Title:
Method and holder for consuming hamburgers or the like
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and an associated holder for consuming a sandwich such as a hamburger. It involves the provision of a particular sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder comprising a bottom panel and at least one side section attached thereto and having a fold-back portion.



Inventors:
Correll, John D. (Canton, MI, US)
Application Number:
09/761391
Publication Date:
09/19/2002
Filing Date:
01/16/2001
Assignee:
CORRELL JOHN D.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/461
International Classes:
A23G9/32; A23G9/50; A47G21/00; (IPC1-7): B65B11/58
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DESAI, HEMANT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John D. Correll (Canton, MI, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A method of consuming a round-bun sandwich, said method comprising the steps of: providing a fold-back sandwich carton of semi-rigid foldable material and comprising a bottom panel and opposing side sections attached thereto, at least one of the side sections having a predetermined height and a fold-back portion, said fold-back portion having a predetermined height at least twenty five percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections; and placing said sandwich into said carton in a disposition wherein said at least one of the side sections faces at least one of a top surface and a bottom surface of said sandwich; whereby a sandwich-loaded fold-back carton is created.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the following step occurring prior to the placing step: wrapping said sandwich within a piece of paper-like wrap.

3. The method of claim 1 further comprising the following step occurring subsequent to the placing step: wrapping said sandwich-loaded fold-back carton within a piece of paper-like wrap, whereby a paper-wrapped sandwich-loaded fold-back carton is created.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising the following step occurring subsequent to the placing step: moving said sandwich-loaded fold-back carton into an automotive vehicle.

5. The method of claim 1 further comprising the following step occurring subsequent to the placing step: holding said sandwich-loaded fold-back carton in hand and taking a bite of said sandwich.

6. The method of claim 5 further comprising the following step occurring subsequent to the holding step: setting said sandwich-loaded fold-back carton in an upright disposition on a support surface, whereby an upright-sitting sandwich-loaded fold-back carton is created and said sandwich is disposed in a substantially vertical disposition free of contact with said support surface.

7. The method of claim 1 further comprising the following steps occurring subsequent to the placing step: folding said fold-back portion to a fold-back position, whereby a folded sandwich-loaded fold-back carton is created and a further portion of said sandwich is exposed for eating; and holding said folded sandwich-loaded fold-back carton in hand and taking a bite of said further portion of said sandwich.

8. The method of claim 7 further comprising the following steps occurring between the placing and folding steps: wrapping said sandwich-loaded fold-back carton within a piece of paper-like wrap; and removing said sandwich-loaded fold-back carton from said piece of paper-like wrap.

9. The method of claim 7 further comprising the following step occurring between the placing and folding steps: holding said sandwich-loaded fold-back carton in hand and taking a bite of said sandwich.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein: said sandwich is a hamburger having at least one characteristic selected from the group consisting of (a) a bun having a diameter of at least eleven centimeters, (b) a meat patty having a weight of at least eighty five grams, and (c) two meat patties.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein: at least fifty percent of said sandwich is disposed outside of said fold-back sandwich carton after said sandwich is placed into the carton.

12. The method of claim 1 wherein: said at least one of the side sections has a spring-back-reducing structure, whereby when the fold-back portion is folded to a fold-back position said fold-back portion tends to stay in that position.

13. The method of claim 1 wherein: said semi-rigid foldable material is paperboard.

14. The method of claim 1 wherein: said fold-back sandwich carton further comprises opposing end panels attached to said bottom panel, each of the end panels being disposed at an obtuse angle to said bottom panel.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein: each of the end panels has a predetermined height less than seventy percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections.

