One of the more interesting aspects of the pizza business is that pizza is round, the boxes are square and the pizza is cut into triangles or squares.
Pizza is round because it’s easier to make a round pizza than a square pizza; it’s also easier to make a round cake and round cookies. Pizza and cakes are cut into triangles because the easiest way to divide a circle in equal parts is via cutting the pieces into a triangle.
What about the box? Surely, there is no logical reason for why a pizza box has to be square. Right? Wrong. Pizza boxes are square because they’re cheaper to manufacture and ship. Round boxes are much more challenging to manufacture and ship. What do you think you stack higher, square boxes or round boxes? Square boxes. What do you see in every pizza restaurant? Stacks of square boxes.
Instead of asking why are pizza boxes square, a better question to ask is why haven’t pizza companies come up with an alternative to the pizza box? Pizza companies are in business to make money, and replacing pizza boxes with something else is easier said than done. Since the majority of pizza boxes end up in landfills, finding an alternative is worth it.
One person trying to change the pizza industry is Fyodor Ovchinnikov, founder of Dodo Brands. Dodo Brands was founded in Syktyvkar, Russia in 2011. Dodo operates 787 pizzerias in Russia and nearly 100 pizzerias in 15 other countries. I had the pleasure of working in Moscow in 2019, (Moscow and Russia are incredible) and I ate at a Dodo Pizza. It was tasty.
Fyodor is arguably one of the most technologically savvy and curious CEOs of any pizza company in existence. One of the things that piqued Fyodor’s curiosity was solving the riddle of the pizza box. Recently, Fyodor announced that Dodo has launched pizza delivery in a reusable round case in Dubai. The case is specially designed for pizza and made of dense food-grade plastic with slots for ventilation.
“Creating the case itself is the first step. Now comes the hard part. Developing business processes so that delivery in reusable packaging is convenient for customers and effective for business. There are a huge number of difficulties and details that must be worked out. But this is an interesting and inspiring task,” according to Fyodor. One pizza case can be reused 500 times. That means 500 less pizza boxes in landfills.
Fyodor understands that utilizing a reusable pizza box won’t be the most convenient for customers nor the most profitable for business, however, he is convinced there is no turning back. “We’ll openly share our results with the entire market because cooperation is more important than competition when it comes to this topic,” Fyodor stated.
I wish Fyodor the best.