Types of Disposable Carryout Containers


Most restaurants, grocery stores and other foodservice institutions that offer takeout options supply their guests with convenient, disposable carryout containers. When determining the type of disposable carryout containers to purchase for your establishment, details like material composition, size and design are a few of the important factors to consider. Look below for guidelines on the different types of disposable carryout containers you can choose.

Choose The Right Material

take out containers
One of the most important decisions you can make regarding carryout containers is the material composition. Aluminum, Styrofoam, plastic and bioplastic are some of the most common material types used for carryout containers. Based on insulating properties, durability and cost, each have their own pros and cons. Learn more

Find An Appropriate Size

Styrofoam containers
When choosing carryout containers to order for your foodservice institution, it pays to be cognizant of the size or amount of food that will actually be going into the containers. For example, if your business capitalizes in carryout hot dog sales, order hinged lid snack containers sized specifically for hot dogs. Ordering containers that are too large for your small snack items may lose money for your establishment.

Decide On A Design

food containers
Carryout container shapes, or designs, range from round single compartment containers to a jumbo, square three compartment containers. Choose a container design that matches your menu items. If your business serves take out items that can all be placed into one container, then a single compartment container is just fine. If your business serves full entrées with separate food items, such as meat and vegetables, a three compartment container will help keep foods from running together. It is a good idea to place soups and stews in deep, round or cylindrical containers resembling bowls so they are easier to eat from.

Remember The Lids

take out containers
Before purchasing a carryout container, determine how the container closes. With hinged or clamshell models, the lid is attached directly to the container with a hinge on one side. This type of container closes either by snapping the top and bottom together or by fitting a tab into a slot. Sometimes, however, the lids are sold separately, as with aluminum or plastic containers. Plastic containers paired with plastic lids provide just about the tightest seal you can find, keeping foods fresher longer and minimizing contaminants.

Make Storage Space

plastic cups and pizza boxes
Since carryout containers increase your physical inventory, it is important to have an idea of how the containers will stack or nest within your available space. Thin containers will usually nest, or settle within one another, better than thicker, heavy-duty containers. Thin plastics, bioplastics and aluminum containers are fairly thin and take up less space than Styrofoam containers. Styrofoam, however, is much lighter than these other materials and may be safely stored out of the way on higher shelves. As for lids, foil board lids that fit aluminum containers are so flat that they take up less space than plastic lids. Either way, careful planning in your back-of-the-house area can accommodate just about anything you decide to order.


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