In recent years, quick-service restaurants have been taking significant strides towards sustainability. From reducing energy consumption and waste to adopting more sustainable packaging materials, quick-service restaurants are finding innovative ways to reduce their environmental impact. 

Quick-service restaurants are also known for their fast-paced environment where speed and efficiency are essential to success. One area where quick-service restaurants can benefit from increased efficiency is in their labeling processes. This is where linerless labels come in. They offer a range of benefits that can help you save time and money while improving your operations. 

Prior to the pandemic, most of the to-go business was from the drive-thru experience. When the pandemic hit, there was an immediate surge in the online, third-party delivery, and curb side pickup experience. Each of these touchpoints requires a label that is both repositionable and can withstand various temperatures and other conditions. 

Direct thermal (DT) linerless labels are self-adhesive labels without release liner. Instead, you directly apply the label to the product or packaging, eliminating the need for a release liner. This not only saves material costs but also reduces waste, making linerless labels a more sustainable option for businesses.

Linerless labels are being used more in quick-service restaurants due to their numerous benefits that range from cost savings to operational efficiency, as well as their lower carbon footprint.


In an industry where speed and efficiency are key, linerless labels are a game changer. The printer dispenses the label and then you simply apply it directly to the product, making the labeling process faster and more efficient.

For instance, in busy restaurants or bars, linerless labels enable staff to print and apply labels to products quickly and easily, saving valuable time and resources. 

Linerless labels can also be printed on-demand, which means you can produce only the labels you need, reducing waste and lowering costs. With on-demand printing, you can respond quickly to changes in menu items or promotions, ensuring that your labels are always up-to-date and accurate. 

Furthermore, linerless labels offer increased flexibility in terms of label size and design. This means quick-service restaurants can create labels of any size and shape, allowing them to label a wide variety of products, from small condiment cups to larger food containers. 

Cost Savings

In addition to efficiency, linerless labels also offer significant cost savings for quick-service restaurants. When compared to standard linered material, you can fit more linerless media on a roll in the same diameter size, which means businesses need to order and store fewer rolls, thereby saving on transportation and storage costs.

Moreover, linerless labels offer the added benefit of reducing labeling errors, which reduces food waste and increases customer satisfaction. You can customize the labels to contain critical information such as customer information and order customization, reducing the risk of unhappy customers and associated costs.

Linerless labels can also help you to reduce your labor costs. With traditional labels, employees need to spend time removing the backing paper and applying the label to the product. This can be a time-consuming process, especially in a busy quick-service restaurant environment. With linerless labels, this step is eliminated, which can help to reduce the time and labor required for labeling. 

Overall, linerless labels provide a cost-effective labeling solution that can help you streamline your operations, reduce waste, and increase efficiency, ultimately leading to significant cost savings.


Another advantage of using DT linerless labels is the sustainability impact. Consumers increasingly seek more sustainable products and businesses that commit to sustainability. 

According to the 2022 National Restaurant Association State of the Industry Report, among the top 10 food and menu trends, sustainable, reusable, and recyclable packaging ranked first. The survey also found that “70 percent of millennials and 72 percent of Gen Z adults said they’d be willing to pay extra for to-go orders to cover the cost of upgraded packaging.” 

The smaller size and weight of linerless labels means they require less storage and transportation space, reducing the carbon emissions associated with shipping and logistics. Additionally, linerless labels can be printed on-demand, eliminating the need for pre-printing and storage of large quantities of labels, which can further reduce transportation emissions.

Linerless labels are also easier to recycle than traditional labels. Because they do not have a liner, they can be recycled with less contamination and less effort. This makes them a more attractive option for quick-service restaurants that prioritize recycling and want to minimize their environmental impact. 

By adopting linerless labels, you can demonstrate your commitment to sustainable practices, reduce waste, use less raw materials, and promote a more sustainable image and lower carbon footprint.

Food Safety

In addition to their sustainability benefits, linerless labels can also contribute to food safety. Some traditional labels can easily become detached from packaging, potentially leading to mix-ups, or mislabeling of products. This can be easily problematic for quick-service restaurants that rely on quick and accurate labeling of food items. Linerless labels, however, are more likely to stay firmly attached to packaging, reducing the risk of mistakes, and improving food safety. 

In addition to reducing the risk of mix-ups or mislabeling of products, linerless labels can also contribute to overall food safety by providing critical information to consumers. This includes allergen information, ingredients, and nutritional information, all of which can help customers make informed choices about the food they are consuming. 

By providing this information clearly and accurately, you can reduce the risk of allergic reactions and other health issues, improving the safety of your products. 


To summarize, linerless labels offer a range of benefits for quick-service restaurants that go beyond just efficiency and cost savings. They also promote sustainability, food safety, and customer satisfaction, which are all important considerations for quick-service restaurants in today’s competitive marketplace. 

By adopting linerless labels, you can reduce waste, minimize your environmental impact, and demonstrate your commitment to sustainable practices, which is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Linerless labels can also improve your operations by increasing efficiency, reducing labor costs, and minimizing labeling errors, which can lead to food waste and customer dissatisfaction. 

In short, linerless labels are a smart investment for quick-service restaurants looking to improve their operations while reducing their environmental impact and enhancing their reputation with customers who prioritize sustainability. 

As the trend towards sustainable practices continues to grow in the food industry, linerless labels are a key tool that you can use to stay ahead of the curve and meet the changing expectations of your customers. 


Brinder Gill is the Director of Paper Laminates for UPM Raflatac in the Americas. He leads the strategy and execution for paper laminate label materials and products in North and South America. Prior to this position, Gill was UPM Raflatac’s area sales director for the east region of the Americas.

Outside Insights, Story, Sustainability