Tips from Andrew Paton, Regional Sales Director– Imperial Dade
Invest in takeout packaging. Save money on leftover packaging. Instead of buying a “middle of the road” vessel for both leftovers and takeout, use an inexpensive package like a paper food pail for customers’ leftovers and utilize a high-end package like a Cube container for takeout and delivery.
In coastal and high-tourism areas, timeshares and vacation rentals are common. Restaurants can create a takeout container or takeout cup that is dishwasher safe and will end up being reused in the kitchens of these rentals. Some examples are souvenir cups and dishwasher-safe takeout containers. Branding a cup or container with your logo and contact information is a great way to market to visitors that stay in these rentals.
Garbage bags and can liners are often misused. Take a look at the garbage bag in your trash can. If there is more than 6 inches of bag hanging off the side, you should be using a shorter, and less expensive, can liner. Try our Accufit liners. Each size of liner is designed to specifically fit the corresponding trash can.
The most common dispenser roll towel in the market is a 350ft roll. The Victoria Bay high capacity roll towel is 1150ft. That’s over three times the amount of paper on the roll. By using a high capacity roll, your staff will change out the towels less often and the cost in use is significantly less.
Handled paper bags are the most common takeout bags in the market due to customer preferences. A great option is a die-cut handle paper bag. These bags are less expensive than traditional rolled paper handled bags yet have the same useful features and benefits.
Our experienced consultants are available to help you streamline operations, save money, and improve customer satisfaction. Contact an Imperial Dade location near you to get started!
Sustainability, while currently in the shadow of the pandemic, will reemerge as a priority for many companies and consumers alike. For this issue of the Expert Interview, Laura Craven, Imperial Dade’s VP of Marketing, spoke with Richa Desai, Director, Sustainability for Sabert, a leading foodservice packaging manufacturer.
LC: Tell us about your role at Sabert?
RD: I have been in this role for just over a year and a half. I am responsible for collaborating with our internal functions to develop a coordinated sustainability road map to deliver Sabert’s sustainability commitments. I am also responsible for designing and executing a sustainability strategy to drive business performance and sustainable innovation across our company’s value chain.
LC: How did you become interested in this field of work?
RD: Sustainability has always been a very integral part of life. I grew up in a small town in the desert region on the west coast of India. The hardships brought by the extreme hot temperatures, followed by practically no rain and frequent power cuts inculcated a sense of value in me for natural resources like water, food, and energy very early on in my childhood. I started my career as an interior designer and always focused on merging modern day advancements in science and technology along with local craft and artisans in the design process to provide not only environmental, but also socially sustainable solutions. Further education, travel to different countries and interactions with national and international experts in the field of sustainability fueled my interest into a passion. Like so many others in the field, it was not a straight career path for me. Today, after a full day of work, I feel immensely satisfied and accomplished knowing that I am contributing, even if in a small way, to addressing some the biggest societal issues of our times. For me it is all about the sense of purpose.
“Sustainability may have taken a back seat, but climate change and packaging waste will still be here with us when we come out of this pandemic.”
LC: What is Sabert’s position on sustainable products and business practices?
RD: Sabert’s commitment to sustainability has been an ongoing effort dating back over 36 years. It is in our DNA to be sustainable. Sustainability is very well integrated into our business strategy which is evident through our Global Strategic Commitment. The commitment, to increase our share of sales from sustainable products, is supported in part by our fully owned plastics recycling facility – Nuvida and investments in local sourcing and manufacturing of all three – paper, plastics and pulp packaging.
LC: Tell us more about Nuvida.
RD: Nuvida is Sabert’s full-service, stand-alone recycling plant, recognized as one of the world’s leading processors and suppliers of food-grade recycled plastic resins. Nuvida has obtained a letter of compliance from the Food & Drug Administration, allowing post-consumer plastic beverage caps to be used in highly regulated packaging applications with direct food contact. Nuvida’s mission is to reduce plastic’s impact on the planet by transforming waste into the highest quality recycled resins.
LC: Has COVID-19 impacted the sustainability movement in foodservice?
