Even before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a virtual standstill, off-premise dining was rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, online food ordering and restaurant delivery has grown exponentially over the last five years.
Using third-party delivery partners, however, is not without its challenges. Poor customer experiences, from late or missed deliveries to cold food to package tampering all pre-date COVID-19. Studies dating back to 2019 revealed that bad things sometimes happen between placement of the order and delivery of the food. However, since the onset of the pandemic, customers have even more concerned with food safety, especially when it comes to food delivered to their home or office. They want to enjoy their meal as if they were dining out, without wondering if their food is safe to eat or if it has been tampered with by restaurant workers or delivery drivers.
Operators share the same concerns as their customers, and it is up to them to ensure that the food they prepare for their customers is delivered undamaged and safe.
Put a label on it
In response to the increase in off-premise dining, food safety regulators have developed guidelines to ensure that appropriate practices are in place that keep food safe from start to finish. California has enacted the Fair Food Delivery Act, for instance. The act requires all containers for ready-to-eat foods that are being delivered by third-party providers to be closed by the foodservice facility with a tamper-evident method prior to being handed off to the food transporter.
Other states are working on their own regulations to create a standard for third-party food delivery platforms that will change how restaurants package their food for delivery. The new rules would ensure that third-party platforms specifically follow guidelines that many restaurants have been practicing for some time, including the use of tamper-evident labeling.
The packaging of food is an important consideration when ordering food for off-premise dining, and paying special attention to packaging is an important way to address tampering concerns. Many operators have already taken their customers’ safety into consideration and are using tamper-evident methods to prevent food safety risks that may occur during the transportation, delivery and handling of their food products. One such product, TamperSeal labels, manufactured by DayMark Safety Systems, feature 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.
Not all tamper-evident labels are created equal, however—some offer additional benefits and versatility. The TamperSeal line, for example, utilizes an aggressive adhesive that securely sticks to most packaging materials, and is also available with custom branding and in an assortment of shapes and sizes that are ideal for all types of food and drink packaging.
Until consumers are ready to return to onsite dining, off-premise dining will continue to be an important option for both restaurants and third-party delivery providers. While this requires the least amount of contact in a food service transaction, tamper-evident labels can further help ensure the safe delivery of food items.
Article originally appeared on the Restaurant Business website.