Navigating the Holiday Season in the Restaurant Industry

As the holiday season fast approaches, restaurants are presented with the opportunity to flourish and create memorable experiences for their patrons. The team at Sunshine Supply, your proactive partners, have several tips to ensure your restaurant rises to the occasion of the festive season’s demands.

Five Essential Holiday Prep Tips for Restaurants

From decking the halls with boughs of holly to stocking up on essential supplies, the holiday season calls for meticulous planning and execution. Whether it’s creating an ambiance with festive décor, gearing up for the surge in takeout orders, or managing inventory to cater to the holiday crowds, each aspect demands attention. In short, restaurant holiday preparations come with challenges, but they can be turned into opportunities for delighting your holiday dining guests.

The Art of Holiday Decorating

Creating a holiday-themed environment is crucial in attracting and retaining customers who seek a festive dining environment:

  • Thematic Consistency: Carefully select a holiday theme that resonates with your brand. Whether it’s an elegant, white-Christmas theme or a vibrant, festive-color scheme, make sure it aligns with your restaurant’s personality.
  • Involvement and Interaction: Engage your customers by involving them in decoration activities. Consider a “decorate-your-table” night or allow customers to contribute to a community holiday mural. This interaction not only enhances the festive spirit but also fosters a sense of community and belonging.

Stocking Up for the Season

The holidays bring a significant uptick in customer volume, making inventory management a top priority:

  • Detailed Inventory Analysis: Conduct a thorough review of your current inventory. Predict the demand for popular items and ensure you have a surplus to avoid shortages.
  • Partnership with Suppliers: Collaborate closely with suppliers like Sunshine Supply to secure timely and adequate supplies of necessary items, especially high-quality plastic containers to accommodate any surges of takeaway and delivery orders.

Managing the Takeout and Delivery Surge

The convenience of takeout becomes even more appealing during the holidays, making the following essential for managing any influx:

  • Efficient Ordering Systems: Ensure your online ordering system is streamlined and capable of handling increased holiday traffic. Consider implementing features like scheduled ordering or holiday specials.
  • High-Quality Packaging: Invest in top-notch packaging to avoid disappointing customers with cold food, or worse, leaks and spills. Sunshine Supply containers are not only aesthetically pleasing but also feature micro-hole ventilation and patented four-corner locks, making them perfect for takeout and delivery during tough winter months.

Navigating Vendor Deals and Promotions

The holiday season is ripe with opportunities for cost savings and special deals:

  • Strategic Purchasing: Look for holiday discounts and bulk-purchase deals from your vendors. Take advantage of Sunshine Supply’s holiday promotions to stock up on high-quality containers at competitive prices.
  • Leveraging Relationships: Use your long-standing vendor relationships to negotiate better prices or exclusive holiday deals, ensuring you get the best value for your purchases.

Fostering Community Spirit Through Charity

Embody the spirit of the season by engaging in local charity efforts:

  • Charitable Events and Drives: Organize events where a part of your revenue is donated to a local charity. Set up food drives or collaborate with local initiatives to strengthen your ties and contribute positively to the community.
  • Highlighting Efforts: Publicize your charitable activities through social media and in-house promotions. This not only raises awareness for the causes you support but also positively reinforces your restaurant’s community-focused brand image.

Your Holiday Partner: Sunshine Supply

The holiday season is undoubtedly a busy and difficult time for restaurants, but you can always rely on the team at Sunshine Supply for unparalleled support in all your packaging needs. Our extensive selection of containers, designed for functionality, aesthetic appeal, and sustainability, ensures that your takeout and delivery services are well equipped to handle the festive rush.

Contact us to explore our range and take advantage of our holiday promotions.

The Art of Presentation: Enhancing Food Delivery Aesthetics with Premium Containers

In an increasingly competitive restaurant and food delivery landscape, first impressions are the game-changer. In a world where consumers feast with their eyes first, scanning through online photos before hitting the “order now” button, it’s not just about tantalizing taste buds but also about serving a visual banquet. This is where the role of premium food containers steps into the limelight, transforming ordinary meals into delectable culinary experiences even before the first bite.

