Sustainability Blog

Restaurant Marketing Ideas that Increase Sales During Slow Times and Seasons

Posted by Good Start Packaging

Mar 17, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Whether it’s your first year or your tenth year in business, there are bound to be certain times of the week or year that are slower than others. Usually it’s after the holiday rush - in January and February - or in the beginning of the week, on Mondays and Tuesdays. What should you do during those slow times? Should you just accept that you’ll have less business and find something else productive to work on? Or do you market and promote so you’ll have more people coming in and business to keep busy? The answer is both. You can’t control the seasonality and the reality that more people dine out on weekends. But there are lots of things you can do to grow your business even during slow times.

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What do Those Recycling Symbols on Plastic Containers Really Mean?

Posted by Good Start Packaging

May 29, 2014 2:05:00 PM

While it may seem like a secret code, the symbols present on plastic recyclable items convey what items are made of. Plastic containers like milk jugs and even food wrap contain a code for the resin type. The Society of the Plastics Industry created the resin identification coding system in 1988 as a way to improve identification of resin types in the waste stream, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. Although many consumers may fail to notice them, businesses and organizations that handle a large volume of disposable containers could greatly benefit from learning about what those recycling symbols mean to ensure they recycle them instead of throwing them in landfills.

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Topics: Sustainability, Plastics

Sustainable Recipes for Your Next Catering Event

Posted by Good Start Packaging

May 27, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Catering customers are increasingly concerned with the impact their events has on our wider ecosystem – as a result, they’re requesting “sustainable” faire for weddings, conferences and other events throughout the year. Whether your firm is trying to compete in a new niche as a sustainable caterer or simply evolve with the changing demands of your traditional market, we’re here to offer some suggestions and options for upping your sustainability game.

What is Sustainable Catering?

Though the answer varies wildly depending on the convictions of the person you’re asking, sustainability at its core is about making things that last, don’t destroy or deplete natural resources and can be used with minimal waste. In terms of catering, this means choosing efficient cooking methods, eco-friendly serving and tableware, and most importantly opting for fresh, local suppliers wherever possible.

This means spending a little time at the local farmers markets to get to know area suppliers – but also, it is important to visit the farm sites whenever possible to be sure that they’re really living up to their sustainable claims. Taking the time to get to know your supply chain is the most valuable investment you can make in sustainable catering.

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Topics: Sustainability, Restaurants, Catering

Why Shipping is Bad for You (Part 2)

Posted by Ken Jacobus

May 20, 2014 1:40:00 PM

In part 1 of Why Shipping is Bad for You, I shared two facts that you should know about free shipping.  Now we get into the details on why free shipping might be bad for you and your business. 

There is no such thing as Free Shipping

Merchants like Amazon that offer free shipping bury the cost of it in the products they sell.   They often offer free shipping for larger orders as a way of enticing you to do more business with them even if some of their products are not competitive with other merchants. 

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Topics: Small Business Owners

Why Free Shipping is Bad for You (Part 1)

Posted by Ken Jacobus

May 13, 2014 10:32:00 AM

As a company that ships product around the country, in many cases to areas that have local competition for the same product, Good Start Packaging has struggled for years with how to price our products (including delivery costs) in a way that is both fair to everyone and as competitive as possible with every form of competition there is out there.  By fair, we mean we don’t want to pick a high price on a product so that we can afford free shipping to a customer in Fairbanks, Alaska if it means this is subsidized by a customer who is just down the street.  It costs less to serve the customer down the street so he should pay less as a general rule. Yet millions of people pay inflated costs for online products in order to subsidize free shipping programs to consumers who live farther from a merchant.