RD: Absolutely! We just don’t know how long the shadow will persist. Disposability, which was once a dirty word, has now become a selling point as it offered safety and hygiene. Municipalities paused on recycling and bottle redemption, we experienced a budget deficit, lower oil prices, and changes in regulatory priorities and disruptions in supply chain. All of these factors contributed to a setback in the sustainability movement. Sustainability may have taken a back seat, but climate change and packaging waste will still be here with us when we come out of this pandemic. So, brands that keep their commitments to sustainability will emerge stronger on the other side.
“If there is one thing that is very well evident, it is that take-out and delivery is here to stay along with an increase in e-commerce demand.”
LC: How does packaging fit into sustainability programs in the foodservice industry?
RD: We all know that food packaging delivers many benefits such as food safety, portion control and extended shelf life that prevents food from going to waste. However, the increase in use of packaging has contributed to the waste issue that we are dealing with as a society today.
As a packaging company, we play a key role in being a part of the solution to this single use packaging waste problem. At Sabert, we recognize the importance of moving towards a circular economy where waste is designed out of the process. Following the circular economy principle, we have defined our sustainable products as products that are either compostable or are recyclable with an average of more than or equal to 25% recycled or bio-based content. Through this definition, we are not only addressing the problem of packaging waste, but are also reducing our dependence on virgin fossil fuel based raw materials.
LC: In addition to compostability and recyclability, are there other important attributes of sustainable packaging?
RD: To transition towards a circular economy, we will need multiple materials. It is not about selecting one material over the other. We need to consider the full life cycle impacts of a package. What is important is that we keep our packaging from ending up as waste by designing for recyclability or compostability at the end of their useful life by using recycled, recyclable, bio based or renewable raw materials. For us, it is absolutely imperative to ensure that we are sourcing materials ethically and responsibly, and that we are minimizing GHG emissions, water consumption and waste generation throughout our processes.
LC: How does sustainable packaging fit into certification systems such as LEED or GRA?
RD: Both LEED and GRA encourage sustainable purchasing and waste diversion out of landfill. They grant points/credits for using packaging that contains recycled content and/or is recyclable or compostable. Sabert offers a wide variety of products across its plastics, paper and pulp portfolio to help customers achieve and/or maintain LEED, TRUE ZERO waste certification and GRA.
RD: Earthtelligent is our comprehensive approach to sustainability. Through Earthtelligent, we are collaborating across our value chain, from our suppliers to end consumers, to advance waste reduction, energy efficiency, smart sourcing, education & advocacy and research & reinvention. Each of these pillars have specific goals and metrics. We share our progress on these pillars with our stakeholders through our annual sustainability report.
LC: What other practices can manufacturers employ to reduce their impact on the environment?
RD: When I joined Sabert, the message from our CEO, Albert Salama was very clear – “let’s lead by doing the right thing”. We have been putting a lot of resources towards making our operations sustainable through energy and water efficiency, reducing waste and diverting it away from landfill, carbon reduction through renewable energy, energy efficient fleet and responsible sourcing. In short, we are “walking the talk” by developing sustainable products sustainably.
LC: How does changing legislation pose challenges and how can Sabert help operators navigate and comply with those rules?
RD: With rising awareness around climate change and single use packaging waste, consumers have become increasingly aware of the effects of non-sustainable products on the environment and governments are starting to act. With lack of national consensus around the issue, understanding these policies at a state, city or county level can get complex. We track the regulatory environment on a regular basis and can help operators via sharing a bill tracker that we update every quarter. We also work together with operators to address their specific needs.
LC: What do you see for the future when it comes to consumer preferences?
RD: If there is one thing that is very well evident, it is that take-out and delivery is here to stay along with an increase in e-commerce demand. People have realized the value packaging provides in safety, hygiene and preventing food waste. As per a study conducted by AMERIPEN, packaging is one of the three strategies to prevent food waste and related GHG emissions. Consumers will demand transparency more than ever. Sustainability is on the cusp of becoming a given in any product, right up there with quality and performance. So, I would like to encourage operators to demand sustainability performance in their purchases because it is only through our collaboration that we will create a better tomorrow!