Sunshine Supply, a leading plastic container manufacturer and wholesaler, offers innovative containers designed to showcase meals beautifully for delivery and takeout.

Premium Food Packaging for Optimal Presentation

Today’s discerning diners expect delicious food to also look mouthwatering when delivered. Luckily, advanced plastic food containers allow restaurants to showcase culinary creations beautifully. Investing in attractive, BPA-free plastic food containers offers tremendous benefits for restaurants seeking to elevate their takeout and delivery offerings. Consider the following:

  • Visually appealing containers with transparent lids for restaurants can showcase food in an appetizing way that entices customers. Unlike paper boxes or non-transparent containers, clear BPA-free plastic provides a tempting view of menu items like sushi, poke bowls, and noodle soups.
  • Plastic containers with vibrant colors and sleek shapes can make meals pop.
  • BPA-free plastic ensures food safety, while ventilated container lids with anti-fog technology prevent sauces and broths from leaking and maintain ingredients’ integrity.

Beautiful presentation reinforces a restaurant’s brand image and highlights the care put into every dish. For an affordable way to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, BPA-free plastic containers are an innovative solution. With premium takeout packaging, restaurants can deliver excitement along with every order.

Different Types of Plastic Containers for Restaurants

Plastic containers for restaurants come in a variety of styles and types. Here are a few that can help showcase your food in an optimal way:

Anti-Fog Containers

These ventilated containers have micro-hole technology in the lid to prevent interior fogging. Food remains clearly visible, so customers get the full visual impact of your meticulously crafted dishes. The anti-fog lids also keep contents from getting soggy during transit.

Japanese Containers

With their elegant, shallow design, these containers are ideal for highlighting ingredients and showcasing layered dishes. The see-through lids provide a tempting peek at what’s inside. Japanese containers are perfect for sushi, poke bowls, salads, and other visually striking meals.

Divided Bowls

Keep broths, sauces, and noodles separated with divided bowls. The compartments maintain the distinct elements of noodle soups and other multi-component dishes. Customers receive their food looking as pristine as when it left your kitchen.

Elevate Your Culinary Creations with Sunshine Supply’s Premium Packaging Solutions

With Sunshine Supply’s innovative containers, you can deliver mouthwatering meals that look as scrumptious as they taste. Premium packaging from Sunshine Supply reinforces your brand’s commitment to quality while whetting customers’ appetites. Beautiful food presentation means happy diners, great reviews, and repeat business.

Contact Sunshine Supply today to enhance your delivery and takeout offerings with containers that showcase your culinary creations.

Discovering the Best Type of Plastic for Food Storage

With the cost of food at a 40-year high, more consumers are focusing on saving leftovers to cut down on food costs and reduce food waste. Properly storing leftovers allows food to be safely transported and preserved, helping stretch food budgets. 

Despite high food costs, more than half of U.S. consumers are eating out more often in 2022 compared to previous years, which is good news for restaurateurs. However, more people than ever are also requesting takeout containers to take leftovers to go or getting their entire order to go to save time as they rush from work to home or choose to eat lunch at their desks. This means restaurants must focus on providing smart, food-safe plastics to keep customers safe and to ensure food is easily and safely stored and reheated.  

FDA Approved: The Safest Plastics for Storage and Reheating 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has evaluated a host of plastic products based on the types of foods that will be stored and if the food will be exposed to heat during production or while being reheated. After a detailed analysis, they have approved several that they feel are the safest for storage and reheating. Here are their top picks: 

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) 

One of the most common plastics found in households today, HDPE is used in the creation of everything from plastic bottles to cutting boards. It is durable, but also flexible, allowing it to be easily molded into sturdy, long-lasting containers for food. In addition, it is resistant to the corrosive action of acidic foods, molds, and mildews, and can even be sterilized for additional safety. HDPE plastics are highly recyclable, as they can be recycled as many as 10 times to create new products. 

