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Packing Your Orders
Chyrlie Brown avatar
Written by Chyrlie Brown
Updated over a week ago

Depending on your location, you may need to drop your orders off at a Shef hub, or different versions of door-to-door delivery may be available. Check the 'My Profile' page of your Shef Dash, if you see a list of hub addresses to choose from, you will be dropping your orders off with us on your delivery days. If you see an option to add your pickup address, you have direct pickup options available to you. If you see both, then both options are available to you. This means you will drop off at a hub on the days they are open, and will receive door-to-door delivery on the days your hub is closed.

How to pack your orders for hub drop off

  1. Freeze your water bottles at least 2 days in advance for the upcoming delivery day, to ensure they are rock solid.

  2. Prepare and cool your food for the upcoming delivery day.

  3. Print your order labels for the upcoming delivery day.

  4. Package your food into the appropriate food containers. Fill each container 95% and seal it tightly and securely! Under-filling containers could disappoint your customers, while over-filling containers can cause food to spill during delivery.

  5. Neatly attach labels to each of your dishes.

  6. Separate your dishes into two groups using the ‘S’ vs ‘M’ dish labels, and follow the instructions from the links below:


How to pack 'S' orders

Reminder: There are 2 different kinds of Shef orders: ‘M’ orders and ‘S’ orders. You can see both ‘M’ and ‘S’ orders in the My Orders page of your Shef Dashboard, and on each dish label. You will see the letter 'M' or 'S' at the end of the GoID number for each order.

When you see 'S', think 'single shef'. These are orders where every dish is from one shef.

  1. Pack each 'S' order in it's own bag. You should have a packed bag for each individual customer.

  2. If you use multiple containers to pack a single dish, make sure they are clearly grouped together so that they can be clearly identified by the customer. You can print extra dish labels from your Shef Dashboard, add a hand-written label (example: "Dressing for Salad"), or you can use plastic wrap wrap to group the containers together.

  3. Place each food container neatly inside the bag. Be sure to match the correct customer name for each dish.

  4. Add at least 2 frozen-solid water bottles to each bag. Include as many water bottles as necessary to ensure food safety.

  5. We strongly encourage you to include a handwritten thank you note (examples at the end of this article). It makes a wonderful customer experience even better!

  6. Double-check that you have included all items for the order before sealing the bag.

  7. For larger orders, please repeat all steps above for each delivery bag. Each bag needs a minimum of 2 water bottles, even if a bag contains 1 item.

Example of the ‘S’ Dish Label and ‘S’ Bag Label:

The 'S' dish label includes info like the dish name, reheating instructions, the GoID in the top right corner (ending in S, or M), and the 'S' icon in the bottom left corner.
  • The 'S' dish label includes info like the dish name, reheating instructions, the GoID in the top right corner (ending in S, or M), and the 'S' icon in the bottom left corner.

There are usually 2 bag labels. One has the customer's name, the GoID, and a packing list of the dishes included.
The other includes the customer's name and delivery address along with the GoID.
  • There are usually 2 bag labels. One has the customer's name, the GoID, and a packing list of the dishes included. The other includes the customer's name and delivery address along with the GoID.

  • Additionally, your region may have barcode labels that need to be placed on the outside of delivery bags. Scroll down to the section regarding barcodes for more information.

How to label delivery bags for 'S' orders

Label the strap of each customer bag with two labels: the customer name/address and the customer order information/items list. Stick these labels neatly back-to-back across the base of the bag strap.

  • Start with the bag handle down. Place the label with customer order information (with two large letters in a box) near the base of the handle. This label should be easy to read when the bag handle is down. The two large letters help our team keep the bags organized while the orders are collected for delivery.

  • Raise the bag handle up. Place the label with the customer address on the back side of the first label, back to back. The customer address should be easy to read when the bag handle is raised up - as if you are a delivery driver holding the bag!

Bag labels, stuck to the handle of a delivery bag, back-to-back so you see the packing list on one side, and the customer's address on the other.
Another view of the bag labels stuck to the handle of a delivery bag.

If you have a large order with multiple labels

  • Start with the handles of your delivery bag down. Place both labels with customer order information (with two large letters in a box) on the handle, near it's base. These labels should be easy to read when the bag handle is down. The two large letters in the corner of these labels help our team keep the bags organized while they are organized and collected for delivery.

  • Raise the handle up. Place the label with the customer address on the back side of the first label, back to back. The customer address should be easy to read when the bag handle is raised up - as if you are a delivery driver holding the bag! Use a blank label on the back of the second label.

Example of 2 packing list labels stuck to one side of the delivery bag handle, where the packing list was too long to fit on one label.
Those same labels from the other side, with the customers address info stuck to the back of one packing list label, and a blank label stuck to the back of the second packing list label.

Some cities use barcode labels. If your city has barcode labels

Each 'S' order will have 1 label with a barcode. This will be used to increase the accuracy of order delivery and tracking. Our team will scan the barcodes to track your bags during delivery.

  • Place the barcode label on top of the bag for easy scanning:

A barcode label stuck to the top-center of a delivery bag


How to pack 'M' orders

When you see ‘M’, think mix and match! These dishes are going to customers who placed an order from 2 or more shefs.

  1. If you use multiple containers to pack a single dish, make sure they are clearly grouped together so we are able to easily identify and repack the dish for the correct customer.

  2. All of your 'M' order dishes should be placed neatly together, in the same bag (or multiple bags if you fill one up). The dishes for your ‘M’ orders might include different customer names - this is okay!