LC: Thank you, Richa! This has been very informative and inspiring!
Contact your Imperial Dade representative today for a review of your foodservice packaging and other supplies. Our experts will help you identify more sustainable options that meet your needs. Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.
Despite different backgrounds, life experiences and age, a common educational experience exists – school foodservice. Whether a student eats in the lunchroom, classroom or simply stops by a grab-and-go kiosk, safety for students is top of mind this fall.
Changing to distance or hybrid learning has changed the way schools provide meals to students, too. Depending on state-by-state regulations, many schools across the nation have not fully returned to in-person instruction. Some schools are providing both to-go bag lunches for home and meals for classrooms. While there are many variables to how schools are managing this, one thing is for sure: School lunches are very important for many students.
Each day, 30 million students are served by the National School Lunch Program, many of whom rely on this offering as a means for nutritious, healthy food.
Automated Labeling for School Meal Programs
This year it is much harder to maintain safety standards with a traditional lunchroom format of service. Schools have adapted by mobilizing staff to bring lunches to classrooms or team up with bus drivers on their routes to deliver to students at home.This delivery style lunch continues coverage, but also increases the importance of proper labeling. Allergies, dietary restrictions and nutrition regulations must continue to be considered – printing these crucial pieces of information clearly on labels makes assessment easy and ensures a safe meal for every student.
Utilizing Clear Labeling for Prep & Food Packaging
Operators are also still focused on serving healthy student meals while taking food allergies and sensitivities into consideration. Changing dietary needs and regulations, compounded with allergies, means school foodservice operators are hypersensitive when it comes to protecting students. The DateCodeGenie® system prints labels for grab-and-go, prep, allergens and more at the touch of a button – and can be customized for your school’s unique needs. Meals can even be individually labeled with student names to ensure safety and prevent mix-ups. Plus, this intuitive system can be controlled from a centralized district or campus location to streamline and save time. Labeling becomes easy, safe and efficient so that you can focus on keeping students safe.
With the Date Code Genie®, school foodservice operators can:
Quick-print labels for frequently prepped items
Label entire meals or individual portions made for grab-and-go
Easily customize labels with school logo, branding and even student names
Display ingredients, allergens & nutrition information clearly on labels
Control multiple district schools in one place
Multiple label adhesives are available, including a tamper-evident style that assures delivered meals have not been compromised. Date Code Genie systems provide benefits to school foodservice operations both immediately and well into the future.
Visit our website and speak with your Imperial Dade representative about purchasing a Date Code Genie for your school or other foodservice operation.
Summer is coming to a close and fall will be here sooner than you know it, as will the holiday season. According the National Retail Federation about 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping in October. And, this year with Covid-related travel and event restrictions, more gifts will be shipped in advance of the holidays than ever before.
If you have not started to plan your holiday marketing strategy, you may already be running late. But don’t worry, Imperial Dade is here to help with a dozen tips on how incorporating packaging into your marketing plan will help you design Instagrammable products that will delight your customers and increase sales. Whether you are a small artisanal food producer or a restaurant with a retail outlet, Imperial Dade has innovative options for you.
Consider your product offering and decide which items are ideal for holiday gift giving. Do you have items that can be packaged in small “stocking stuffer” sizes? Do you have products that can be bundled together to create a gift set? Once you determine your holiday line-up, it’s time to get creative with packaging.
Package your products with gifting in mind. In today’s convenience culture, items that do not require additional gift wrap are more popular and consumers are willing to pay a premium.
Use the correct size package for each product. Too large a package will increase shipping costs and may cause the contents to shift and become damaged. Too small a package may prevent proper closure. Just like Goldilocks, you need to find packaging that is just right.
Consumers today are concerned with safety and sanitation. You may want to consider tamper-evident containers, labels, or wrap-around bands to demonstrate security. The labels and bands can be custom-printed and increase your brand recognition while protecting the contents.
Package items in surprising ways. Bento boxes, wire-handle food pails, and tin-tie window bags are interesting options for items other than sushi, take-out lo mein, or coffee beans. Wood trays and cheeseboards are a great substitute for traditional wicker gift baskets and can be reused. Cardboard pop-up drink carriers can be used to hold products sold in bottles and jars. Get creative and think out of the box, literally!
