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Thinking Inside the Box

Big Star used to have a 20-taco max for delivery orders, with each taco individually wrapped in parchment-lined foil and put in a plastic bag. That changed in the fall of 2015, when, after weeks of research and trial and error, the restaurant did away with the time-consuming packaging method in favor of a deceptively simple solution: a box. The change benefits both Big Star and you: The restaurant can now handle a higher volume of orders, and your food won’t arrive squished. So go on, order 75 tacos.

  1. Cooks line up multiple boxes, fill them, and pass them to the cashier, who shuts their attached lids and gives them to the delivery driver. The assembly line lets the restaurant power through orders faster.
  2. The box, made of plant fiber, is compostable.
  3. A slip of parchment paper with the restaurant’s logo lines the bottom of the box, preventing the tortillas from sticking to it.
  4. The 9-by-6-inch container (called a hoagie box in packaging parlance) holds up to four tacos snugly and mimics the dine-in experience. “Getting a platter of tacos is very Big Star,” says chef de cuisine Julie Warpinski.
  5. Big Star tried a white box but settled on a darker one. “When you’re dealing with all these salsas, you get finger smudges,” says Warpinski. “It just looks gross.”
  6. The foil used previously resulted in smushed tacos that steamed during the course of delivery. Leaving them unwrapped was a simple fix.

 

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