Title:
Interlocking storage carton
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A food container includes an inner receptacle and an outer sleeve. The inner receptacle and the outer sleeve are slidably engaged to contain a food item within the container. The container has a locking mechanism that engages the inner receptacle with the outer sleeve to prevent the container from accidentally sliding open. The outer sleeve folds into a flat position so that the outer sleeve may be stored in a small space.



Inventors:
Tsern, Micah (Tustin, CA, US)
Mcdonough, Brian J. (Escondito, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/899396
Publication Date:
01/09/2003
Filing Date:
07/05/2001
Assignee:
TSERN MICAH
MCDONOUGH BRIAN J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/125.125, 229/906
International Classes:
B65D5/20; B65D5/38; (IPC1-7): B65D5/38
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060283925Folding boxDecember, 2006Specker
20010019062Straw attachable to drink lid or containerSeptember, 2001Kalagian
20060226209Collapsible-reusable-returnable-recyclable die cut, self locking corrugated cartonOctober, 2006Peniche et al.
20060108406CARTON WITH ARTICLE OPENINGMay, 2006Stewart et al.
20060283922Origami packetDecember, 2006Hurwitz
20100001049ENVELOPE FOR A CD AND A BLANK THEREOFJanuary, 2010Morton
20080223908Expanding filing box having a sorting function and facilitating a user placing and taking out filesSeptember, 2008Su
20080006681CARTON WITH CONFIGURABLE DISPENSERJanuary, 2008Holley Jr.
20080099541BLANK OF SHEET MATERIAL AND METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING A CONTAINER FROM THE BLANKMay, 2008Smith et al.
20090057383HEAVY DUTY HANDLE U-BOARDMarch, 2009Rometty et al.
20090001149ARTICLE STORAGE AND DISPLAY CONTAINERJanuary, 2009Odell



Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A container comprising: an inner receptacle having a bottom portion and at least one wall; and an outer sleeve having a top portion and a bottom portion, the outer sleeve being movable between a collapsed position in which the top portion and the bottom portion of the outer sleeve are in close proximity to one another and an assembled position in which the top portion and the bottom portion of the outer sleeve are positioned a distance apart from one another; the outer sleeve being sized and shaped to slide over the inner receptacle when the outer sleeve is in the assembled position.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein the inner receptacle has a generally triangular shape.

3. The container of claim 2, wherein the inner receptacle has a front wall, two side walls and a back wall.

4. The container of claim 3 additionally comprising a lip portion extending from the front wall of the inner receptacle.

5. The container of claim 1, wherein the outer sleeve has a right side wall and a left side wall, the right and left side walls each having a pleat.

6. The container of claim 5, wherein the outer sleeve is folded along the pleats when the outer sleeve is in the collapsed position.

7. The container as in claim 1, wherein said outer removable sleeve is formed from a single piece of material.

8. The container of claim 1, wherein the bottom portion of the outer sleeve comprises a first flap and a second flap, the flaps being connected to one another.

9. The container of claim 1, wherein the inner receptacle has a back wall with a flap extending from the back wall and the outer sleeve includes a slot opening.

10. A container comprising an inner tray having a bottom portion, a plurality of side walls and an open top, and a sleeve member, the sleeve member being foldable between a use position and a storage position, the sleeve member being substantially flat when in the storage position and forming a cavity into which the inner receptacle can be inserted when in the use position.

11. The container of claim 10, wherein the inner tray is shaped like a wedge.

12. The container of claim 11, wherein the sleeve member is shaped like a wedge.

13. The container of claim 10, wherein the sleeve member has a bottom portion comprising two flaps connected to one another.

14. The container of claim 10, wherein the sleeve member in use position includes a top portion, a bottom portion and two side walls.

15. The container of claim 14, wherein each side wall has a fold line which runs generally parallel to the top portion and the bottom portion.

16. The container of claim 15, wherein the sleeve member is folded along the fold lines of the side walls in the storage position so that the top portion and the bottom portion are in close proximity.

