Super Bowl. Is your catering business betting on the right team?

Score Touchdowns This Super Bowl with the Right Food Containers, Catering Trays, and Other Take Out Containers and Catering Tools.



Super Bowl Sunday is only trumped by Thanksgiving as the day when Americans consume the most food. Supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, and catering companies are all gearing up for the Sunday sports tradition.


From menu planning to preparation, these companies see to every detail to satisfy customers and grow their takeout and catering businesses.  Just as every possession in football begins with a first down, one might say that when it comes to catering, the food is the first down of the customer’s experience (CX). Those who understand the importance of enhancing customer satisfaction, embrace food containers as the BIG touchdown in CX.


The right presentation can generate five-star reviews from satisfied customers.

Think about this. You painstakingly make every possible effort to ensure the quality of your food and service through superior ingredients, by thoroughly training a fabulous staff, and by creating an appealing setting for your customers—such as ensuring the right lighting to enhance the display of the delicious items meticulously and splendidly prepared. Even issues that arise at your store, restaurant, or on-site catered event, can quickly be fixed with a fast, competent response. Additionally, an assuring and positive apologetic attitude from your staff can help sustain your customers’ loyalty.


When it comes to catering or takeout, think of your packaging as the presentation and service experience that your customers will judge you by and the only representation, other than the food, your customers and their guests will have of your establishment. In place of your presence, your catering tools become an important touchpoint of your customers’ interaction with your supermarket, restaurant, bakery, or food catering company.  Ensuring these tools provide topnotch service is merely a matter of pairing the right catering tools with the meals served.


No matter how high-quality your container is, if not used for the right purpose, the food container can ruin your customers' experience. To confirm this, ask any dissatisfied customer whose food container ends up in a plastic bag covered in a sauce that should have stayed as part of their delicious meal (or worse, in a drippy brown bag!). You can, unquestionably, avoid this messy scenario by using the right container. When a food container leaks, it is most likely a result of pairing it with a lid made from a material not meant for that use. 




How to provide an excellent experience to your customers.

When thinking about providing your customers with excellent service, think about making their experience as hassle-free as possible. For example, if you are serving food that you recommend being warmed up in the microwave, serve their takeout or catered meal in a microwavable container. The most reliable containers for hot foods are polypropylene (PP) containers due to PP’s high heat tolerance and its microwavable functionality. Aluminum containers cannot be used in the microwave; nonetheless, aluminum containers are also a good option as these can be placed in the oven.  However, consider the availability of an oven in an office building.  When it comes to catering trays, we recommend an injection molded OPS plastic tray due to its rigidity and sturdiness.


Thermoformed catering trays are probably the most attractive trays and have the best lid fit. Thermoformed catering trays are not as sturdy as an injection molded or aluminum tray; however, in addition to their flair and well-fitted lids, they have other desirable attributes that are popular with caterers. For example, thermoformed trays come in round and square formats and work superbly with foods that do not need to be reheated. The square catering trays specifically provide more storage room and more comfortable-carrying than round cater trays. 


Another alternative in catering trays and containers is Bagasse. Made from sugar cane and wheat, bagasse is 100% compostable and biodegradable and is gaining popularity in the green movement. Food containers and cater trays are not the only blameworthy catering items capable of ruining a great meal.  Napkins have been known to cause their own share of mayhem. 



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Provide napkins that can handle the job.

Americans will consume 1.38 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl weekend, according to the National Chicken Council’s annual report.  With all that hot sauce… That’s a lot of napkins! Wings are not the only messy food that will be in the starting lineup on Super Bowl Sunday; pizza, ribs, and hamburgers are all key players in the Super Bowl foods formation. 


If you are selling any of these foods, your game plan should always include linen-like paper napkins—a proven successful defense against messy foods. A good linen-like napkin will assure your customer an outstanding dining experience because it will not tear from the fatty foods or foods containing a high content of sauce. Your customers will surely appreciate that you provided them with a napkin strong enough to handle the sloppy job. 


Most regular paper napkins are not up for the task and will end up broken up into pieces on your customers’ faces.  Just like napkins, cutlery, our next player in our CX lineup, also needs to be strong and sturdy in many plays. However, for some tasks, a lighter grade of cutlery is more than acceptable.


What cutlery should you provide with takeout orders? 

Unless you decide it should be, cutlery doesn’t need to be fancy. However, it too needs to be right for the job. The complimentary cutlery that you provide your customers must be able to perform according to the solidity of your food items. Providing the fork, knife, and spoon that corresponds to their meals is all part of ensuring an excellent experience for your customers.


The two most popular types of disposable cutlery are polystyrene (PS) and polypropylene (PP). Although, both are forms of plastic and both are recyclable, they are different. Cutlery made from PP is lighter, bendable and costs less than PS. PS is available in different sets of gram weights. The heavyweight choice on both types of cutlery is tough enough to cut steak and chicken. However, PS is stable and more robust. 


PS and PP cutlery types are both resistant to chemicals.  Keep in mind that any material that is designed to touch your food is approved first by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When it comes to cutlery, you might want to consider the size of the cutlery you are offering next to the food you are serving. Providing your customers with small or medium-weight cutlery might psychologically downgrade the quality of their food.  You might want to consider providing larger and sturdier cutlery that screams “this is a great quality meal and a nice serving portion.”  It is always good policy to listen to what your customers want with an open mind. Take the time to find out if there is anything that they expect that you do not currently include in your delivery and catering. 


Remember, that friendly, apologetic staff you carefully trained will not be there to ensure your customers are enjoying their meals. Make sure that the catering tools you provide your customers are delivering the exceptional service they expect from you.  Providing the correct food containers, catering trays, napkins, cutlery, and serving utensils is something that you do not need to learn by trial and error.


When you work with a company with a consultative service approach, you will have a dedicated consultant who will make the time to learn about your business and clients to be able to offer you choices for catering tools that fit your purpose, your clientele, and accommodate your budget. The price of acquiring a new customer is too high to be pinching pennies on catering tools. Remember that setting up your customers for a great experience does not end with the food. Adding a couple of cents to the price of your customers’ orders will not significantly affect the total. Not using the right containers can negatively impact your customers’ experience and what they think of your business.


Final Note. Nielsen stated that for Super Bowl (2017), consumers spent $1.3 billion in beer, flavored malt drinks, and cider, $597 million spent on wine, and another $503 million on spirits. If you are providing beverages and cups to your customers, remember to deliver excellent CX to your customers by using the right cups.


Customers, contact your AFP sales consultant to learn more about our offerings and recommendations.

Learn more by contacting us at or (866) 835-6060 !