16. A method of consuming a sandwich, said method comprising the step of: providing a sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder enclosed within a piece of paper-like wrap, said sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder being of semi-rigid foldable material and containing a round-bun sandwich and comprising a bottom panel and opposing side sections attached thereto, at least one of the side sections facing at least one of a top surface and a bottom surface of said sandwich and having a predetermined height and a fold-back portion, said fold-back portion having a predetermined height at least twenty five percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections; whereby a person can (a) open the piece of paper-like wrap to expose the sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder, (b) consume at least a portion of the sandwich held within the sandwich-holder by holding the sandwich-holder in hand and taking bites of the sandwich, and (c) fold said fold-back portion to a fold-back position to expose an additional substantial portion of said sandwich for further consumption.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein: said semi-rigid foldable material is paperboard; both of said opposing side sections have a fold-back portion having a predetermined height at least twenty five percent as long as the predetermined height of the respective side section; said sandwich-holder further comprises opposing end panels attached to said bottom panel and disposed at an obtuse angle thereto, each of the end panels having a predetermined height less than seventy percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein: said at least one of the side sections has a spring-back-reducing structure, whereby when the fold-back portion is folded to said fold-back position said fold-back portion tends to stay in that position.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein: the sandwich held within the sandwich-holder is a hamburger having at least one characteristic selected from the group consisting of (a) a bun having a diameter of at least eleven centimeters, (b) a meat patty having a weight of at least eighty five grams, and (c) two meat patties.

20. The method of claim 17 further comprising the following step occurring subsequent to the providing step: moving said sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder enclosed within a piece of paper-like wrap into an automotive vehicle.

21. A method of consuming a hamburger, said method comprising the step of: providing a hamburger-loaded fold-back hamburger-holder of semi-rigid foldable material and containing a hamburger and comprising a bottom panel and opposing side sections attached thereto, at least one of the side sections facing at least one of a top surface and a bottom surface of said hamburger and having a predetermined height and a fold-back portion, said fold-back portion having a predetermined height at least twenty five percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections; whereby a person can consume at least a portion of said hamburger by holding said hamburger-holder in hand and taking bites of the hamburger and then fold said fold-back portion to a fold-back position to expose an additional substantial portion of said hamburger for further consumption.

22. The method of claim 21 wherein: the predetermined height of said fold-back portion is at least forty percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections.

23. The method of claim 21 wherein: said at least one of the side sections has a spring-back-reducing structure, whereby when the fold-back portion is folded to said fold-back position said fold-back portion tends to stay in that position.

24. The method of claim 21 wherein: said hamburger-holder further comprises opposing end panels attached to said bottom panel, each of the end panels being disposed at an obtuse angle to said bottom panel and having a predetermined height less than seventy percent of the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections.

25. The method of claim 24 wherein: said hamburger has at least one characteristic selected from the group consisting of (a) a bun having a diameter of at least eleven centimeters, (b) a meat patty having a weight of at least eighty five grams, and (c) two meat patties.

26. The method of claim 25 further comprising the following step occurring subsequent to the providing step: wrapping said hamburger-loaded fold-back hamburger-holder within a piece of paper-like wrap, whereby a paper-wrapped hamburger-loaded fold-back hamburger-holder is created.

27. The method of claim 26 further comprising the following step occurring subsequent to the wrapping step: moving said paper-wrapped hamburger-loaded fold-back hamburger-holder into an automotive vehicle.

28. In combination, a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder of semi-rigid foldable material, said fold-back hamburger-holder comprising a bottom panel and opposing side sections attached thereto, at least one of the side sections facing at least one of a top surface and a bottom surface of said hamburger and having a predetermined height and a fold-back portion, said fold-back portion having a predetermined height at least twenty five percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections; whereby a person can consume said hamburger by holding said hamburger-holder and, after consuming a portion of said hamburger, can expose an additional substantial portion of the hamburger by folding the fold-back portion of said at least one of the side sections to a fold-back position.

29. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 28, wherein: said semi-rigid foldable material is paperboard.

30. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 28, wherein: said fold-back portion is disposed in said fold-back position.

31. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 28, wherein: said at least one of the side sections has a spring-back-reducing structure, whereby when the fold-back portion is folded to said fold-back position said fold-back portion tends to stay in that position.

32. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 28, wherein: said hamburger-holder further comprises opposing end panels attached to said bottom panel, each of the panels being disposed at an obtuse angle to said bottom panel.

33. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 28, wherein: said combination is enclosed within a piece of paper-like wrap.

34. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 28, wherein: said hamburger has at least one characteristic selected from the group consisting of (a) a bun having a diameter of at least eleven centimeters, (b) a meat patty having a weight of at least eighty five grams, and (c) two meat patties.

35. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 34, wherein: both of said opposing side sections have a fold-back portion having a predetermined height at least twenty five percent as long as the predetermined height of the respective side section; said hamburger-holder further comprises opposing end panels attached to said bottom panel, each of the panels being disposed at an obtuse angle to said bottom panel and having a predetermined height less than seventy percent as long as the predetermined height of said at least one of the side sections; at least thirty percent of said hamburger is disposed outside of said hamburger-holder; and said combination is enclosed within a piece of paper-like wrap.

36. The combination of a hamburger at least partially contained within a fold-back hamburger-holder as defined in claim 35, wherein: said at least one of the side sections has a spring-back-reducing structure.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to packaging and holders for sandwiches such as hamburgers or the like.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

[0002] Each year the restaurant industry sells millions of sandwiches, particularly round-bun sandwiches such as hamburgers, wrapped for carry-away and drive-away consumption. The eating enjoyment of these sandwiches is, in large part, determined by how “handle-able” the product is while being consumed. Large-type sandwiches, such as Burger King's Whopper hamburger, McDonald's Big Mac hamburger and Quarter-pounder hamburger, and Wendy's Single and Double hamburgers, tend to fall apart while being eaten. So providing a means for making sandwiches easier-to-handle while being eaten would be a priority of certain restaurant companies.

[0003] Three conventional forms of packaging are used for sandwiches: (1) a paper-like wrap made of paper, foil, or plastic film, (2) a clamshell carton made either of paperboard or of Styrofoam-type material, and (3) an open-ended carton made of paperboard.

[0004] Three respective consumption methods currently apply to those three forms of packaging. The first method involves (a) wrapping the sandwich in a piece of paper-like wrap, (b) moving the wrapped sandwich to a place of consumption, such as an automotive vehicle, dining area, or residence, (c) opening the wrap and exposing the sandwich or removing the wrap altogether, (d) holding the sandwich in hand and taking one or more bites of it, and (e) between bites, setting the sandwich in a horizontal disposition on a support surface. This method is used with most conventional hamburgers and also with Burger King's Whopper hamburger and Wendy's Single and Double hamburgers. Even when the sandwich is left in the partially-opened wrap during consumption, the consumption process is still exceedingly messy and inconvenient, particularly when eating the sandwich while driving an automotive vehicle. The paper-like wrap is insufficient to hold the layers of the sandwich from sliding apart and to keep ingredients from falling out of the sandwich and onto one's lap. This is especially the case when eating large-type hamburgers such as those with a 12 centimeter (five inch) diameter bun and/or a 110 gram (four ounce) meat patty and/or two meat patties.

[0005] The second method involves (a) placing the sandwich into a clamshell-type carton, (b) moving the packaged sandwich to a place of consumption, (c) opening the carton and removing the sandwich, (d) holding the sandwich in hand and taking one or more bites of it, and (e) between bites, setting the sandwich in a horizontal disposition on a support surface or back into the carton. This method is used with McDonald's Big Mac hamburger.

[0006] The third method involves (a) placing the sandwich into a carton having an open top, (b) moving the sandwich to a place of consumption, (c) removing the sandwich from the carton, (d) holding the sandwich in hand and taking one or more bites of it, and (e) between bites, setting the sandwich in a horizontal disposition on a support surface. This method is used with White Castle's hamburgers.

[0007] All three methods hold the sandwich together during transport. However, none provide any assistance during eating. Specifically, after the wrap has been opened, or the sandwich has been removed from the carton, there's nothing to keep the sandwich from falling apart while being held in hand and being bitten into, particularly while being held in one hand when driving an automotive vehicle.

[0008] In addition to these three conventional consumption methods, the prior art contain other sandwich-holding devices and consumption methods. They include those disclosed in Siemek U.S. Pat. No. 4,511,039 (Hamburger Holder) granted Apr. 16, 1985; Palffy U.S. Pat. No. 4,641,752 (Holder for Hamburgers and the Like) granted Feb. 10, 1987; and Levy et al. U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,479 (Hamburger Holder) granted Jun. 26, 1990. Each method has one or more drawbacks.

