With consumers’ growing environmental consciousness, smart restaurant operators are catching on to the fact that what’s good for the environment is good for business too. Combine this consumer preference with increasing municipal regulations banning plastic bags and it’s easy to see that starting a reusable take-out bag program is a great promotional idea for any restaurant.
Chipotle led the charge with their promotional take-out bags available for Earth Day 2012. These bags were made from recycled billboards and boasted enough capacity to hold Chipotle’s mammoth burritos. Customers who bought these environmentally friendly totes on Earth Day received a free burrito in return. So, how can this idea be implemented in your restaurant?
Offer a Reward for Responsible Packaging
- Reward commitment. Let your customers know that you take your commitment to reducing waste seriously. Offer a reward to those who use their re-usable bags habitually with a punch-card. Advertise a free item after any one customer carries home their goods in your reusable bag on 10 occasions.
- Reward on the spot. Knock 5 cents, 1%, or any other sustainable amount off the total cost of an order for any customer using your reusable bag.
- Instant beverage rewards. Offer one free small soda for every order using a reusable bag.
Advertise the Benefits of Reusable Packaging
- Less mess. Communicate to your customers how reusable bags will help to keep their cars, homes and office spaces neater and more organized.
- Products retain freshness. Many reusable bags can be styled with insulation. This will keep your product fresh and at the proper serving temperature for longer periods of time.
- Display fun, but alarming facts. Research on sites such as Reusethisbag.com offer fast facts on the negative impacts of plastic and paper bags on the environment and economy.
Benefits of Reusable Bag Promotion
This type of promotion is a great way for food service businesses to connect with their community through loyalty and environmental outreach.
- Build loyalty. Customers love a deal. With reward programs promising free drinks, menu items or instant cash back, customers know that they will receive a treat for simply remembering their reusable bag.
- Build communities. There are many people in your community who are concerned and committed to creating better environmental standards. This demographic spans across generations and income levels and the message is easy to communicate.
- Sound off, quietly. By offering a take-out bag that is not thrown away, this promotion offers a non-intrusive solution to keeping your brand in the forefront of your customers' minds.
How to Run a Resuable Bag Promotion
There are a few considerations to put in place before getting your reusable bag promotion under way.
- Know your audience. Consider your target demographic and decide whether this type of promotion would appeal to them or not.
- Research your options. Before buying a pile of reusable bags, find a vendor that offers a quality product within your price point. There are a number of websites that offer this service for a low price, such as Green Monster.
- Advertise your promotion. It's not enough to buy the bags and keep them on display; you’ll have to get the word out. Utilize social media to reach out to customers and work to build word of mouth advertising.
- Take a step back. Once your program is under way, be sure to assess whether it was a successful promotion or not. When running such a program it is essential to have a keen understanding of its value, or lack thereof.
Take a step towards the future of carryout services with reusable take-out bags. Find your foothold in going green while promotion your business within the community.
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