17. The container of claim 1 additionally comprising an engagement mechanism to hold the inner receptacle within the cavity of the sleeve member.

18. The container of claim 17, wherein the engagement mechanism comprises a top portion of the sleeve member and a lip protruding from a front wall of the inner receptacle past the top portion of the sleeve member.

19. The container of claim 17, wherein the engagement mechanism comprises a slot engagement mechanism.

20. The container of claim 17, wherein the engagement mechanism comprises a flap extending from a back end of the inner receptacle and a slot opening in the top portion of the sleeve member.

21. A method of assembling a food carton involving: unfolding an outer sleeve from a substantially flat position; and sliding the outer sleeve over a food receptacle.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein unfolding the outer sleeve involves squeezing the outer sleeve along fold lines on side walls of the sleeve.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein squeezing the outer sleeve is accomplished with one hand.

24. The method of claim 21, wherein sliding the outer sleeve over a food receptacle involves sliding the outer sleeve over a food receptacle until a locking mechanism is engaged.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the locking mechanism is engaged when a protruding lip located at the front of the food receptacle slides past a front portion of the outer sleeve.

26. The method of claims 24, wherein the locking mechanism is engaged by inserting a flap at a backend of the food receptacle into a slot opening of the outer sleeve.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to cartons. More specifically, the invention relates to an interlocking food carton which may be compactly stored and easily assembled.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] In the fast food industry, food is generally packaged in disposable containers. Many containers include one and two-piece boxes which require multiple maneuvers to assemble. Assembled boxes take up valuable space in a restaurant. Generally, there is not a lot of extra storage space in kitchens for storing such empty containers, especially fast food restaurants. Thus, many fast food restaurants use containers that may be compactly stored and assembled just prior to use.

[0005] In the bustling fast-food industry, however, workers lack time to construct food cartons while also performing their other duties, particularly during high volume periods, such as lunchtime. Multi-step construction of food containers requires that workers spend valuable time in assembling the containers when they could be preparing food or serving customers. Thus, it is important for a food container to be quickly and easily constructed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is directed to an interlocking carton which is easily assembled. The container or carton includes an inner receptacle and an outer removable sleeve. The inner receptacle is a boat-like structure or tray upon which food is placed. The outer removable sleeve slidably engages with the inner receptacle to enclose or cover the contents of the inner receptacle. The inner receptacle also includes a locking mechanism, such as a protruding lip, that locks the outer removable sleeve in place after engagement. This locking mechanism enables safe transit of the contained food so that the carton does not automatically disengage.

[0007] Furthermore, many inner receptacles may be stacked inside one another for compact storage. Similarly, the outer sleeves may be stored in a flat position.

[0008] To assemble the carton, a user holds the inner receptacle with one hand while simultaneously lifting the outer sleeve with the other hand and slidably engaging the sleeve over the tray until the locking mechanism engages (e.g., the lip of the receptacle protrudes over the sleeve), thereby locking the two pieces together. The act of lifting the outer sleeve as well as squeezing the sides of the outer sleeve together facilitate converting the outer sleeve from its stored flat position to a constructed position.

[0009] For purposes of summarizing the invention, certain aspects, advantages, and novel features of the invention are described herein. It is to be understood that not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art recognize that the invention may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The invention will now be described with reference to the appended drawings that depict various embodiments of aspects and features of the invention. The drawings and the associated descriptions are provided to illustrate embodiments of the invention and not to limit the scope of the invention. Throughout the drawings, reference numbers are reused to indicate correspondence between referenced elements. The drawings include the following figures:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an interlocking carton showing an outer removable sleeve and an inner receptacle fully engaged;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a right side view of one embodiment of an interlocking carton showing the outer removable sleeve and the inner receptacle fully engaged;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of an interlocking carton showing the outer removable sleeve and the inner receptacle fully engaged;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of one embodiment of an interlocking carton showing the outer removable sleeve and the inner receptacle fully engaged;

[0015] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the inner receptacle of the carton shown in FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 6 is a top view of the inner receptacle as a single piece of material;

[0017] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the outer sleeve of the carton shown in FIG. 1;