[0009] The method and holder disclosed by Siemek involves placing a hamburger into a hingedly movable jaw-like holder made of semi-rigid plastic. A portion of the hamburger extends beyond the end of the jaws. Siemek states that the device could also be constructed of thin cardboard; however, doing so would require an awkward costly manufacturing process, if it could be accomplished at all. Further, due to the unusual shape of the holding device, the combination of hamburger and holder would likely be hard to wrap in paper for carry-away or drive-away consumption.

[0010] The method and holder disclosed by Palffy involves placing a hamburger into a paperboard holder constructed of a plurality of vertical side panels joined along a common bottom edge. Prior to placing the hamburger into the holder a movable bottom panel is inserted. This holds the carton open and also serves as a support for the hamburger. To move the hamburger upward (as it's being consumed) the movable bottom panel is forced upward by squeezing together the sides of the carton. This is a complicated method requiring multiple components and considerable complicated handling.

[0011] The method and holder disclosed by Levy et al. involves placing a hamburger into a pair of hollow semi-cylindrical disc-shaped receptacles made of plastic or metal. One of the receptacles has a pair of opposing centrally-disposed pins which hold the hamburger in place, much like a wheel axle. For consumption, the receptacle without the pins is removed, exposing (half of) the hamburger in the remaining receptacle. During eating the hamburger is rotated on the axis provided by the pins. This method appears to be economically and operationally unfeasible for a fast-food restaurant company.

[0012] So, there has remained a problem of how to handle and consume a drive-away or carry-away sandwich such as a hamburger, particularly when being consumed while driving an automotive vehicle. This problem has not been solved by the prior art but is solved by my invention. By solving this problem, restaurant companies can sell a sandwich, and customers can enjoy a sandwich, with less mess and greater convenience.

[0013] In conclusion, it would be highly desirable to provide a method that overcomes the above-described problems and disadvantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] My invention is a method and an associated sandwich-holder for consuming a sandwich. It involves the provision of a particular sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder, which is practiced by placing a sandwich into a fold-back sandwich-holder comprising a bottom panel and at least one side section attached thereto and having a fold-back portion. A typical fold-back sandwich-holder is made of semi-rigid foldable material such as paperboard. A typical sandwich used with the method and holder is a round-bun sandwich such as a hamburger.

[0015] Optional additional steps to the method include (a) wrapping or enclosing the sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder within a paper-like wrap, whereby a paper-wrapped sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder is created, (b) moving the sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder to an outlying place of consumption such as an automotive vehicle, (c) folding the fold-back portion of the side section to a fold-back position, (d) holding the sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder in hand and taking one or more bites of the sandwich, and (e) setting the sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder on a support surface in an upright-sitting position with the sandwich in a vertical disposition

[0016] My invention typically would be used for packaging and consuming hamburgers but could be used for consuming certain other types of sandwiches, as well.

[0017] A complete understanding of the invention can be obtained from the detailed description that follows.

OBJECT AND ADVANTAGE

[0018] The main object of my invention is enhancement in the portability, handle-ability, and overall convenience in consuming sandwiches, particularly while driving an automotive vehicle.

[0019] The advantage of my invention is a neater, cleaner, less hassle-filled eating experience for sandwich consumers.

[0020] Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from consideration of the following detailed description, related drawings, and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a blank for making a preferred embodiment of the sandwich-holder involved in the invention.

[0022] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the sandwich-holder.

[0023] FIG. 3 is an end elevation view of the sandwich-holder loaded with a round-bun sandwich.

[0024] FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the sandwich-holder loaded with the sandwich.

[0025] FIG. 5 is an end view of a handheld sandwich-holder with the sandwich partially consumed and with the fold-back portions in fold-back position.

LIST OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

[0026] Between drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts. 1

10blank for making the preferred fold-back
sandwich-holder
12fold-back sandwich-holder (a.k.a. fold-back
sandwich carton, fold-back hamburger-holder)
14sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder
16folded sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-
holder
20bottom panel
22side section
24base portion of side section
26fold-back portion of side section
28line indicating position of fold (also
indicates spring-back-reducing structure)
32height of side section
34height of fold-back portion
40end panel
42height of end panel
50corner flap
62obtuse angle
64obtuse angle
70sandwich
72top surface of sandwich
74bottom surface of sandwich
80paper-like wrap

Description of a Preferred Embodiment of the Sandwich-holder

[0027] The inventive method involves using a particular type of inventive sandwich-holder. A preferred embodiment of that holder will now be described.

