Cheers! New Lid Design Helps a QSR Chain Save Money, Time and Space

HAVI helped a quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain after they experienced oversupply and confusion between drink lid sizes, resulting in excess waste of unused lids. HAVI resolved the issue by developing a new interchangeable cold drink cup that reduced packaging costs and increased customer satisfaction levels.  

CASE STUDY FOCUS: PACKAGING DESIGN

Cheers! New Lid Design Helps a QSR Chain Save Money, Time and Space

A new interchangeable cold drink cup lid helps a quick service restaurant (QSR) chain reduce packaging costs by 15 percent, increase efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction levels.

 

Challenge

A leading QSR chain sought help optimizing space behind the counters in its retail locations to better accommodate crew and additional product offerings. Crew members commented that there were too many drink cup lids and that it was easy to confuse which lids belonged to each of the cups, especially when the crew members were moving quickly to serve customers.

Customers were likely to be confused too and often pulled the wrong lid for their cups at the self-serve fountain drinks station. This resulted in waste as customers would discard the unused lids.

 

Solution

HAVI, a global leader in packaging, supply chain services, marketing and supply chain analytics, merchandising planning and promotions management, and waste, recycling and sustainability, with deep expertise in the QSR and foodservice markets, considered the QSR chain’s operations and proposed an alternative that would eliminate SKUs (stock-keeping units) from its system while optimizing space and reducing waste at its retail locations.

The QSR chain had two primary large cups and three corresponding lids in its distribution system. One lid fit the chain’s plastic fountain drink cups and one fit its foam drink cups. Because the lids looked similar, at times restaurant crew members inadvertently selected the wrong lid while filling orders.

To help the crew quickly identify the correct lid for plastic and foam cups, the chain offered a third lid – a colored version of one of the lids. As a result, there were three SKUs in the system.

HAVI recognized that two cups were roughly the same size in opening diameter and designed a new lid that could be used on any of the QSR chain’s large cold drink cups, regardless of cup material.

The new interchangeable lid is translucent in appearance and fits snugly on both plastic and foam cups. Its improved retention means the lid is less likely to pop off if tipped or dropped, which means less leakage or spills. The lid features a six-slit straw opening that hugs the straw more securely than a conventional four-slit design and helps minimize leakage. HAVI also created a larger raised area in the center of the lid that surrounds the straw opening and tapered the sides of this head space to allow for displacement and lessen the likelihood of beverage leaks when straws are inserted.

As part of its holistic approach to package design, HAVI considered restaurant operations as well as the customer experience and designed the new lids to accommodate the different learning styles of crew members. Each of the “flavor buttons” – the raised dots indicating the cup’s contents – on the new lid is unique in design and accompanied by a descriptive word embossed on the lid to accommodate crew members who may be visually or spatially oriented and who have different ways of remembering information. The brand’s iconic logo, placed at the top center of the lid, serves as another point of reference.

The new lids have eliminated two SKUs from the QSR chain’s system, reduced inventory behind counters in restaurants and made it easier for crew members and customers to identify the correct lid for their cups. The lids have helped reduce leaks and spills and, because they use less material than the older lids, the new lids have helped the chain realize material cost savings and sustainability improvements as well.

 

Benefits

  • Reduced inventory – The new lid eliminated two SKUs from the QSR chain’s system and reduced the number of large cold drink cup lid styles in restaurants to one, affording the restaurants more space behind counters and at self-serve drink fountains.
  • Improved efficiency – Because the lid can be used on plastic or foam cups, it is easy for crew members and customers to quickly identify and select the right lid. Unique flavor buttons also make it easy and efficient to label drinks.
  • Lowered costs – Customers and crew members no longer are inadvertently selecting, and subsequently discarding, the wrong lid, enabling the QSR chain to reduce wasted inventory. By eliminating two SKUs and using less material (the new lid weighs less than each of the lids it replaced), the QSR chain has realized sourcing savings (the result of economies of scale gained by having a larger volume of one SKU to source as opposed to smaller volumes of three SKUs) and production cost savings of 13-15 percent and improved sustainability.
  • Increased customer satisfaction – By simplifying the lid selection process and improving the lid design, HAVI helped the QSR chain enhance the customer experience and reduce complaints.