Many concept-driven casual dining restaurants are making their menus equally amenable for take-out, retail sale, delivery and home meal replacement. Bruce Whitehall talks to Sweden's Duni about new opportunities in branded packaging solutions and also finds out about a linen-replacing wonder material for table-covers.
The use of customised disposable packaging has been well-established in European foodservice since the 1970s, contributing an important extra dimension to the ‘urban picnic' offered by fast food take-aways and cafés. But until the last decade, single use cups, plates and other containers have had a minor role in the wider restaurant industry. A new generation of marketing-savvy foodservice entrepreneurs is now adding extra revenue streams profitably and finding ways of using single use packaging for special offer promotions, party functions and outside catering. Even fine dining exponents are considering customised packaging when trying their hand at less formal and more flexible opportunities such as short-term ‘pop-up' restaurants and event catering. Disposable products are therefore providingsignificant solutions, both single use cups, plates, bowls, trays and boxes and also covers and napkins to dress table-tops. A key criterion is that such products must not look out of place. They need to match the decor and the restaurant's branding imagery as well as provide convenient, financially viable solutions.
Fast-growing Swedish restaurant, nightclub and hotel operator Stureplansgruppen exemplifies this approach in its development of the take-out option at Le Cafe. Two lively outlets trading all day from 7.30 am in central Stockholm offer the entire menu of healthy sandwiches, deli items and breakfasts for take-out as well as eat-in. The future- minded minichain wanted visually attractive packaging which emphasised their branding as well as being easy-to-use and environmentally sound.