Brown & Pratt Case Study: Scout & Scholar Brewing Company

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Branded Food Grade Waxed Paper for Restaurant Success

Case study

Scout & Scholar Brewing Company.

It was time for this brewery and restaurant to extend branding to their in-restaurant tray liners.

Case Study highlights

Reinforcing and Extending a Brand with Better Packaging.

01. Collaboration

Working toward the compromise between client vision and vendor realities.

02. Packaging Specs

Researching and sourcing the right material can be challenging.

03. Flexibility

Beware of overpromising on the project timeframe when there are unknowns.

04. Learning

When a project requires new learning, it’s an opportunity for business growth.


Client Relationship and Problem-Solving

When the Client’s Vision and Vendor Realities Don’t Match Up

First, the artwork is going to be printed onto the paper, then the paper is going to be waxed, and then it’s going to be cut off the roll.

As is often the case, client’s come to us with a vision, and have often already worked with a graphic designer to come up with artwork to fit that vision. This puts us, the vendor, in a tricky situation when the client’s vision isn’t something that can be fulfilled exactly the way they want it because of the realities of materials and industrial manufacturing processes. 

In this case, the client had the specific size of paper needed to line the trays on which food is served in their restaurant, such as 10×24 inches. They asked their graphic designer to make a specific branding design that would appear dead center in the middle of the sheet based on an assumption that each individual sheet could be printed to look exactly the same. However, this is not how the materials are dealt with. 

This kind of food-grade wax paper is dealt with in industrial rolls. First, the artwork is going to be printed onto the paper, then the paper is going to be waxed, and then it’s going to be cut off the roll. It’s impossible to guarantee a large single graphic design will end up in the exact center of a sheet because the cutting has a random starting point. That’s why with this kind of material and process you go with a random and/or repeating pattern so it doesn’t matter where it gets cut, like wallpaper. You’ll still have your branding there, just not in the same way the client had envisioned it. 

This is always a disappointing realization for the client. You just have to handle it gently, acknowledge their discomfort for having to adjust their vision, and at the same time highlight how well it’s still going to work for them and meet their needs. Complicating things, even more, is that the client in this scenario has likely already spent a good deal of money on the specific graphic design they had envisioned to fit perfectly centered on that tray liner. As the vendor, in this case, you can only hope the same design can be easily modified to fit the reality.

Packaging Specs

Branded Food Grade Paper Liners for Restaurant Serving Trays

Finding the Right Material Can Be a Serious Challenge

What this client needed was a branded paper liner for the trays they use to serve food in their restaurant. Sounds easy enough, right? Not so! If the paper is too flimsy, it becomes saturated, falls apart, and sticks to the food. We quickly turned our research efforts to consider an astounding number of food-grade wax papers to find the right one. 

Even the ones called “high-performance” weren’t tough enough to meet the client’s needs. It needed to be an “ultra-performance” food-grade wax paper. There were plenty of manufacturers, but the level of customization the client needed to be made the materials search even more challenging. It had to be a very specific width to fit their serving trays. And it also had to be something that could accept custom printing for it to have the desired branding impact. 

The search for the right material for this client was quite stressful. Many prospects had to be rejected. Many had papers that were simply too flimsy. The client wanted white paper, but many options only came in brown kraft paper. Others had adequate paperweight in the right color and could do the waxing but couldn’t do the printing. Yet others had the right paper color and weight and could do the printing but couldn’t the waxing. And then there were some that were perfect on all that but they couldn’t or wouldn’t do the cutting into sheets! And there’s also the cost-effectiveness angle to consider as well. It was a huge relief to finally find the right combination of all the necessary factors.

The level of customization the client needed to be made the materials search even more challenging. 

Restaurant  serving tray with food on table


Delivering on Your Promises

Keeping Things Moving Even When It’s Not a Rush Job

If this client’s needs had included having this branded food-grade waxed paper within a tight timeframe, this project probably would not have gone as well as it did. Finding the right vendor who had the right color and weight of paper, who could also do the printing, the waxing, and the cutting into sheets, and could do it at a price point that worked for the client was not something we could have accomplished in a rapid turnaround timeframe. Luckily, the client was not in a rush to start using the product. They had a plain (unbranded) alternative that was working and so didn’t mind waiting while they went on the hunt for the right product to meet their needs.

This isn’t always the case when working with clients who have urgent needs. In those cases, it’s of the utmost importance that you be careful not to overpromise, especially if you’re not sure how easy or hard it will be to line everything up.


Learning Leveraged into Repeat and New Business

Significant learning during one project can help grow the business

Close up of tray liner with Scout & Scholar logo

The most important aspect of this case for Brown & Pratt is the new learning and knowledge we gained in an area with which we were previously not familiar. It would have been all too easy for us to dip our toe in the water of food-grade papers, realize how hard it was going to be to source the right material to meet the client’s needs, and just tell them it wasn’t going to be something we could fulfill for them. But that’s not how we do business at Brown & Pratt, and it’s certainly not the way to grow our business.


We did the research, and it was hard work that took a lot of time and effort, but we found the right product and sourced it in a cost-effective manner. The client is pleased, which means we will likely get the opportunity to do additional projects with them, such as branded takeout bags and/or boxes. Just as important, we have learned a lot about food-grade papers and what’s involved in meeting the branded packaging needs of restaurants. This is new knowledge we can leverage into meeting the needs of similar clients when the opportunity arises. 

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