Foam cups: what size?

We currently use 16oz transluscent plastic cups for dine in and take out. We want to cut our costs in half and go to foam. Any advice on sizing? We do not have self-service fountain, only the table server has access. We want to have one size cup that might even be useful for other stuff some day.

Plastic took up far less space in storage as well as garbage, so I am not looking for a 30oz or anything. I am envisioning a 20 oz or a 16 oz. 20 means fewer server trips for refills . . . 16 means less expense on the cups/lids. 20 could be used to sell large volumes of sauces and/or soups.

We may end up with hard re-usable plastic at some point, but for now are still going with disposables. Anyone adamant about what they think I should use?

I use a 12,16, and 20oz ( small med large ). In my honest opinion foam looks as cheap as it is. Have you priced paper cups? Anything cold goes in them well. (dressings,soda,Italian ices, sauces) as long as it’s not hot it holds. Ps don’t use it for oil and vinager. As far as cups for tables that stay, coke or budweiser should be able to get you something free and nice. Or any of the major beverage company for that matter. I got a bunch sitting in my basement. I’ll send em to you if you want them. If your just going to have on size and you offer free refills either 16 or 20 will do.

We are looking into the pastic tumblers from a distributor of one of our products.

Paper cups are coming up more expensive than dispoable plastic in the two places I have checked. Go figure. I am still looking around. Foam is our best $$$ investment right now, and I really, really wanna get that cost down somehow. I guess I could jack the drink prices to try to recpver the costs . . . but then I am still leaving $$ on the table if I can get that same price with a cheaper cup :frowning:

Can you tell this cup dealeeo is just not my thing?

I just did an unscientific survey for you. I asked 15 people what their preference was plastic, paper or foam for drinking a cold beverage. Down to the very last one they said plastic. Some were very strongly against the foam while others were less vocal about it.

Some of the comments:
Foam gives me the heebeegeebees
Foam breaks too easily
Foam is ok for hot but not cold.

There are some places that I just will not cut corners to save a nickle. This is one of them.

When you look at raw costs, foam wins. However, if you buy the real cup, soap and water is less than everything else.
No shelf space used vs labor to wash hard platic cups.
Down the road, you can always get a foam squat cup for your delicious soups or cold desserts.

Nick. Along the same lines as “bubba”.
We used to have real glasses but too many kept getting broken, mainly in the kitchen / washing area.
We switched to acrylic (10oz - we don’t have as big as consumption as you guys) for dine in. They don’t break, wash up well and work out cost effective vs disposable. You break even in cost after about 12 useages vs disposables. We paid $1.90 for each glasses but if we bought 50 at a time it would have been abou 15% cheaper. Our costs for everything is more expensive here than yours so I would imagine you would get them for just over a buck.
Take in the cost of disposable paper, platic or foam, the refuse disposal, storage space etc I think the re-usable acrylic are the way to go. They look good, don’t mark, can be dropped without chipping or breaking and are acceptable by our customers. Ours are plain but you can get them frosted, dimpled etc to suit your needs.
We went with 10oz as we don’t have a fountain or re-fills, only selling bottles. Also if a family of 5 wants a glass each they have to buy 2 bottles which kicks up the sales $$.
Just a thought.


We use a 20oz. Gibraltar style Libby in house and offer a 20 oz foam for carry-outs. But since the overwhelming majority of foams go for staff consumption we’re exploring buying each person ONE cheap-o travel mug style set up. If they lose it…they’re just out of luck.

The cost for 20 oz foams from SAMS though is only .032 cents each…not that big of investment for us. I just hate the idea of tossing all that in the dumpster at the end of the day. BTW for what it’s worth, before I had my very own personal Pepsi fountain to suck dry, I used to go past 3 gas stations to get to the one in our little town that DID use a stryo cup precisely because it kept the pop colder longer than the plastic ones. I find the gas station plastic cheapos give off an “oily” taste/smell to the cup, but…I’m admittedly a tad off anyway.

we do the acrylic 20 ounce for our dine in and we dropped down to 16oz foam, no complaints about the size and it saves a lot when the crew drinks it.

Have you asked your beverage distributer about supplying you with cups? When we first opened our Pepsi supplier furnished us with about 300 acrylic pepsi logo cups.

For dine in we use plastic pepsi cups (20 oz - have worked best for us) which they provided and provide once a year for free.

For carry out and delivery we use foam. I am surprised to hear all the negative about foam…we have never even given it a second thought. Keeps cold beverages cold and hot hot. On our to go sodas we have small and large. 16 and 32.


I experimented briefly (a couple of weeks) using ‘free’ cups from Coke for dine-in. I stopped using them after noticing that more than 75% asked for ‘to go’ cups when they finished their meal. Went back to providing regular foam cups for everything.

We’re currently using a 12 and 32 paper cup. We switched to foam for a brief period, but had some problems with them and moved back to paper.