- Just Salad plans to make its reusable bowl program available for off-premise dining, for both takeout and delivery. The initiative is part of the chain's annual sustainability report, released Monday. Customers who order food online in a reusable bowl can drop their dirty bowl at the participating store for sanitation.
- A pilot is currently underway at the Just Salad location in New York City's Murray Hill neighborhood, offering a "zero-waste" option for customers who order online, according to Nation's Restaurant News.
- Just Salad's extension of its reusable bowl program to off-premise orders could help it keep costs on to-go containers down —which can cost 85 cents for each takeout package — and strengthen its brand halo, especially if it expands the test to its entire footprint.
Diners have already responded well to Just Salad's in-store reusable bowl program. In 2019, sales of the program, which charges customers $1 for a reusable bowl that they use every time they dine at a Just Salad location, grew more than 100% year-over-year, according to the report. Last year's progress was stunted by indoor dining restrictions and ordering volumes shift to digital channels.
Noonan told Nation's more consumers are ordering their meals online, increasing the chain's urgency to make the entire program digital. Without marketing, about 30% of customers have used the program for off-premise since the test began earlier this year, Noonan said. The restaurant's sustainability report notes that packaging and containers contribute 23% of landfilled materials in the U.S., and working to shrink this percentage could appeal to diner interest in sustainable solutions.
Just Salad isn't the only chain exploring packaging solutions to offset the increase in single-use containers, either. For example, Zuni Café in San Francisco experienced a 100% increase in takeout box usage during the pandemic, which inspired the establishment to launch a partnership with a local, reusable container service.
Burger King is also testing reusable packaging in partnership with TerraCycle's circular packaging service called Loop. Customers can opt out of the program, but those who choose reusable packaging are charged a deposit at the time of purchase, and then refunded when that packaging is returned. Burger King is rolling out the test this year at select restaurants in New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Tokyo, with more cities expected later.
McDonald's and Tim Hortons is experimenting with TerraCycle's circular packaging service internationally as well. McDonald's is testing a new reusable cup for hot beverages this year in select restaurants in the United Kingdom. Tim Hortons' pilot of reusable cups and food containers is starting this year at select Toronto restaurants.