of packaging is just another generic thing business owners have to worry about. However, there are a lot of studies that show that simple things like packaging have an effect on customers' cognitive associations with the business. So what does your food service packaging say about your company?

A simple decoration, such as a printed logo or coherent colors, can make your company stand out to a customer. Often keeping it simple and elegant with the design shows that you appreciate the details in a practical way – and, of course, it helps to reinforce your brand recognition, which is never a bad thing.

If you want your food packaging to say something positive about your company, try choosing something sustainable. More and more customers are admitting that they are more likely to give their patronage to a company that practices sustainability. Sustainable packaging says that your company cares about its impact on the Earth, and this sentiment probably carries on to other aspects of your company's practices.

So, yes, your food packaging may be small, but its impact on consumer behavior is large. You should most certainly put thought into how you'd like it to look and the materials you'd like to use, as it is often going home with your customers and will serve as the final impression of their dining experience.

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Recyclable Items You Need in Your Restaurant

Monday, 17 February 2014 11:24 by dfederico

Whether you work in a restaurant, a deli, a cafeteria, or any other place that serves food, being sustainable is a good thing. You can replace old light bulbs with LED lights, install water-saving technology, and use only sustainable foods. Customers love an environmentally-friendly eatery.

Recycling is probably one of the easiest things you can do to cut down on your environmental footprint. Many restaurants already do a lot of recycling, but there are so many ways to do it other than putting cardboard in the recycling bin. Use these tips and tricks to reap the full benefits of being environmentally conscious.

Crushers

Recycling can take up a lot of space. Any bottles, cans, or containers can easily and quickly fill a recycling bin.  This situation can be fixed with can, glass, and plastic crushers. These machines will compact your containers so they’re much smaller. 

Beer and Soda on Tap

All the bottles, plastic or glass, from various drinks can pile up after a while. Installing beer taps and soda taps can save you so much money in buying the product, and can cut down on a lot of waste. Customers can fill up their reusable cups, and you’ll find yourself with less waste and less cost.

Sustainable Takeout Containers

There are many substrates and packaging materials that are not friendly to the environment.  These are materials that are not recyclable and do not break down in landfills.  Consider switching to more sustainable food boxes, like paperboard.  These containers are recyclable and have a much better impact on the environment.

Differentiated Bins

Customers have reported that they are perfectly willing to take part in recycling, if bins are readily available to them. Provide your customers with several bins that are clearly marked, and they’ll do half of your job for you. Make sure that the recycling bin is a different color than the garbage can, and has an obvious symbol or title on it. You can also make a sign designating what exactly gets recycled, so you don’t have to worry about sorting through anything later.

Being sustainable is not only great for the planet, it’s great for business. Cut down on your carbon footprint and save money at the same time with these environmentally-safe tips. By using these items, you can boost your customer base. 

 

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What's to Come for the Restaurant Industry in 2014

Monday, 10 February 2014 09:16 by dfederico

Recent market research on the restaurant industry shed light on the incoming trends that will shape the restaurant industry in 2014. On the list is everything from innovative menu themes to the projected increase of spending from diners of older generations.  All points provide insight into what we can expect to see now that the economy is improving.

Which of these dining innovations do you expect to be most exciting? Which are you not looking forward to?

The Prices of Meat

In 2014, the prices on red meat are expected to rise, while poultry will likely be more inexpensive. It's probable that this is an indicator of what new menus will offer. Beef dishes will be more expensive and less plentiful throughout the menu, while the emphases will be placed on entrees featuring other meats.

Internet Incentives

It seems like dining incentives go through trends and phases: several years ago, it was easy to find paper coupons in weekly circulars, and that eventually transformed into value menus and combo offers. Now, with the prevalence of the internet and mobile devices, it'll be easier than ever to redeem loyalty rewards and coupons. Along with rotating offers that can be presented on a mobile device, there will also be more group deal sites and even customer loyalty programs for diners who order food from a mobile device.

 

Packaging Changes

The prospective ban of Styrofoam in take-out containers in New York City was an issue on the tongues of many Americans this past year.  It's not uncommon for other cities to follow suit when a major city institutes such a change, so many are anxious to see what might happen. Initiatives such as these will likely cause many companies to switch to more sustainable take-out containers.

Focus on Health

 

Novel menu themes are already becoming popular among independent restaurants in major cities, and it definitely draws a crowd. Pair novelty with healthy, and you've probably set the stage for new restaurants in 2014. Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of health as information about diet becomes more accessible, so it's a wise move for restaurants to make their menu diet-friendly. Gluten-free, vegan, and low-carb options will surely rise in popularity this year.

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Restaurants and Waste: The Shocking Truth

Friday, 25 October 2013 15:14 by dfederico

The issue of waste, especially on the corporate scale, is a topic that cannot be discussed frequently enough. The issues multiply on a daily basis, from the amount of food that gets thrown away each night after closing to the sheer magnitude of the amount of garbage we produce and resources we consume. It's such a sizable issue that many consumers, as well as restaurant owners, tend to turn a blind eye, assuming that creating a significant-enough solution is a feat too mountainous to tackle.

The Consumer Viewpoint

Did you know that, according to a study conducted by the National Restaurant Association just two years ago, 60% of consumers would sooner patronize a restaurant that recycles as opposed to one that didn't? About half of consumers even said that they'd pay some 10 percent more for a restaurant visit if they knew that restaurant was practicing sustainability. And finally, the vast majority of consumers – about 85% -- agreed that they'd sort garbage into designated bins for recycling if restaurants made them available. One could safely assume that implementing a recycling program into a restaurant's business model would most certainly benefit company traffic – not to mention what it would do for the earth. As a matter of fact, 18% of restaurants who switched to “greener” initiatives stated that business improved since doing so, while 70% said that it stayed relatively the same – so what have you got to lose?

The Major Offenses

Despite the clear demand for reducing waste in the food biz, restaurants are still one of the biggest culprits of wasting goods. For example, did you know that we waste about 1.3 billion tons of food produced for human consumption per year? That's about a third of all the food we make worldwide. Furthermore, a large portion of food businesses, both fast food and fine dining, use Styrofoam™ take-out containers. Styrofoam™ and all other plastics take up space in landfills and become a "permanent part" of the environment after they are used. Plastic containers and bags are also frequently used, and a common offender in the food industry.  The manufacturing process uses non-renewable resources and contributes significantly to various types of pollution.

What You Can Do

Fortunately, reducing waste in the restaurant industry is pretty easy. For one, include sustainability as a factor when choosing your carryout containers. Swapping out your plastic or Styrofoam™ for paperboard food boxes is a huge step. Having paperboard to-go boxes encourages diners to take their uneaten food home with them, helping reduce waste and eliminating all the negative consequences of using Styrofoam™ and plastic. Paperboard materials are extremely recyclable and are sometimes already made from post-consumer materials as well.

Many restaurants are warming up to the idea of composting food waste by pairing up with local farmers or creating an on-site compost. This helps to enrich the soil, promoting agriculture while also reducing the amount of food that goes to waste.

Most restaurants already have established recycling programs, but if yours hasn't, consider making it a top priority for your business. It takes more than putting bottles and cans in a separate bin – there are recycling programs for various types of papers, water and more that can make a huge difference. 

Since sustainability is becoming an increasingly large cultural conflict, now is the time to get on board. Despite the amount of waste restaurants put out, it's also particularly easy to make small changes that have significant impacts, which is a unique advantage to food producers.

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