HAVI helped a quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain planning to introduce a new flatbread wrap, design packaging that would allow for direct in-line food preparation. HAVI led a series of focus groups to gauge customer preference and partnered with a strategic supplier to design an innovative clamshell package solution.
CASE STUDY FOCUS: PACKAGING DESIGN
A breakthrough design in packaging helps a quick service restaurant (QSR) chain showcase a new premium menu item, improve operational efficiencies in its restaurants, achieve 15 percent material cost savings and enhance the customer dining experience.
A leading QSR chain wanted to introduce a new flatbread wrap to its menu and needed a package that would accommodate the item and allow for in-line food preparation directly in the package.
The package also needed to maintain food integrity from preparation through consumption and allow the flatbread wraps to remain in tri-fold position when the package is opened.
The QSR chain sought help from HAVI, and a leader in packaging solutions and merchandising planning and promotions management, with deep expertise in the QSR and foodservice markets.
HAVI joined the QSR chain during a series of three focus groups held around the country to gauge what customers were looking for in terms of packaging for the new food item from a material, visibility and user experience perspective. Did customers prefer paper or plastic packaging? Was it important to them to be able to see the product through the package? How could product packaging enhance their dining experience? Feedback from the focus groups, coupled with insights about the QSR chain’s operational and brand requirements, helped the packaging team clearly understand product specific needs as well as perceptions of various packaging options, and guided the overall design process.
Customers associated clear plastic packaging with a more premium product. The QSR chain needed a design that would enable crew members to build the product directly in the package, provide efficient order identification and promote sustainability.
Since a conventional hinged clamshell design would make it impossible for the bread to lie flat during assembly, HAVI partnered with a strategic supplier to design an innovative flat-hinged, convertible clamshell that provided packaging differentiation in a category dominated by flexible paper wraps. The clear polypropylene packaging showcases the product while the unique flat hinge enables the package to perform like a plate when it is opened, facilitating in-line food preparation and enhancing the dining experience, and function as a protective rigid clamshell when it is folded over and closed.
An integrated sticker panel on the package, coupled with a two-sided label, allows for easy order identification during food preparation and when the product is delivered to the customer. HAVI debossed the QSR’s logo for branding purposes and to align with customer perceptions of premium packaging. The inverted logo also applies inward pressure on the sandwich when the package is closed, which facilitates cheese melt and helps keep the sandwich folded in the proper presentation when the package is opened. Additionally, calibrated vents below the sticker panel help control product moisture and heat retention while an offset lock design provides product security and ease of opening.
HAVI reduced the thickness of the resin sheets used to create the clamshells by 25 percent (relative to other standard sheet thicknesses available in the industry), resulting in material cost savings of 15 percent and a package more than 50 percent lighter than standard fiber clamshell designs. The convertible clamshell also improved operational efficiencies within the QSR chain’s restaurants, reducing service times by 20 percent. While the amount of time it takes to close flexible wrap packaging averages three to five seconds per item, the time it takes to close the convertible clamshell is one second. The one-step process of folding over the convertible clamshell plate and locking it causes the wrap to close as well and helped reduce total assembly time for the product in restaurants from 20 seconds to 16 seconds.
The breakthrough clamshell packaging has not only attracted customer and client attention for its design and functionality, but industry attention as well. Accolades include an Edison Award for Innovation, a Food Service and Packaging Institute Innovation of the Year Award and an Ameristar Best in Show Award.