As the recovery from COVID-19 accelerates, many people remain cautious and may be slow to return to normal dining-out routines. Throughout the pandemic, many found it easier—and perceived it to be safer—to search for a meal online and have it delivered whenever and wherever they wanted, driving some restaurants so far as to close their dining room and turn to takeout-only service.
In addition, ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants—two emerging trends that the pandemic helped elevate—have taken hold as delivery-friendly concepts that appear to be sticking around long after the last pandemic restrictions are lifted.
However, as the demand for off-premise dining continues to grow, operators need to make adjustments to ensure customers are receiving the same level of quality and safety they would if their meal were consumed in house. How food is prepared and packaged, as well as the time it takes for delivery, can make a big difference in quality. Adding transport-friendly menu items and rethinking packaging so that hot and cold foods can retain their proper temperatures will be important for repeat business.
Along with rethinking menu items, restaurant operators must make certain that the food they prepare for their customers is delivered intact and safe. Understanding risks such as food tampering and damage will help restaurant operators be proactive in avoiding problems before they become major issues—a 2019 national survey from US Foods found that nearly 30% of food delivery drivers are eating from the food they are delivering.
Paying special attention to the packaging of foods is an important way to ensure that food is appropriately labeled and handled during delivery. Using tamper-evident labels—such as TamperSeal™ labels offered by DayMark Safety Systems®—as a seal on delivered food packaging can offer peace of mind to both restaurant operators and customers. TamperSeal labels feature security slits that cause the label to lose its integrity if someone attempts to open the container. If the seal is broken upon delivery, it is a clear indication that the food may have been tampered with.
Tamper-evident labels utilize strong adhesive to keep the label attached to the package, but also offer other benefits: TamperSeal labels, for example, can be printed using DayMark’s MenuPilot® platform and can include information such as a company logo, a web address, safe handling instructions, date and time the food was prepared, marketing material, and nutritional and other customized information.
As customer demand for off-premise dining and food delivery services continues to transform the way people interact with restaurants, an investment in food packing and safety methods will ensure that customers continue to rely on restaurant operators to provide the best possible dining experience.
Article originally appeared on the Restaurant Business website.