[0028] As used herein, a “sandwich-holder” is defined as a rigid or semi-rigid device designed or used for holding a sandwich. A piece of paper, foil, or plastic film does not constitute a sandwich-holder. A bag also does not constitute a sandwich-holder. Sandwich-holders can assume various configurations and be made of various semi-rigid foldable materials such as paperboard and Styrofoam. For the preferred embodiment of the method, the recommended sandwich-holder is a paperboard carton of a structure described in the discussion which follows. Since a hamburger is a form of sandwich, a hamburger-holder would be considered to be a form of sandwich-holder.

[0029] Referring now to the drawings, there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the sandwich-holder in the format of a one-piece paperboard blank and, correspondingly, in the format of a sandwich-holder, or carton, created from the blank. The intended use for the embodiment is as a holder for round-bun sandwiches such as hamburgers. However, it will be appreciated, as the description proceeds, that my invention may be realized in different embodiments and may be used in other applications.

[0030] FIG. 1 shows a blank 10 and FIG. 2 shows a sandwich-holder (or carton) 12 created from blank 10. Referenced components are labeled in FIG. 1; selected components are labeled in other Figures. Corresponding parts between drawings share a same reference numeral. It is noted that the invention is bilaterally symmetrical. Therefore, pairs of opposing like components are to be found, with one item of the pair on each side of the blank or carton. For simplicity of labeling, each component of the opposing pair will have the same reference numeral. Also, a pair may be indicated by a numeral on one side of the drawing only. Where this occurs, it is to be understood that the discussion also applies to the corresponding component on the other side, even though that component may not be numerically labeled.

[0031] Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the blank and corresponding carton has a bottom panel 20 and a pair of opposing side sections 22 each attached to bottom panel 20 at a fold line. Each side section 22 is comprised of a base portion 24 and a fold-back portion 26, the line of demarcation between the two portions being at line 28. During consumption of a sandwich, fold-back portion 26 is folded outwardly to a fold-back position (shown in FIG. 5). When portion 26 is folded to the fold-back position, a crease or “break” occurs in the vicinity of line 28. In addition to showing the point of demarcation between base portion 24 and fold-back portion 26, line 28 also represents a spring-back-reducing structure. In the embodiment this structure consists of multiple aligned slits in the board in the position of line 28. These slits reduce the spring-back that can occur with fold-back portion 26 after it's folded to the fold-back position.

[0032] Side section 22 has a predetermined height 32 and fold-back portion 26 has a predetermined height 34. The dimension lines depicting heights 32 and 34 are shown in the drawing of blank 10 (FIG. 1) but are omitted from the drawings of carton 12 (FIGS. 2-4). Regardless, it is to be assumed that heights 32 and 34 exist in the carton, as well. The length of height 34 is at least twenty five percent as long as the length of height 32. In the embodiment, height 34 happens to be fifty percent as long as height 32. This enables a substantial amount of additional sandwich to be exposed after the fold-back operation is performed (described in the next section).

[0033] A pair of opposing end panels 40 are attached to bottom panel 20 at fold lines. End panel 40 has a predetermined height 42 which is less than seventy percent as long as predetermined height 32. In the embodiment, height 42 happens to be forty percent as long as height 32.

[0034] Attached to each side section 22 are a pair of opposing corner flaps 50. In sandwich-holder 12 flaps 50 are glued to end panels 40.

[0035] In the carton, each side section 22 is disposed at an obtuse angle 62 to bottom panel 20 (FIG. 3) and each end panel 40 is disposed at an obtuse angle 64 to panel 20 (FIG. 4). Each of these angles happens to be 100 degrees in the embodiment. However, it's possible to make angle 64 substantially greater than that such as, for example, 110 degrees or more.

[0036] Within the drawing of blank 10 a fold line connecting component parts is depicted with a series of aligned long and short lines. Within the context of this invention a fold line can be created by a number of means such as, for example, by a crease or score in the board or by a series of aligned spaced slits in the board. In conclusion, as referred to herein a fold line is any line between two points on the blank or carton along which the board is intended to be folded when the blank is being erected into a carton or when the carton is being manipulated according to the disclosed method. The type of fold lines shown in the drawings are presently preferred but it will be appreciated that other methods known to those skilled in the art may be used.

