Skip to Content

Portion Packets Not the Answer


Server Blog | Servcast

Main Content

Portion Packets are Not the Answer to Condiments

Industry Trends, Safety & Technology

Change is inevitable; it's how we respond to change that defines us.

The industry is in a constant state of change, whether restaurants are simply responding to changing diners’ tastes or situations like global pandemics. While some restaurants have had carry-out and delivery down pat for decades, many have scrambled to adapt quickly and have had to learn on-the-fly. Those able to adapt were met with sustained, in some cases increased, business. Through this experience, no one can question the foodservice industry’s resilience and ingenuity.

As restaurants prepare to reopen, the industry has a new challenge: how to handle condiment stations. While there are numerous resources available – from CDC guidelines to reopening kits with masks, gloves and social distancing decals ­– condiment dispensing presents unique challenges that require specific attention as operators strategize their grand reopening.

For many operators, offering portion packets for self-service may seem like a safe and efficient solution to front-of-house condiment stations. However, the self-service nature of portion packs both defies CDC guidelines to reduce shared objects and can cause customers to lose confidence in an operation, especially with 38% of consumers showing concerns about touching things other people have touched.[1] Customers understand the high likelihood of patrons before them touching multiple packets in order to select the one that they want, increasing the potential for germ transfer. In order to comply with recommended guidelines and meet consumer expectations, the best solution is a pouched condiment dispenser that engages directly with a food manufacturer’s pouch.

These pouched dispensers are sanitary by design: they use 1 ½-gallon Cryovac and 3-gallon Vol-Pack pouches which are machine filled and hermetically sealed. And once the pump is connected to the pouch, it creates a closed system. The dispenser has one user touchpoint – the lever used to dispense – which never touches the food.

These dispensers also allow more opportunities to regularly sanitize the touchpoints. It isn’t possible to sanitize tubs of portion packs whether they are used front or back of house. But pouched condiment pumps can be sanitized before and after each use. The CDC recommends using disinfectants that comply with EPA guidelines. Frequently disinfecting surfaces builds trust with the 71% of consumers who say that regularly/visibly wiping down tables, kiosks, other things people touch is absolutely required to make them feel safe if dining rooms re-open.[2]

Condiment dispensers with bulk pouches are not only a more sanitary option: they offer the lowest cost per ounce, produce less packaging waste than single-serving packets, and have a higher product yield.

In a time when every penny counts and the demand for sanitary dining experiences has peaked, switching to environmentally friendly bulk packaging and reliable, cleanable condiment dispensing can help you achieve cost savings and waste reduction while protecting public health. The road to reopening restaurants during COVID-19 has its uncertainties, but we are here to help you and your business during this time.


[1] Datassential: Fear & Response 2020

[2] Datassential: Pent-Up Demand 2020