Containers and cartons are available in hundreds of shapes, materials, colors, and sizes. Find options that reflect your brand image and appeal to your customers’ preferences. Do you sell organic foods? If so, use packages and trays made from rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo or palm leaves. Does your target customer love luxury? If so, select designer boxes with magnetic closures and built-in ribbons. Do you create miniature works of edible art? Choose clear or window packaging to showcase your talent.
If your budget is small, use colorful raffia ribbon to tie up a standard kraft paper carton, add a pretty “produced locally” label with your logo and voila, your product is ready to gift!
If your products naturally go with fun activities, such as popcorn and movies, create themed bundles. Use a large movie-style popcorn tub, include a bag of your gourmet popcorn and a gift code for a movie download from a streaming service. Instant date night!
Incorporate QR codes using labels that, once scanned, will link customers to your website or social media channels where they can learn more about your products.
Shopping local and shopping small are growing trends. Share your story as a small business by including an “About Us” card or a newsletter with each purchase. This will help you engage with your customer on a personal level and may even help spread the word, growing your fan base.
Order your holiday packaging as early as possible (now). This will give you time to photograph your products for your website, social media posts, email campaigns, printed flyers, etc.
If you ship your products, secondary or outer packaging is also important. Choose adjustable shipping cartons that can be configured for a variety of sizes to minimize your inventory. Use dunnage or void fill stuffing to protect the contents, avoiding foam peanuts which tend to make a mess and annoy customers. Use custom-printed carton-sealing tape to promote your brand. Printed tape is much less expensive than custom-printed boxes and can be ordered in small quantities.
Imperial Dade has been helping food processors, farmers, and artisanal producers source packaging products and sanitation supplies for over 85 years. Our experts will help you discover unique packaging options from hundreds of manufactures that meet your specific needs and budget. Contact a packaging specialist for a complimentary consultation. Visit www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.
This may be the ideal time to open a new food concept!
By Laura Craven
Imagine you’ve always dreamed of opening a restaurant but the massive investment in the physical location, equipment, furniture, décor, labor, etc. was prohibitive. And, the time needed to build or remodel the space, develop the menu, train staff, pass inspections, and create a marketing campaign could take several months or even a year.
What if you could rent a turnkey commercial kitchen space for 10% or less of the initial cost to rent a traditional restaurant and hit the ground running within a matter of weeks? Impossible you say? Not if you use a ghost kitchen.
What is a ghost kitchen? Also known as “cloud”, “dark”, “delivery”, or “virtual”, ghost kitchens operate without the traditional front-of-house dining room and customer-facing store front. These shared foodservice hubs have been around for several years, arriving on the scene as delivery orders grew in popularity. Today, with dining rooms closed or restricted and more consumers adopting delivered meals, commercial kitchens designed for off-premise sales could be the answer for restauranteurs, both experienced and inspired newcomers.
The advantages of using ghost kitchens, in addition to the fractional rent, may include:
Strategically located in areas near many hungry customers
Parking and check-in stations for delivery drivers
Tech enabled facilities to support online ordering and status communications
Co-op purchasing opportunities
Marketing partnerships with third-party delivery services
Cleaning/sanitation services and HACCP support
Flexible leasing arrangements
Ability to change concepts with the seasons
A successful “virtual restaurant” still requires great food, hard work, and the ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace, but the barrier to entry is much lower.
Tips for a delivery-only model:
Streamline your menu for speed and off-premise quality
Offer unique menu items tailored for the demographics in your delivery area
Use the right technology application and data analytics for your business model
Price your offerings with applicable expenses in mind such as delivery fees
Use high-quality packaging to preserve temperature, texture, and appearance
Use tamper-evident bags and wrapped cutlery/napkin kits to ensure safety
Today’s convenience-culture consumers are willing to pay more for having restaurant-quality food delivered. If you are interested in making your dream a reality, visit www.thekitchendoor.com for a list of ghost kitchens in your area. For a complimentary consultation on off-premise packaging, contact the experts at Imperial Dade. Visit www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.
