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Driving year-round catering success

Here come the holidays, bringing operators sought-after catering opportunities. However, catering deserves to be much more than just a year-end affair. Catering corporate meetings, conferences and other private events should be an important part of a restaurant operator’s full-time business model, attracting incremental sales from new clients and encouraging more business from existing clients.

Many operators use the “drop-and-go” catering format to expand their brands to the lucrative off-premises foodservice market. It offers customers the quality they expect from an in-store restaurant experience with the convenience they enjoy in a catered event.

Essentially, the operator packs ready-to-serve food and beverage in sturdy, attractive, branded packaging that travels one way. After the event, the catering client discards or recycles the packaging, sparing the operator from returning to retrieve permanent wares. Obviously, eliminating that trip, as well as the cleaning and storage of permanent wares after use, saves a lot of time, labor and fuel and results in a better bottom line. In addition, for marketing impact, drop-and-go packaging can be printed with the operator’s graphic brand message.

Consider the example of a major bakery-café that switched to drop-and-go packaging to improve the efficiency and consistency of its catering program and give it a branding boost as well.

With a bakery-café menu that ranges from hot breakfasts to panini, salads, pasta and fresh baked goods, the operator’s challenge was finding a cohesive line of packaging that met its standards for insulation, sturdiness and custom printing. LBP Manufacturing was chosen to provide solutions that have outperformed the packaging of the other suppliers that were formerly used.

To transport and serve hot beverages, the bakery-café uses items from LBP’s comprehensive line of beverage packaging. For instance, LBP Beverage on the Move™ bulk beverage dispensers in 96-oz. and 3-gal. capacities keep coffee, tea and hot chocolate at proper serving temperature for up to three hours and can also be used for cold beverages. Also in use are LBP’s convenient Thermo Grip™ paper hot cups and Coffee Clutch® hot cup sleeves that make cups safe and comfortable to handle.

For transporting and displaying sandwiches, muffins and pastries, the bakery-café uses a product specifically designed for it. The LBP Catering Tray showcases sandwiches with visual impact and comes with a riser to prop up cookies, bars and other small pastries for a great presentation as well.

Other useful products in the line are the LBP Soup-n-Serve™ carrier, which transports and serves one gallon of soup, sauce, gravy or salad, either hot or cold, in a sturdy, handled box that includes a bucket with lid, and the LBP Safe Pak™, a sturdy takeout box with an easy-to-carry handle.

One of the biggest benefits that the bakery-café is enjoying with LBP drop-and-go catering packaging is the extension of its in-store brand identity to its off-premises business. Attractive and functional packaging that showcases the brand logo, phone number and web site sends a distinctive brand statement to customers at catered events and promotes additional business.

Offering compelling branding as well as reliability, the LBP Pop-Up Catering Tray holds one full-sized or two half-sized aluminum pans. As an additional benefit, the built-in lid of the tray lifts up when the food is displayed to expose a printed message, in effect a billboard that highlights the operator’s brand identity. 

The LBP Thirst Pak™ holds one gallon of a cold beverage such as iced tea or lemonade in an insulated container that is easy to fill and pour. It also offers compelling advantages in branding and storage efficiency compared to the plastic milk jugs commonly used for cold beverages.

The film surface of the Thirst Pak™ has a much larger area for showcasing an operator’s graphic brand message than the small label of a milk jug. This custom-printed message is much more likely to inspire an impulse sale of high-margin beverage than a milk jug.

Plus, the Thirst Pak™ folds flat for storage. A box of 50 fits easily behind the counter or on a shelf. Storing an equivalent number of bulky jugs would take up far more of the kitchen’s precious, limited space.

In another example of how packaging drives catering success, a major coffee and donut chain became so adept at selling hot beverages in volume with LBP Beverage on the Move™ beverage vessels that it created a brand-new business category of bulk beverage sales. By offering Beverage on the Move™ and bundling it with other menu items, the chain simplified ordering for the customer, leading to dramatic increases in hot beverage sales and a leading market share position.

This post is sponsored by LBP Manufacturing

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