Should cafés customise takeaway cup trays?

Hayley Osbourne
May 19, 2023
An image of a base handle takeaway cup carrier, takeaway cup tray, customised takeaway cup tray, in an article on custom takeaway cup trays

Offering coffee consumers takeaway accessories is not only an effective way to improve customer service but also an opportunity to stand out in an increasingly competitive market. For instance, accessories such as wooden stirrers, cup sleeves, and takeaway cup trays, can be customised to feature logos, company values, or social media channels, helping to increase brand awareness.

More so, providing accessories can make purchasing coffee from your café a memorable experience that is both convenient and hassle-free, which is likely to encourage repeat business. Takeaway cup trays, for example, are often an underrated form of packaging, despite their ease of use, convenience, and ability to act as free advertising.

That said, many may argue cup trays are largely unnecessary, and may only contribute to packaging waste. However, depending on the location of your café, the size of your target market, and the amount of daily foot traffic you receive, custom takeaway cup trays may help to increase profits and customer loyalty.

Read on to learn whether investing in custom-printed takeaway cup trays can benefit your café.

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How could your business benefit from offering takeaway cup trays?

Recent statistics show takeaway and curbside coffee orders have increased by 5380% since 2019. As a result, there are over 500% more operators offering takeaway and delivery coffee. For many coffee shops, takeaway orders play an essential role in increasing profits and brand awareness. Takeaway delivery options not only offer an additional revenue stream but allow coffee shops to operate beyond the confines of their brick-and-mortar stores.

Offering takeaway orders will often require you to invest in additional packaging. It is important to note a 2021 report found 55% of consumers consider plastic packaging to be harmful, while 65% connected the material with ocean pollution. Therefore, you will want to avoid using plastic packaging or takeaway accessories wherever possible. Fortunately, there are several sustainable alternatives, such as recyclable takeaway coffee cups, compostable bags, and biodegradable utensils

Another form of packaging that every coffee shop will find useful is takeaway cup trays. The most common design features two or four ‘dips’ where a cup can sit comfortably: similar to an egg carton. Some are built with a handle, whereas other trays have a lip around the edge. Features such as these make them easy to carry and prevent consumers from having to carry hot cups for long periods. Overall, takeaway cup trays help to keep drinks steady during transit, limiting the potential of spills and leaks and helping to prevent accidental burns or loss of product.

The rising popularity of takeaway coffee indicates a need for accessories such as takeaway cup trays. Usually, cup trays are offered to consumers, ordering two or more takeaway coffees, helping them carry the beverages safely along their commute. Over time, the trays have evolved from simple cardboard trays to become more aesthetic and comfortable to hold.

An image of a box shape takeaway cup tray, customised cup trays, cup trays, custom takeaway cup trays, in an article on custom takeaway cup trays

How has the design of cup trays changed?

Originally designed as a rough-cut, square cardboard rectangle with two holes to place cups in, the look of takeaway cup trays has come a long way. One way they have become more effective is through their ease of use. For instance, cup trays have become easier for staff to assemble quickly in order to cater to a rush of orders.

The base handle shape

A particular design that has entered the market resembles a carrier bag or suitcase. Usually made from layers of recycled paper, the bottom panel features two circles to hold cups, while two side panels are folded up to encompass the packaging’s contents. This design often features die-cut handles, allowing consumers to carry their orders with ease, while the side panels provide adequate space for roasters and cafés to showcase their logo, leading to increased brand awareness.   

The box shape

Another design that allows for additional advertising is cup boxes. Made from kraft paper, box trays offer more stability for takeaway cups. The boxes can be designed to carry two or four cups, while the panels can be fully customised to showcase your brand.

The card cup holder

The card cup holder is an innovative design that has recently appeared. While similar to the box shape, these trays are slightly shallower, providing consumers with more room to get a firm grip on the cup, instead of just the lid. This particular design can be folded flat in order to save space during transit and storage.

An image of a traditional takeaway cup tray, takeaway cup carrier, custom printed takeaway cup trays, custom cup trays, custom takeaway cup trays, in an article on custom takeaway cup trays

Could custom takeaway cup trays boost brand awareness?

A prime example of how custom takeaway cup trays can help boost brand awareness and mindshare is Fire Burgers. Important to note is the brand has kept the design simple: a black box with a bold white font, a contrast in colours that catch the eye. The two main sides of the box feature the company name, with the address tucked beneath, while the two smaller panels promote the brand’s website. This is a highly effective marketing campaign as it provides consumers with the main need-to-know information through intriguing design.

When customising takeaway cup trays, it is important that your brand or logo is the first thing consumers will see, as this will help them recognise your business in the future. Additionally, the use of colour is a highly effective way to entice potential customers. Notably, one study revealed customers decide on a purchase within 90 seconds of first interacting with a product. 

Furthermore, as much as 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone. Colours have subconscious meanings to consumers and can influence their decision to purchase. For example, studies show red packaging encouraged people to “impulse buy”, while navy blue had a more budget-conscious and thoughtful response from purchasers.

That said, it is essential to ensure brand and colour consistency across all your packaging, as inconsistent branding can come across as careless and messy – traits you want to avoid being associated with your business. By creating a consistent design that reflects the image of the brand whilst being visually enticing, cafes can help influence mindshare and purchase memory among potential consumers.

MTPak Coffee can provide you with sustainable, custom-printed takeaway coffee cup trays, cups, and takeaway packaging for your business, all made from sustainable materials, such as kraft paper, rice paper, or polylactic acid (PLA). In addition to being 100% compostable, our cups are strong, waterproof, and lightweight. They are available in different sizes: 4 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz. Each one is available to order as either single or double wall, while customisable sleeves are available for all sizes.

Our design team is also able to work with you to custom print your takeaway coffee trays and packaging to your specifications. We use innovative and eco-friendly digital printing technology with sustainable water-based inks that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are highly resistant to abrasion, heat, and water.

For more information on customising your takeaway cup trays, contact our team.

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