Many technologies have been around for years including online ordering apps, digital wallets, QR codes, and geotargeted digital marketing. However, the new requirements for contactless experiences, health monitoring, and other challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis have created opportunities for innovative platforms to help restaurants reach more customers, sell more food and beverage, and adhere to new requirements.
Adoption of restaurant technology has been accelerated by the need to adapt and survive in today’s world.
“Restaurants are an important part of communities and the fabric of society. They are going through a hard time and tech companies and the broader ecosystem need to support them through it. ”
Ray Reddy, CEO of Ritual
Imagine being able to pay your check by simply smiling at your mobile phone. In this recent article published by Deigo Coquillat, the fusion of digital wallets and facial recognition is explored.
Technology can also help streamline activities, allowing for labor to be reallocated to other tasks. With labor averaging about 30% of a restaurant’s expenses, any opportunity to offset the cost of new expenses such as higher-quality packaging, managing curbside pick-ups, or frequent cleaning and disinfecting is critical.
Jennifer Marston asked the leaders of 8 restaurant tech companies about their philosophy in bringing new tools to the industry. She summed up their answers in her latest article in The Spoon. Concepts ranging from loyalty programs, staff health checks, and guest data management are discussed.
“Best in class hospitality tech platforms enable operators to offering experiences that meet changed guest expectations around health and safety, while helping them market to guests in a personalized manner.”
Jennifer Marston, The Spoon
Taking contactless experiences to a new level includes self-pouring beverage dispensers that are activated by scanning a QR code with a mobile device. Nancy Luna writes about Coca-Cola’s Freestyle Machines in Nation’s Restaurant News and explains the latest in sanitary self-serve beer taps and cloud-based menu options.
“The idea is to be safe, seamless and fun.”
Michael Conner, Chief Architect of Coca-Cola Freestyle
New restaurant technology will continue to emerge and if those platforms improve guest experience, solve problems, and help operators succeed they will be valuable additions to the marketplace.
Back in the 1930s, Stan Avery was frustrated with the messy process of applying glue to labels at the point of application. He created the self-adhesive label and ignited an entire industry.
Of course, labels go back a long time before Mr. Avery. Product identification was around in the days of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen. In fact, King Tut was buried with a collection of wine, the vessels all inscribed with information related to the contents. In the early 1700s, a French monk, Pierre Perignon, used handwritten parchment paper labels tied to a bottle of wine to maintain inventory. Fast forward to 1798 when Bavarian inventor Alois Senefelder invented lithography. Paper labels, mostly for wine and beer at that time, could now be mass produced. Drug labels were next on the timeline, developed in the mid-19th century, and included instructions and safety warnings. This was about the same time that the gummed postage stamp was created.
Today, labels are made from a variety of materials and adhesives and are used for a plethora of applications. They come in every shape, every color, and customization is a breeze. For small jobs you can even print them at home using label stock from, you guessed it, Avery brand products.
Here are 10 uses for labels in foodservice, beyond basic product identification.
Tamper-evident labels for food and beverage packaging
An effective warewashing program can ensure kitchenware cleanliness, enhance guest satisfaction, and save money. For this edition of The Expert Interview, I spoke to my colleague Angel Rodriguez. As a Regional Director of Chemical Sales at Imperial Dade, Angel oversees the Environmental Service Program. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Angel has a wealth of knowledge on the topic.
LC: What exactly is warewashing?
AR: Warewashing is the term associated with cleaning and sanitizing any kitchenware used in the preparation, serving, or storing of food. This would include pots and pans, cutlery, glasses, serving pans, and trays. Warewashing can be done by machine or manually. This process is a key factor in ensuring that a commercial kitchen provides a clean and safe dining experience for their customers.
LC: You mentioned cleaning and sanitizing. Can you explain the difference?
AR: Great question! Cleaning removes food and other debris from the surface of an item, such as a plate. Sanitizing is the next step. Sanitizing kills the microorganisms and germs on the cleaned surface, making it safe for food contact.