Description of a Preferred Embodiment of the Method

[0037] This invention involves a method of consuming a sandwich, particularly a large, round-bun sandwich such as a larger-than-normal hamburger.

[0038] A preferred embodiment of the method comprises the following steps.

[0039] STEP A: Providing a sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder 14 containing a round-bun sandwich 70 (shown in FIGS. 3 and 4). In the claims this sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder is also referred to as a sandwich-loaded fold-back carton and as a hamburger-loaded fold-back hamburger-holder. Provision of sandwich-holder 14 is accomplished by placing sandwich 70 into fold-back sandwich-holder 12. Sandwich 70 has top and bottom surfaces 72 and 74, respectively. Best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, each side section 22 faces one of top and bottom surfaces 72/74. In the preferred embodiment of the method, sandwich 70 is a hamburger. In particular it's a larger-than-normal hamburger that has (a) a bun that's at least eleven centimeters in diameter, and/or (b) a meat patty having a weight of at least eighty five grams, and/or (c) two meat patties stacked one above the other, either directly or with one or more components between them. After being placed into sandwich-holder 12, at least fifty percent of sandwich 70 is disposed outside of the holder.

[0040] STEP B: Wrapping sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder 14 within a piece of paper-like wrap, whereby a paper-wrapped sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder is created. Paper would likely be the most common form of wrap, however a wrap made of foil or plastic could be used, as well.

[0041] STEP C: Moving the paper-wrapped sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder to a place of consumption, such as an automotive vehicle, a dining area, or a residence.

[0042] STEP D: Opening the piece of paper-like wrap and exposing sandwich 70.

[0043] STEP E: Holding sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder 14 in hand and taking one or more bites of sandwich 70. This may occur in any of the previously-mentioned places of consumption. Particularly it may occur while driving an automotive vehicle. Providing a “clean,” easy way to heat a hamburger while driving is a main object of the method.

[0044] STEP F: Folding fold-back portion 26 to a fold-back position (shown in FIG. 5), whereby a folded sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder 16 is created. The purpose of folding fold-back portion 26 to the fold-back position is to expose a further portion of sandwich 70 for eating. In the embodiment, spring-back-reducing structure 28 helps portion 26 maintain that position.

[0045] STEP G: Holding folded sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder 16 in hand and taking one or more bites of the newly-exposed portion of sandwich 70 (shown in FIG. 5).

[0046] STEP H: Setting the sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder in an upright disposition on a support surface 80 (see FIG. 3), whereby an upright-sitting sandwich-loaded sandwich-holder is created and the sandwich is disposed in a substantially vertical disposition, thereby insuring that the exposed portion of the sandwich does not contact the support surface which may be too dirty for safe food contact. To perform this step the sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder would likely be removed from the paper-like wrap, although not necessarily. FIGS. 3 and 4 show a full sandwich rather than a partially-eaten one and with a sandwich-holder that has not yet had the fold-back portions folded to a fold-back position. It is noted that the same upright disposition would apply even if the sandwich were partially eaten and even if the fold-back portions were folded back.

[0047] Even though multiple steps are described above, the essence of the method is Step A: Providing a sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder, a process accomplished by the sub-steps of providing a fold-back sandwich-holder and then placing a round-bun sandwich into it.

Variations of the Method

[0048] The foregoing method describes a preferred embodiment, but other configurations of the method are possible. Examples of some common possible variations are as follows.

[0049] Variation 1: The wrapping step could be performed prior to the providing step, in which case sandwich 70 would be wrapped in a paper-like wrap and then the wrapped sandwich would be placed into fold-back sandwich carton 12.

[0050] Variation 2: In the opening step, in which the paper-like wrap is opened to expose a portion of the sandwich for eating, sandwich-loaded fold-back carton 14 either could be completely removed from the paper-like wrap or could be left in the opened wrap. If left in the opened wrap, the sandwich-loaded fold-back carton could be held with the opened wrap wrapped around the base portion of the carton. Numeral 80 in FIG. 5 indicates a cut-away portion of a paper-like wrap wrapped around the base portion of the carton.