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) 

Another common plastic in households, LDPE is so flexible that is it not easily cracked or broken, making it perfect for durable food storage, especially since it is resistant to both chemicals and microorganisms. In fact, it is commonly used in plastic films such as cling wraps. However, it’s not the best plastic for heating since it can soften under higher temperatures. While LDPE can be recycled, it is often a complex process since many items made with this material, such as grocery bags or plastic six-pack rings, can jam recycling equipment. 

Polycarbonate (PC) 

In recent years there has been controversy over the use of polycarbonate (PC) plastics in food storage, since these contain a small amount of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical associated with several negative health effects. However, research by the FDA shows that consumers only ingest a tiny amount of BPA when coming in contact with these plastics, and this small amount does not accumulate in the body, making it safe at low levels. PC plastics are recyclable, allowing both restaurateurs and consumers to make more sustainable choices. 

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) 

The FDA considers PET plastic one of the best for food storage, as it can be used in both its original and recycled forms. Its durability and ability to repel bacteria and microorganisms make it a good choice for soda bottles, jarred foods, and food packaging. Plus, its transparency and resistance to shattering contribute to its perceived durability, even though it does oxidize over time. Best of all, PET plastics are 100% recyclable, making it a sustainable choice for food storage. 

Polypropylene (PP) 

This premier plastic has many attributes that make it perfect for both storage and reheating of food. First, it is microwave-safe and nonvolatile, meaning it will not react with your food, whether acidic or basic. Furthermore, PP resists the absorption of water, so liquid foods such as soup can easily be stored in PP containers. Finally, PP is durable and can also be either conductive or insulating, depending on the properties you prefer and the foods you wish to store — and it is also recyclable and reusable.  

Looking for the Right Plastic Storage Containers for Your Restaurant? 

If your restaurant needs durable, high-quality to-go containers or bags, Sunshine has you covered. Our range of sturdy plastic containers can be used to store — and even reheat — foods safely. If you want to learn more about our innovative products, simply reach out to Sunshine today and one of our experts will be happy to help! 

To-Go Food Best Practices: What Customers Expect

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the restaurant industry on its head, bringing with it new protocols from the government, new expectations from customers and many, many new challenges for owners. Perhaps the greatest shift came in where food is actually enjoyed; Between March and April of 2020, takeout went from accounting for 18% of the average restaurant’s sales to over 70%, and delivery sales jumped from 2% to 10%.  

While dine-in is slowly but surely making its return, it’s safe to say the convenience and safety of takeout and delivery are appealing enough to ensure they aren’t going anywhere. Restaurants are now tasked with meeting the increased demand for top-quality takeout and delivery experiences, while also catering to the returning crowd of dine-in customers. A tall order, but one that can be met when to-go food best practices are followed. Keep reading to learn what customers today expect from an easy, sanitary and delicious to-go dining experience, and how restaurants can rise to the occasion. 

Order Accuracy 

There’s nothing like the excitement of takeout food arriving—only to be followed by the disappointment of an incorrect order or missing utensils. These practices can help you avoid a meal-ruining mishap: 

  • Check for special requests. No onions? Extra sauce? These small details go a long way in providing the best meal experience for customers—and in the case of food allergies, are absolutely crucial to address. 
  • Establish a delivery team. If takeout and delivery account for a sizable percentage of your restaurant’s sales, consider forming a team specifically responsible for managing takeout and delivery orders. These employees can ensure accuracy and efficiency for a smoother process from the time an order is placed to when it leaves your doors. 
  • Provide all necessities. Unless requested otherwise, customers expect all the needed utensils and condiments to come with their meal, just as they would for dine-in. Don’t forget plenty of napkins, either! 

