If I can’t put a takeout container in the toaster oven, chances are I’m not too thrilled with my takeout experience. Yes, I know most packages are supposed to keep food hot, eliminating the need to reheat it, but that can fail.
It’s not often the fault of the packaging. If I’m bringing home leftovers from lunch, taking leftover carryout to work the next day or grabbing something in the suburbs before my hour-long drive home to the city, never do I get upset the containers didn’t defy the laws of physics and keep my food warm for hours.
But as that stereotypical millennial, I’m always searching for ease and convenience—even in my dining. And that includes in the heating-of-leftovers-and-takeout process.
I’d like to say that I’m against polystyrene clamshells because they are bad for the environment. Just between us, the bigger downfall is that they are 10 times worse for the millennial who doesn’t want to dirty extra dishes by having to plate.
If a restaurant has the right takeout container, one that serves as a reheat-and-eat vessel, chances are high that I’ll keep it in mind for takeout sometime down the road. The prime example of this is DMK, a popular burger spot in Chicago (with a second location conveniently located a mile from our office). It’s a higher-end burger bar that wasn’t on my takeout radar until I didn’t finish my meal one day. While I continued to sit and gab with friends, my remnants were wrapped up in one of those brown, heavy cardboard containers that can go straight into the toaster oven or microwave without melting or causing an explosion of sorts. When I got home an hour later to a hungry fiancé, he simply tossed the box straight into the toaster and ate straight from the package.
Takeout and leftovers appeal for their convenience, so shouldn’t the experience at home be equally as simple? And to me, that means no plates needed.
As much as I like to deny those millennial stereotypes that drag my generation through the mud time and again, the desire for speed and convenience is true. DMK now is on our regular carryout cycle; we’re willing to pay that few extra dollars for that little bit of extra ease of reheating a burger.
And if you think it’s just me who prefers better packaging, guess again. Panera Bread Co. scrapped its original catering program because of lack of interest. One of the big changes that brought the program back to life was its packaging. The fact our office regularly awards its catering business to Panera says plenty.