Sabert Food Delivery Pressure Test at NRA Show Reveals Shocking Issues and Key Opportunities for Food Delivery Market

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Sabert Corporation's 2015 Food Delivery Pressure Test Discovers the Spoils of Salad Delivered at 100-Plus Degrees

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As an increasing number of restaurants add delivery service, Sabert Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of food packaging products and solutions, has announced the results of its 2015 Sabert Food Delivery Pressure Test. Conducted during the 2015 National Restaurant Association (NRA) show in Chicago, the test found that more than half of the food establishments evaluated provided poor to very poor overall delivery experiences.

Realtime Delivery Testing at NRA Rush Hour

The Sabert evaluation team didn’t make it easy. The team of four experts placed orders at four select Chicago area restaurants at exactly 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15 – the height of the NRA rush hour. They included: a high-end steakhouse, a dim sum restaurant, an Italian restaurant and an American restaurant. To cover the full spectrum of delivery issues, the Sabert team ordered a variety of food types at a range of temperatures. The orders were made simultaneously using phone as well as mobile and web applications.

As the deliveries came in, the team recorded the time, and conducted immediate inspections of the packaging, presentation, quality and, of course, taste. Once all deliveries were made, the data was recorded, and analyzed.

Late, Leaking, Soggy and Saturated

The results of the test showed that a majority of food providers are consistently falling short of basic delivery thresholds. Many of the assessed restaurants used packaging that was either not designed to withstand temperature-specific foods or ill-equipped to contain specific food types. In one instance, a restaurant delivered hot and cold foods in a single delivery bag, causing cold foods such as sushi and kale salad to reach 80-degrees and 108-degrees, respectively.

“We developed this test as our way of taking a valuable snapshot of the state of food delivery at the biggest food show in the world,” said Jessica Burrell, Sabert Marketing Communications Manager. “While delivery may seem a secondary service to many food establishments, we believe our findings prove that packaging and delivery service can impact the overall delivery experience as much as or more than the food quality itself.”

Key failure points include:

1.    Placing hot and cold foods in close proximity
Hot and cold foods that were delivered in close proximity (i.e. same delivery bag or packaging container) compromised the integrity and safety of cold foods. In more than one instance, a restaurant delivered and stored hot and cold foods in a single delivery bag, causing cold foods to reach unsafe and/or unappetizing high temperatures.

Sabert insight: Cold and hot foods should always be in separate packaging and delivery bags to ensure all foods delivered mimic restaurant quality and are served at their appropriate temperature.

2.    Partially filled packaging and inappropriate packaging per food type
Improper packaging sizes led some food portions to appear smaller than anticipated, creating the impression of low value. Additionally, unsuitable packaging used for fried foods caused condensation, leading to sogginess and poor texture.

Sabert insight: Have a variety of packaging options to fit multiple needs and appropriately fill food packaging to create a greater impression of value and increased visual appeal. Equally as important is ensuring that packaging is appropriate for certain food types, including wet foods, fried foods, messy foods, hot foods and cold foods, which will increase the quality of the food upon its arrival to the customer.

3.    Unprofessional delivery person
Restaurants that outsourced delivery service to an unreliable external delivery person led to varying satisfaction levels with overall customer service.

Sabert insight: Ensure all delivery partners are aware of brand and service expectations prior to any food delivery. Delivery partners can be seen as an extension of the brand, and it is important to choose them wisely.

4.    Inaccurate delivery estimates
Restaurants that did not provide a delivery estimate or those that were late upon arrival created frustrations with their service and scored lower than those that both provided an estimate and arrived early or on time.

Sabert insight: Always provide a delivery time estimate and ensure delivery person transports foods within the timeframe.

5.    Unbranded packaging and delivery materials
Restaurants and eateries that provided packaging and delivery bags with branded images increased the overall food delivery experience, while those who had generic packaging saw no increase in overall satisfaction.

Sabert insight: Use branded images and logos on delivery bags, food packaging, and if possible, on the delivery person’s attire. Doing so creates a professional, higher-end experience and creates a positive association with the establishment.

To find out more about Sabert’s food packaging options, visit

About Sabert

Founded in 1983 on a single mission to enhance and advance the way people enjoy food, Sabert is a leading global manufacturer of innovative food packaging products and solutions. Today the company designs, manufactures and distributes a wide spectrum of packaging solutions for food distributors, restaurants & caterers, grocery stores, national food chains and consumer entertaining. Headquartered in Sayreville, New Jersey, Sabert operates North American facilities in New Jersey, California and Kentucky, as well as manufacturing facilities in Nivelles, Belgium and Zhongshan, China.

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Joe McIntyre
Braithwaite Communications
+1 (215) 564-3200 Ext: 112
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