Before I explain how offering free shipping is feeding a monster that will eventually eat all of us, here are two facts you should know:

  1. It costs a little more to ship a lightweight box (e.g. an iPhone) across the country than down the street.  OK, that’s obvious.  However, it costs WAY more to ship a heavy box (e.g. a box of compostable coffee cups) across the country than to ship that same heavy box down the street.   Most of our products ship in heavy boxes.  Unlike iPhones, our products have pretty modest profit margins so shipping costs can be a business killer if we don’t accurately estimate shipping costs for every product to every state. 
  1. I’m a hypocrite when it comes to hating free shipping.  For over 14 years, I’ve been a faithful customer of one of the most successful ecommerce companies in the world, Amazon. I’ve remained a customer in large part because of the convenience and speed with which I can get everything from shaving cream to DVD players.   But I’m also a customer because I LOVE the free shipping Amazon offers.  I feel like I’m getting my cake and eating it too because I get low prices AND don’t have to go to a boring retail store. 
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Topics: Small Business Owners

Restaurant Customer Loyalty Programs: Are They Worth the Cost?

Posted by Ken Jacobus

May 8, 2014 3:33:00 PM

Each year, thousands of U.S. restaurants and cafés start or consider starting a customer loyalty program.  Typically these programs involve giving the customer a card that is stamped for each purchase. After a typical 10 purchases, the customer gets a free meal or drink. Given the popularity of these programs and the ubiquity of the cards in many people’s wallets, many would think these programs add value that justifies the cost to the business. However, there is little evidence to support this.


You can do a search on the internet and find numerous arguments for and against customer loyalty programs.  Most of the ones in support of them are from companies that sell services like digital loyalty tracking programs.  A typical program will have a press release with an ambiguous statistic like “Of those patrons that are aware of a loyalty program at a favorite restaurant, 87% participate in the program.”  So what does this tell us- that most people who know they can get something they like for free will take it?  We don’t need a statistician to figure that out.  What you never see from these companies is hard data that strongly correlates an increase in revenue and profit with the implementation of a loyalty program.  

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Topics: Restaurants

Keeping Up With Your Customers: The Importance of Sustainability in Restaurants

Posted by Good Start Packaging

May 6, 2014 3:18:00 PM

Sustainability is a popular topic among restaurant owners today, but just how important are sustainable practices to the average customers? Well, all this talk among operators may not be for nothing, according to a new survey completed by Technomic, 63 percent of consumers said they are more likely to go to a restaurant that they perceive as being socially responsible. This could have a huge impact for any restaurant and certainly explains why 93 percent of restaurant operates find using sustainable practices as very or somewhat important. More than 50 percent of these operators go one step further and project that restaurants will have to take on sustainability practices if they hope to remain competitive in the upcoming years.

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Topics: Sustainability, Food Service, Restaurants

Is Overfishing Really an Issue for the Restaurant Industry?

Posted by Good Start Packaging

May 1, 2014 10:17:00 AM

For any restaurant trying to create a sustainable menu made from responsibly sourced ingredients, "overfishing" is a term that needs to be understood. However, it may not be as complicated an issue as it first seems. Many environmental advocacy groups seem to be of the opinion that we need more regulations and that no one should even be purchasing fish from any supplier, though Professor Ray Hilborn has something different to say.

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Topics: Sustainability, Food Service, Restaurants

Reading the Labels: Would you Like That Meat With or Without Hormones?

Posted by Good Start Packaging

Apr 29, 2014 1:21:00 PM

Consumers looking to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle should be focused on choosing foods that are free of additives and other harmful adulterants. When it comes to purchasing animal products, such as meat and dairy, it's important to understand the terms that are listed on the food's labels and packaging in order to make the most healthy choices. Two specific terms that consumers should be on the look out for are "No Antibiotics" and "No Hormones." 

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Topics: Sustainability, Food Service, Packaging

What Happens to the Plastic you Think You're "Recycling"

Posted by Good Start Packaging

Apr 24, 2014 1:38:00 PM

When we toss our plastic bottle into the recycle container - we feel we have done our part. But what really happens to the recycled plastic - where does it go, and are we really making a difference by doing this?

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Topics: Sustainability