Packaged for success: Drop and go catering
From LBP Manufacturing.
An increasing number of foodservice operators are reaping incremental revenue with “drop and go” catering. This lucrative business model relies on convenient and sustainable single-use food packages that can be recycled or composted after the catered event, thus saving the labor that would otherwise be spent on reclaiming and washing permanent serving wares.
One of the role models for drop and go is Cal Catering at the University of California, Berkeley. This successful catering department uses sturdy and attractive LBP Manufacturing packaging products, custom printed with the Cal Catering logo, to carry food in optimum condition to campus meetings and events.
“I wanted packages that were versatile, recyclable, nice looking and customizable,” says Robert Stayte, General Manager of Cal Dining and Cal Catering. “I got all of those things.”
Particularly useful for Cal Catering is the Catering Square with a windowed lid that showcases the food inside.
“I use it for everything—Danish, muffins, cheese platters, fruit platters, little slider sandwiches,” says Stayte. “It is a great visual display for the client.”
Also used extensively is the Catering Tray, a sturdy, stackable corrugated product that securely holds a wide variety of foods. “I use it for meals to go like half pans of lasagna or Caesar salad,” says Stayte. “The tray helps maintain temperature and is really transportable. It can also hold a box of sandwiches or six dozen cookies.”
For bulk beverages like hot coffee, iced tea and lemonade, Cal Catering chooses LBP’s Beverage on the Move™ container, which insulates for up to three hours. Similarly, it turns to the Soup-N-Serve™ to transport hot soup as well as solid foods like chicken wings and jalapeno corn muffins. All of these LBP products are made with a high percentage of recycled materials, a fact that eco-savvy catering customers at Berkeley appreciate.
The custom printed cream and tan Cal Catering logo on the packaging sends a marketing message to potential future clients. “People attending campus meetings see our logo and web address on the boxes and know that we did the food,” says Stayte.
Another successful player in drop and go catering is Corner Bakery Café. The Dallas-based, 135-unit fast-casual chain builds its signature Sandwich Basket, Breakfast Muffin and Bagel Basket and other catering assortments with custom-printed LBP packaging.
According to Ric Scicchitano, Corner Bakery’s Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage, functionality and performance are important criteria for selecting these products.
“The whole package with LBP works—from creating items that we need to producing them at a competitive cost to distributing them competitively,” says Scicchitano.
Customers who care about the environment are happy about the high recycled material content of the products. “Our guests have told us they like materials that are compostable or recyclable, like a lot of the LBP products we use,” says Scicchitano.
Corner Bakery’s “workhorse,” Scicchitano says, is the Catering Square. “We use it with various sizes of food, from a very small cookie or sweet to a very large sandwich, because it is very flexible,” says Scicchitano.
When the Catering Square is used to display smaller sandwiches, cookies and dessert bars, an optional riser is inserted to give them a higher, more eye-catching profile.
“When you build catering baskets, you are looking for a ‘wow’ presentation, and height has a lot to do with it,” says Scicchitano.
Also widely used at Corner Bakery is the individual Lunch Box, which holds a specialty sandwich, bag of bakery chips, a piece of fresh fruit and a cookie. For delivering soups, the Soup-N-Serve™, which Scicchitano calls “a very functional piece,” gets the call.
The company logo and striped awning design printed on the packages sends an unmistakable brand message to attendees of catered functions who one day may think of booking Corner Bakery for their own events.
“I think people walk into a boardroom and see these packages and say, ‘Great, we have Corner Bakery again,’” says Scicchitano. “It is building our brand.”