LC: I think we all have an understanding of manual warewashing. It’s what we do at home, correct?
AR: Yes, but in a commercial environment there are specific steps and regulations. At home you may wash a plate with retail detergent, dry it, and put it away. In a restaurant you must wash the plate with a commercial-grade detergent, rinse, and then sanitize in water that contains 200 parts per million of sanitizer. That last step is the one that causes the most challenges. For example, if the water is too hot, the sanitizer will not be maintained at the appropriate level.
LC: And if that happens, is the sanitizing step compromised?
AR: Yes, and if a health inspector performs a test, it will result in a violation. It is really important to have a proper 3-compartment sink system, use the correct products and follow procedures.
LC: Does using a dish machine make the process easier for the operator?
AR: Commercial dish machines require less labor and, especially in large establishments, are much more efficient than manual washing. But there are still procedures and maintenance that need to be performed.
AR: First, the operator must consider the best type of machine. There are many sizes and configuration ranging from a small under-counter model, which would be appropriate in a bar area or small café, to a large conveyor model used in a hotel. These machines operate at high or low temperatures. Low temperature machines are less expensive and more energy efficient, but require more chemicals. There are trade-offs that need to be analyzed. Every situation is unique. This is why it is important for operators to work with an experienced supplier, one that will take the time to determine the best system for their needs.
LC: Okay, once the correct equipment is chosen and installed, what are the steps to make sure the program runs smoothly.
AR: Scheduled preventative maintenance is crucial. A technician will change chemical lines, squeeze tubes, and dilution tips to make sure that the proper amount of detergent and chemicals are being used by the machine. These items can wear out, and if neglected can shut down the system. This can cause a major halt to a kitchen while waiting for an emergency service call.
AR: Using the right detergents and chemicals for the machine type is another important factor. The warewashing system components operate together so substituting or leaving out products will cause problems, can result in health code violations, or worse, it can make people sick.
LC: Sounds like there is a lot more to a warewashing program than simply washing dishes.
AR: It is a very important process in a kitchen sanitation program, however when set up and maintained correctly, it will free up kitchen staff and managers to focus on their menu and their guests’ satisfaction.
LC: Thanks, Angel!
Angel Rodriguez, as well as Imperial Dade’s team of Chemical Managers, are available to consult with foodservice operators on warewashing systems. Angel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linen napkins have long been considered a necessity by many restaurants. However, with heightened concerns about sanitation, now is a good time to consider linen-replacements.
With the latest in paper-making technology, linen-replacement napkins are practical, economical, and can support an upscale brand image. Here are a few things to consider when choosing between linen and paper linen-replacement napkins.
Why Linen-replacement Napkins
Linen-replacement napkins are sanitary and require less handling before use by the guest.
Good quality linen-replacement napkins are about $0.04 – $.0.06 each.
Linen-replacement napkins are available in many styles, sizes, colors, and patterns. They can also be printed and embossed to create branding opportunities for restaurants.
Linen-replacement napkins are very absorbent and soft. One napkin typically lasts an entire meal.
Why Not Linen Napkins
Linen napkin rentals can range from $0.75 on the low end to over $3 on the high end. Additional costs include pick-up and delivery fees, laundering, storage bags, and replacement for lost or damaged napkins.
Linen napkins are typically handled by many people between the time they are laundered, transported, folded or rolled, and placed on the dining table. This creates many opportunities for contamination.
Linen napkins are treated with chemicals during laundering, which reduce their absorbency over time and make them rough to the touch. This results in customers requesting additional napkins, often paper, to wipe their hands and clean up spills.
Linen napkins are stored in bags or totes after use along with food particles, grease, and other debris from the dining tables. This creates an unsanitary environment attracting insects and rodents.
Linen napkins are stored and laundered with other linen items including table cloths, uniforms, and towels all of which can introduce contaminants to the load.
Linen napkins have a higher carbon footprint than paper when you factor in fabric manufacturing, napkin manufacturing, continuous transportation, laundering, plastic wrapping, and ultimate disposal.
To learn more about the many linen-replacement options available, contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant. For a location near you, visit our website.
Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.
We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.
Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.