  3. Add at least 2 frozen-solid water bottles to each bag. Include as many water bottles as necessary to ensure food safety.

  4. We strongly encourage you to include a handwritten thank you note for each customer, it makes a wonderful customer experience even better!

  5. Double-check that you have included all of your 'M' items before sealing the bag.

  6. If you need more than 1 bag for your multi items, please split your items up according to the hub ID on the item label. Each bag needs a minimum of 2 water bottles, even if a bag contains 1 item.

Example of the ‘M’ Dish Label and ‘M’ Bag Label

The M dish label includes the dish name, customer name, reheating instructions, the GoID in the top right corner, and the 'M' icon in the bottom left corner. The bag label has your shef name, and the number of dishes included.

The 'M' dish label includes the dish name, customer name, reheating instructions, the GoID in the top right corner (ending in S, or M), and the 'M' icon in the bottom left corner. The bag label has your shef name, and the number of dishes included.

How to label delivery bags for 'M' orders

For bags containing multi-order items, you only need to place the barcode label with your name and the total number of multi items on the outside. Place the label on top of the bag, in the center so we can easily locate and read it.

Shef delivery bag with a label placed on top.

When using multiple containers for a single dish

You may need to pack a single dish into multiple containers (maybe you are including a side of sauce, or rice). Make sure all containers for a single dish are clearly grouped together, so we can easily identify and repack them for the correct customer.

  • Each dish label has a large number near the bottom-left corner. You can write this number on any extra containers (like sauces) to make sure they stay together.

Image of a dish label, showing a large #6 in the bottom left corner and a side dish with the number 6 written on a label with marker.
  • Consider using plastic wrap to keep multiple containers for a single dish together. Make sure we can still see the item label through the plastic wrap.

Picture of 3 containers stacked on each other with a layer of plastic wrap wrapped around all of them, holding them together as one.

When all of your 'M' orders don't fit in one delivery bag

If you need more than 1 bag to fit all of your multi items, please split your items up according to the hub ID on the dish label. The hub ID is displayed in a circle in the bottom right corner of each label.

Picture of a dish label, showing a black circle that says "SB" in the bottom right corner.


How to pack orders for door-to-door pick up

As a shef, you are responsible for ensuring your food reaches the customer at a safe temperature (between 33°F and 41°F). For this reason, we recommend using insulated bags to package your orders, packed with frozen-solid water bottles or ice packs as needed.

You will package each order in it's own delivery bag. There will be a delivery driver for each separate order. Your customer's name appears on each label, so make sure all your labels match the customer's name for each bag and that you are handing the delivery driver the correct customer's order when they show up.

Reminder: Make sure that you have the correct supplies for your upcoming delivery day. Read more about getting your supplies in this article.

  1. Prepare and cool your food for the upcoming delivery day.

  2. Print your order labels for the upcoming delivery day.

  3. Package your food into the appropriate food containers. Fill each container 95% to the top, and seal it tightly and securely! Under-filling containers could disappoint your customers, while over-filling containers could result in food spilling during delivery.

  4. Attach dish labels to each of your food containers, and arrange by customer name/order.

  5. Place all food containers neatly inside each delivery bag. Double-check that you have included all items for the order before sealing the bag.

  6. Include frozen water bottles or ice packs as necessary to ensure food safety. Baked goods that do not require refrigeration for safety (e.g. bread items) should still be cooled down to room temperature for delivery.

  7. We encourage you to include a handwritten thank you note (examples at the end of this article). It makes a wonderful customer experience even better!

  8. Label the outside of the bag with two labels: the customer name/address and the customer order information/items list. Stick these labels neatly on the bag for the delivery driver.

  9. For larger orders, please repeat all steps above for each delivery bag.

Example of great packaging for door-to-door delivery Shef orders

These pictures are of an order prepared and packed by shef Renuka in Portland, Oregon. Everything was packed in a thermal bag to maintain a safe food temperature. The food containers were packed neatly, filled to 95% capacity, and topped with lime and cilantro for attractive presentation - a great first impression for customers!

Example Direct Delivery Packaging 2.jpg
The same order with the lids removed from the food containers, showing that each dish is still garnished with lime and cilantro. It looks beautiful and delicious, even though it's in a plastic to go container.


Tips for making a great first impression with new customers

  • The most important thing is to take your time and avoid rushing. Please organize and plan your cooking, cooling, labeling, packaging, and delivery to give yourself enough time for each one.

  • Fill your food containers to approximately 95% capacity. Underfilling containers may disappoint your customers while overfilling them might result in food spoilage.

  • Label your food containers and order your bags neatly & professionally to build trust with your customers.

  • You can include a complimentary dessert, side, or snack sample for your first-time customers for a nice surprise. This is optional and highly dependent on if you can manage it with the current order volume.

  • Include a handwritten or printed note to customers thanking them for ordering from your menu. You can also request that they leave a review and give you feedback. Even a very short note is fine! Customers will still be excited to receive your message, it adds a great personal touch that most people aren't used to getting as part of a food order, showing that they are supporting a real, local cook.

You can read some examples of notes shefs may write to customers below. If you want to download and print some Shef-branded templates to use for your customer notes, you can find them here. If you decide to type your notes and then print them out, we recommend still handwriting your signature at the end of the note.

The notecard reads: "Hi Claire, Thank you so much for ordering my food today! I am so excited to share my love and passion for food with you. I am originally from Mexico and moved to the US last year. I really hope to bring a piece of my culture to your dinner table! Please enjoy! :) -Shef Emma

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