Beyond the Global Pandemic: Off-Premise Dining Best Practices Focus on Guest Experience and Food Safety

Posted on 1st Jul 2021

One result of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions has been the reluctance of shoppers to physically enter stores. In light of this, the third-party delivery services that are seeing increased usage across the restaurant and grocery industries, are equally applicable to c-stores, which are following the trend to remain viable.

A recent Technomic survey identified consumer awareness as the biggest roadblock for c-stores to transition into delivery since consumers do not consider c-stores as a delivery option. This presents a challenge to c-stores: how to get the word out.

Many stores are now educating consumers about available delivery. Taking things a step further, many c-stores are now improving the presentation of delivered food. For example, c-stores are using tamper-evident labeling to visually establish the safety of the food, increasing the likelihood that consumers will continue ordering for delivery. Operators are recognizing that it is up to them to meet—and exceed—customer expectations that the food they prepare is delivered timely, intact, and safe.

Safety and Convenience

Even when looking for convenience, customers want to feel confident that the food delivered to them is safe. The packaging of a customer’s order is an important element for off-premise dining. Operators who are taking safety into consideration are using tamper-evident methods to avoid food safety risks that might arise from transportation, delivery, and handling of their food products.

One example of such methods is DayMark® Safety Systems’ TamperSeal™ labels. These labels will secure delivered food items and provide customers with peace of mind. The labels contain security slits cut on the surface of the label that tear if someone attempts to open the container, making it visibly obvious the package has been opened.

TamperSeal products also utilize a strong adhesive that securely sticks to most packaging materials. In addition, operators can include printed information such as a store logo, a web address, safe handling instructions, date and time the food was prepared, and nutritional and other customized information directly onto the label. These are all data points that consumers want to see.

Many of the behaviors patrons employed during the pandemic are expected to continue. Patrons have become comfortable, for example, with social distancing as a new norm—even as COVID-19 restrictions have become more relaxed. With the increased reliance on off-premise dining taking hold, operators need to find new approaches to reach consumers without sacrificing quality, convenience, or food safety.

Article originally appeared on the CStore Decisions website.

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