Disposable restaurant supplies are a key part of business. Your patrons have to eat and staff needs to be able to serve food, so disposables are a good option. The problem is that there are so many options:

  • Foam
  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Eco-friendly disposable supplies

You'll also find sustainable disposables that are better for the planet and can be part of your overall marketing strategy.

foam disposables

Since you have so many options available in restaurant disposable supplies, it’s important to learn about all of the options available before making a purchase. In 2021, these are the disposable supplies that you have available:

Foam Disposables

Foam products are slowly being phased out by a lot of companies, but they’re still a viable option for disposable products. Cup, bowls and plates are the most popular products offered in foam disposables.

The price for these products is cheap and you can purchase them in bulk.

Weight is a major benefit because the product can be stacked and are still very light. Transport is far easier than most other products on our list. The foam is particularly beneficial for hot drinks because the insulated design keeps the liquid hot while also protecting against burns.

But while these products are great for hot drinks, they’re not microwave safe which may not be a concern for you.

Paper, on the other hand, loses 10 times the heat as foam does. When serving coffee, it makes more sense to offer foam cups or insulated paper cups. Soft drinks, such as the big soda cups from fast food restaurants, use foam because the material is able to maintain higher carbonation levels.

paper disposables

Paper Disposables

Paper is one of the most popular disposable party supplies because it’s an eco-friendly option. Paper does come from trees, but the practice can be sustainable and puts less strain on the environment because paper breaks down easily in landfills.

The majority of these products can be placed in the microwave, and they can be folded or stacked to save on space.

But there are also issues with using paper disposables because they will absorb liquids and oils easily. You can purchase coated supplies that will make the paper less absorbent. Multiple layers of paper are often used to create these products so that they’re more durable and don’t absorb every liquid that comes in contact with it.

Some of the most prominent benefits of paper products are:

  •         They're often microwave safe, so you can easily heat up food items
  •         Storage is a breeze thanks to the thinner size of the supplies
  •         Biodegradable and compostable, paper is eco-friendly and breaks down rapidly

For all of these benefits, you’ll have to deal with a product that is less durable and absorbs a lot of grease. Pizza, for example, is often placed on these plates, but as everyone knows, the grease absorbs right into the plate turning it orange.

Foods heavy in oils and grease are not best suited for paper products.

Cups that are lined with plastic, even if they’re primarily paper, will take a long time to decompose – at least the plastic will. If your cups or other products require some type of lining, it may make it less eco-friendly than you had hoped.

plastic disposables

Plastic Disposables

Plastics are some of the most popular options for everything from catering disposable supplies to simple utensils put in a to-go bag. You can purchase a variety of items in plastic:

  •         Cups
  •         Forks
  •         Knives
  •         Spoons
  •         Containers

Leak-proof and non-absorbent, these items are a great choice for on-the-go orders. The key benefits of plastic is that it’s cheap, durable and comes in a wide variety. You can even put heavier foods on these supplies without concern.

The one downside, and it’s a major big one, is that plastic is not environmentally friendly.

Recycling can definitely help lower the plastic impact, but when the plastic is discarded, it can last between 50 and 450+ years in a landfill.

Green Disposable Restaurant Supplies

Green disposables are some of the most popular, often made from recycled paper, because they aim to be better for the environment. A lot of focus has been put on the disposable industry because single use plastics, for example, end up in the oceans and don’t decompose easily.

Everything from paper straws to plates and utensils can be green disposables.

From a marketing perspective, these products can also help you shape your restaurant’s image. Consumers are opting to use their money wisely and in a way that promotes eco-friendly options.

If your restaurant wants to offer the best disposables, consider going green to increase your reputation.

disposable catering supplies wholesale

Offering Consumers Options for Disposable Restaurant Supplies

Consumers do have their preferences, and you should spend time trying to learn about these preferences. You can opt to:

  •         Survey your consumers to learn their preferences
  •         Hire someone to conduct market research
  •         Offer your consumers choices on what supplies they want to use

Oftentimes, the best option to keep all of your consumers happy is to offer them options. For example, changing out all of your straws can lead to you losing customers. Instead, you can offer the option to go plastic or paper to your patrons.

If you want to fully move away from plastic, start phasing it out slowly to create less of a shock for the people that frequent your establishment.

Major changes, all at once, often cause backlash among consumers. Slow and steady changes allow the consumers to adjust to changes and will keep them coming back to your restaurant.

Choosing disposable restaurant supplies takes time, and you may need to have multiple different types of disposables to fulfill the needs of your restaurant. Now that you know and understand the types of disposables you can use and their benefits, you can make an informed purchase.

You can also work with suppliers or consultants that can help you choose the best disposable options for your restaurant. These professionals will offer you insight into which new items are available as well as what items may work best for your food items.