Marketing strategies for sustainable takeout containers

By 
Katie Fanuko, Associate Editor

While some New York City restaurants railed against a ban on polystyrene packaging, which was recently overturned, Columbia University was ahead of the game, having moved to greener takeout containers years ago. Here’s how Columbia and others have gotten guests to go along. 

1. Monetary incentives

At the start of each semester, student residents get a token to exchange for a reusable container that they can carry whenever they order to-go items, says Vicki Dunn, Columbia’s executive director of dining. If forgotten, students must pay to use a disposable container. As a result, students now use 100,000 fewer
such containers, Dunn says.

2. Human reminders

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Food and Nutrition Services department launched a “Bring It Back” team of ambassadors to collect compostable containers from hospital employees and return them to the kitchen for proper disposal. Dunn uses student “EcoReps” at Columbia to help diners sort compostable items.

3. Shrink the menu

The switch to compostable containers amounted to a 20 percent cost increase at Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. To help offset the expense, its foodservice director cut low-selling menu offerings.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Foodservice operators and other employers in New York City are adjusting to a new law that enforces paid time off for staff who have been the victims of certain crimes.

Called paid safe leave, the benefit is believed to be among the first of its kind in the nation. A more limited version has been in effect in Minneapolis since last summer.

The New York law applies to employees who have been the victims of actual or threatened domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking or human trafficking.

Workers can also opt for safe paid leave if a member of their...

Industry News & Opinion

A Massachusetts bill to end lunch shaming has been stalled in the House, reports South Coast Today.

The House chair of the Education Committee voted on Tuesday for further study of the bill, which would prevent schools from throwing away hot lunches and/or serving an alternative meal to students behind on lunch payments. Under the bill, schools would also be unable to bar students with unpaid balances from participating in extracurricular activities.

Additionally, the bill asks schools to take action in reducing families’ meal debt by helping families apply for free or...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of California, Santa Cruz is converting its Cowell Coffee Shop into a “multi-service basic needs cafe” to aid students facing food insecurity .

The new cafe is being created through a partnership with dining services, the school’s center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and UCSC’s Cowell College. Due to open at the start of the fall semester, the lower part of the cafe will continue to be a study space for students (with free coffee and tea) and will also host nutrition and financial wellness programming.

Upstairs, the kitchen will be used as a...

Managing Your Business
quitting job

What prompts foodservice managers to clean out their offices and head out with a last paycheck? A new survey suggests the triggers may be changing with the times.

The canvass of 2,000 restaurant professionals, conducted by placement firm Gecko Hospitality, shows lifestyle issues abounding among the top 10 reasons for parting with a restaurant employer last year.

Here are the gender-specific lists:

Top 10 reasons female managers leave

1. Better opportunity

2. Unemployed

3. Relocation

4. Not satisfied

5. No growth

6. Long...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code