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May 23, 2011 06:40 AM

Does anyone know how much paper takeout boxes cost vs. metal with plastic tops?

Not sure if this is the correct place for this, but I did not see anywhere better to post it.

Does anyone know how the price of the new paper takeout boxes compares to the old style metal ones with plastic tops? I really like the boxes because they keep the food secure (no leaking), easy to stack in the fridge, and easy to reheat in the microwave. Compare this to the metal ones which can leak, can't stack well (and are higher than the boxes) and cannot be microwaved, which means you need to find a plate to put the food in before heating it. And the boxes are recyclable and are much better for the environment. A very well known restaurant in my area (not a chain) still uses the metal containers. I am eating there this weekend and was going to mention the boxes to the owner and suggest that they switch. If I knew that they were cheaper than metal, I would have an even stronger argument. I also like the plastic containers with the snap on lids, which can actually be reused, but I have a feeling those are more expensive.

For those not familiar with these boxes, here is a place I found on Google (this is not an endorsement of them and this is not an ad,. I have nothing to do with them).


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  1. It depends on the local restaurant supply store/depot. A non-chain (and all business) is always looking at the bottom line.

    The ones you have a link to are much more expensive even compared to the plain paperboard boxes made from non-recycleables on the same website. The restaurants I have seen using those you link to are high end/have a much higher price point.

    The aluminum two piece you are speaking of, I re-use for cooking and re-heating items in the oven, instead of disposable aluminum foil. I also use those (and their recycleable lids) for carrying cupcakes, cookies, gifts, crafts and picnic items. I find that I get much more re-use from aluminum than cardboard.

    1. Depends upon the part of the country your in and where the restaurant is purchasing it's paper products.

      The aluminum pan and lid can actually be quite pricey. Not all paper containers are recyclable, particularly if they've been coated. I've purchased both styles of containers. The aluminum pan/plastic lid combo varies from about $.20 - $.65 depending upon size, the paper container is anywhere from $.20 - $.75 depending upon the size

      1. MisterBill2, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question. Variables include: geographic location of the restaurant, their dry goods supplier, size of order, do they do enough business to warrant a sizeable discount and a whole boatload of other questions.

        A small mom & pop in a rural location will pay a very different price - for the exact same product - than a large, bustling, big-city restaurant doing hundreds of covers daily. Sorry that I can't be more help. Perhaps simply suggesting your idea to the manager will suffice. Let him/her decide if it warrants a change. Have a nice meal this weekend.

        1. So I will give some more details. I am in suburban New York and the restaurant owner/chef I was planning to speak to about this has 4 restaurants ranging from small to 200+ seats. I was at a small restaurant on Saturday night and they used the boxes, which made me think about it again. The co-owner told me that he did not know the price comparison (his partner ordered them but it was because they were environmentally friendly). Among chains, I know that Capital Grille has switched over to paper.

          I will mention it to the owner of the place we're going to on Sunday and see if he has considered them.