• Stephen Warneke

Why Takeout Sucks! But There's HOPE...

I'm speeding my way home from PDQ, home of the pretty darn yummy chicken tenders and other fixin's. I've just picked up an order of my favorite zucchini fries, my stomach gurgling loud enough for someone outside the car to hear. When I finally sit down at the table, my mouth watering in anticipation, and open the lid to the plastic container containing my light and flakey zucchini fries only to be awash in DISAPPOINTMENT- IT'S A SOGGY MUSH!

It's actually a common problem we've been seeing a lot of online lately due to social distancing guidelines and restaurants forced to only complete takeout or to-go orders. Tacos are soggy, fried foods destroyed, meats overcooked from the steam trapped inside their to-go containers. Many restaurants aren't equipped to deliver food that will survive with any quality or freshness from the restaurant to their customer's dining room table. What is this new world to do during this pandemic?


Enter Mr. Take Out Bags, Steve's next expert on South Florida's consumer advocacy radio show. Mr. Scott Barthelmes, the president of Mr. Takeout Bags, discussed some advice for restaurants and solutions for consumers.


"We work with small boutique restaurants, caterers, bakers and we talk to them about their food packaging and obviously in the last eight weeks that's become a bit of a hot topic. We've had a lot of people who never had delved into takeout before and in delivery before who are now, you know, getting involved."

1. PACKAGING IS IMPORTANT.


It's important for food businesses to consider these types of questions to preserve the quality of their food: Is it fried food? How much food are you trying to pack into one container? Do you need compartments so one item doesn't ruin another, i.e. do you keep soup and noodles separate? Is it being packed in a paper bag or a box or a plastic container? Is it vented so that steaming, hot food doesn't recook, gather condensation, or get soggy?


During this pandemic, some restaurants' have reduced their menus to items that will arrive and still be of good quality. Others prepare "meal kits" for families, where all the main ingredients are stored separately and then you assemble the meal at home. Some restaurants even sell their signature cocktails by the gallon!


2. SAFE FROM CONTAMINATION


"Tamper-evident bags have been around a couple of years, and again, they weren't getting a lot of traction, and now we can't keep them on the shelves because now more than ever people are giving some thought to whether or not that [Uber/Lyft] driver is sneaking a french fry, or grabbing a piece of pie, or are taking one of the wings and obviously you don't want that contaminated, you don't want you're food touched..."

Like the McDonald's takeout bags pictured above, the tamper-evident stickers are there to reassure customers that no one has touched or contaminated their food after preparation. This is ESSENTIAL in today's world of social distancing and protecting from COVID-19 until a vaccine is found.


If you're a local restaurant and you're looking to update your takeout containers or just explore more options, check out more at www.mrtakeoutbags.com.

The Steve Warneke Show is LIVE SATURDAYS at 10AM EST to 850 WFTL on your South Florida AM dial or you can stream live during the show at www.850wftl.com.


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Until next time...