Definition of Key Terms

[0051] Several key terms and concepts are used in describing this invention. Following is a list of specific definitions as used herein.

[0052] A “sandwich” is a handheld food comprising a filler component held within a bread component. The most common sandwich is the hamburger. Other types include the fish sandwich, chicken sandwich, sliced-meat sandwich, and submarine-type sandwich. Sandwiches can be grouped into two types: rod-shaped and non-rod-shaped. A rod-shaped sandwich is one in which the bread component has an elongated shape resembling a rod. Examples would be the hot dog and the submarine-type sandwich (a.k.a. hero, hoagie, po-boy) and the like. A non-rod-shaped sandwich would be every other type of sandwich. Non-rod-shaped sandwiches include at least two types: round-bun sandwiches and conventional sandwiches.

[0053] A “round-bun sandwich” is any sandwich made with a substantially circular bun, as viewed from above. Examples of round-bun sandwiches include the standard hamburger, fish sandwich, chicken sandwich, and sliced-meat sandwich such as the Arby's roast beef sandwich. Typical bread components used in a round-bun sandwich include the conventional hamburger bun and the Kaiser-type roll. A “conventional sandwich” is any sandwich made with two pieces of bread sliced from a larger loaf. A “larger-than-normal hamburger” is a hamburger that has (a) a bun that's at least eleven centimeters in diameter, and/or (b) a meat patty having a weight of at least eighty five grams, and/or (c) two meat patties stacked one above the other, either directly or with one or more components between them.

[0054] A “sandwich-holder” is a rigid or semi-rigid device designed or used for holding a sandwich. Accordingly, any carton made of semi-rigid foldable material and designed or used for holding a sandwich is a form of sandwich-holder. If the type of sandwich that the device or carton holds happens to be a hamburger, the sandwich-holder could be more specifically referred to as a “hamburger-holder,” which also would be considered to be a form of sandwich-holder. A piece of paper-like wrap, such as a piece of paper, foil, or plastic film, is not considered to be a sandwich-holder. Also, a bag is not considered to be a sandwich-holder.

[0055] A “fold-back sandwich-holder” is a sandwich-holder having at least one side section having a fold-back portion.

[0056] A “sandwich-loaded sandwich-holder” is a sandwich-holder that is loaded with a sandwich.

[0057] A “sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder”is a fold-back sandwich-holder that is loaded with a sandwich.

[0058] A “folded sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder” is a sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder in which the fold-back portion has been folded to a fold-back position.

[0059] An “upright-sitting folded sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder” is a folded sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder that is sitting upright on a support surface (with the bottom panel of the sandwich-holder sitting on the support surface).

[0060] A “piece of paper-like wrap” is a sheet of thin material for wrapping. It would likely be made of paper, foil, plastic, or some combination thereof.

[0061] A “spring-back-reducing structure” is a configuration of single or multiple score(s), slit(s), slot(s), hole(s), puncture(s), and/or cut-out(s) that act to reduce the tendency for a fold-back portion of a sandwich-holder to move back to its original position after it has been folded to a fold-back position. In the embodiment, the spring-back-reducing structure comprises a series of aligned slits located along line 28.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE

[0062] I have disclosed a method and an associated holder for consuming a sandwich. It involves the provision of a particular sandwich-loaded fold-back sandwich-holder comprising a bottom panel and at least one side section attached thereto and having a fold-back portion.

[0063] The main object of my invention is enhancement of the portability, handle-ability, and overall convenience in consuming sandwiches, particularly while driving an automotive vehicle. The advantage of my invention is a neater, cleaner, less hassle-filled eating experience for sandwich consumers.

[0064] The illustrated method and sandwich-holder/carton represent the preferred embodiment; however, other steps and configurations are possible within the scope of the invention. For example, it's possible to use different panel configurations for the blank other than that configuration shown in the preferred embodiment.

[0065] The foregoing discussion has pertained mainly to consuming hamburgers. However, it should be realized that my invention could be used for other similarly-shaped sandwiches, as well. In conclusion, it is understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments but, on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims, which scope is to be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent structures and processes as is permitted under the law.