The food service industry is in the midst of a major transformation. Digital technology is increasingly interwoven into the food service experience. A whopping 45% of quick service restaurants (QSRs) now provide a pick-up in store feature on their mobile apps.1 Kiosks are becoming a more common option for in-store ordering. McDonald’s recently announced it plans to install self-service ordering kiosks in all of its U.S. stores by 2020.2 These advancements offer consumers greater convenience and enable restaurants to repurpose or reduce labor at a time when labor shortages and rising labor rates have become a greater concern.
Digital technology has also led to the rise of third-party delivery companies like UberEats, DoorDash and GrubHub. These companies have helped drive an increase in delivery sales of 55% year-over-year in the U.S. this past year.3 Delivery has become an expectation for consumers and is now a big business, with Technomic estimating that consumers spent $10.2 billion on third-party delivery in 2018.4 The rapid rise in delivery has created new demands on takeout food packaging. Simply holding food for a short duration without leaking is no longer sufficient — packaging must do more.