Quality Packaging 

We like to say that when it comes to takeout, the food is only as good as the container it comes in. The right container can make the difference between a messy, cold or stale presentation and a truly memorable one. Review the necessities of quality food packaging to ensure yours is up to the task:  

  • Insulate hot foods. There’s nothing more frustrating as a customer than when hot food is delivered cold. Luckily, the right container can keep food hot for longer than traditional packaging. Look for containers made with polypropylene (PP) plastic known for its durability and insulating properties.  
  • Keep liquids from leaking. Soups, dressings and condiments always pose a leaking threat, but even pastas and sides can spill through the cracks of a flimsy container and lid. This makes leak-proof containers a must for most restaurants’ takeout and delivery needs. 
  • Choose ventilated containers. Without proper ventilation, fresh salads can quickly wilt and sandwiches can go from scrumptious to soggy. Look for containers with micro-ventilated lids or side ventilation to keep your food’s integrity intact. 
  • Keep dressings separate. Because every person has their own preferences, dressings and sauces are usually best left to the customer to add onto their meal. Have a stock of small containers specific for keeping dressings and sauces separate from main dishes when packaged. 

Safety Precautions 

Even in a pre-COVID-19 world, sanitation in restaurants was a top priority. Now, the protocols have only heightened, making it imperative for your team to follow every guideline to put your customers at ease: 

  • Seal your bags. With COVID-19, it has become a widespread practice for restaurants to seal their takeout and delivery bags for further sanitary precaution. This can be as elaborate as a branded tamper-proof seal, or as simple as a few staples. 
  • Provide wipes. Consider having sanitary wipes on hand for wiping pens after customers sign their receipts for pickup orders, or for delivery drivers to keep in their cars for frequent pre- and post-delivery wipe downs.  
  • Enforce hand washing. Now more than ever, frequent hand washing is a necessity for anyone in a restaurant environment. Ensure employees wash their hands before and after preparing food, after handling cash or credit cards or after any interactions with customers. Have hand sanitizer ready for delivery drivers and customers retrieving takeout.  
  • Supply PPE when needed. Follow local and federal guidelines, especially the often-changing guidelines for wearing a mask, and ensure your employees and customers do as well. Supply gloves for when employees are handling food directly.  
  • Keep sick or exposed employees at home. Minimize the risk of infectious spread by ensuring no sick employees come into work. Be transparent with your team about the expectations surrounding sick days, and have a policy in place for employees who have potentially been exposed to illness. 
  • Consider contactless or curbside. Contactless payments and deliveries and curbside pickups have gained immense popularity, helping restaurants avoid a backlog of orders and the spread of illness. As we near the end of year two of the pandemic, it may be worth making these tactics a permanent practice. 

Easy Pickup 

Whether it’s a driver picking up an order through a third-party app, a member of your team tasked with deliveries or a customer coming to pick up for themselves, no one wants to wait around on an order. Make the hand-off process more seamless with these tips: 

  • Create a designated pickup area. Again, if you see delivery and takeout permanently becoming a substantial part of your business, a designated pickup area within your restaurant will help ensure an efficient process from start to finish. Consider creating a ‘pickup and delivery only’ section or shelf to which you can direct customers and delivery drivers. 
  • Label orders by name. Especially if you allow customers to grab their to-go orders themselves, labeling orders with customer names is a necessary practice. This takes the guess work out of finding the right order, preventing potential mix-ups and refunds. 
  • Alphabetize your orders. Once labeled with a customer name, each order should be placed in the designated area in alphabetical order, making it easier for delivery drivers and customers to find the order they need. 
  • Stagger delivery and pickup times. Avoid an overflow of customers or delivery drivers waiting on orders by staggering delivery and pickup times. That way, your team can meet expectations by focusing on getting the food right without the overwhelming pressure of dozens of waiting customers. 

Missing Some Essentials? 

If your restaurant is in need of highquality to-go containers, sanitary products, to-go bags or more, simply reach out to Sunshine! We’re happy to collaborate on the right containers, tableware and supplies for your business.