[0018] FIG. 8 is a top view of the outer receptacle as a single piece of material;

[0019] FIG. 9 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the outer sleeve shown in a collapsed form;

[0020] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an additional embodiment of an interlocking carton showing an outer removable sleeve and an inner receptacle fully engaged;

[0021] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the inner receptacle of the carton as shown in FIG. 10;

[0022] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the outer sleeve of the carton shown in FIG. 10; and

[0023] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an additional embodiment of an interlocking carton showing an outer removable sleeve and an inner receptacle fully engaged.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0024] It is understood that the description and drawings herein are merely illustrative, and that various modifications may be made in the structures disclosed without departing from the spirit of the invention.

[0025] The present invention provides an interlocking carton comprised of an inner receptacle and an outer sleeve that may be efficiently stored and readily assembled for use. Further, the carton may be engaged by sliding the inner receptacle into the outer sleeve and engaging a locking mechanism. To “unlock” the carton, the inner receptacle may be removed from the sleeve by disengaging the locking mechanism.

[0026] FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of an assembled and interlocked carton 110 that includes an inner receptacle 120 and an outer sleeve 130. The exemplary carton 110 includes a protruding lip 122 on the inner receptacle 120 that extends above the outer sleeve 130 thereby serving as a locking mechanism. Once the inner receptacle 120 has been fully inserted into the outer sleeve 130, the protruding lip 122 extends above the top of the outer sleeve 130 making it difficult to unintentionally disengage the carton 110.

[0027] FIG. 2 illustrates a right side view of the assembled and interlocked carton 110. The protruding lip 122 extends past the top edge of the outer sleeve 130, thereby locking the inner receptacle 120 and the outer sleeve 130 together. In one embodiment, the inner receptacle 120 does not continue to slide forward in relation to the outer sleeve 130 due to the width of the inner receptacle 120. It is recognized that in other embodiments other methods may be used to prevent the inner receptacle 120 from sliding forward in relation to the other sleeve 130, such as, for example, the use of locking mechanisms. In addition, because the protruding lip 122 of the inner receptacle 120 extends beyond the top of the outer sleeve 130, the inner receptacle 120 is prevented from inadvertently sliding back through the outer sleeve 130.

[0028] FIG. 3 illustrates a front view of the assembled and interlocked carton 110, wherein the protruding lip 122 extends from the front of the inner receptacle 120 locking the removable outer sleeve 130 into place so that the outer sleeve covers the contents of the inner receptacle 120. This locking mechanism may be used to securely hold the outer sleeve 130 and the inner receptacle 120 together to store items, such as food, within the carton 110.

[0029] FIG. 4 illustrates a bottom view of the assembled and interlocked carton 110, wherein the outer sleeve 130 and the inner receptacle 120 are fully engaged.

[0030] FIG. 5 illustrates the inner receptacle 120 of the carton shown in FIG. 1. The inner receptacle 120 includes a bottom or base portion 510, a back wall 520, a left side wall 530, a right side wall 540, and a front wall 550. The protruding lip 122 extends from the front wall 550 in a direction away from the base portion 510. In the illustrated embodiment, the inner receptacle 120 does not include a top portion, and the outer sleeve 130, when engaged with the inner receptacle 120, covers the contents of the inner receptacle 120. It is recognized that in other embodiments, the inner receptacle 120 may include a top portion that fully or partially covers the inner receptacle 120. Furthermore, other embodiments of the inner receptacle 120 may include the front wall 550 with the protruding lip 122 but without the left side wall 530, the right side wall 540, and/or the back wall 550.

[0031] As shown in FIG. 6, the inner receptacle 120 may be formed from a single piece of cardboard, or similar material, and folded to form the four walls 520, 530, 540, 550. The walls 520, 530, 540, 550 may then be secured into place to form a receptacle or tray upon which food or other items may be placed. It is recognized that a variety of adhesive materials, such as glue, may be used to secure the walls 520, 530, 540, 550. The inner receptacles 120 may be formed, secured, stacked, and efficiently stored taking up little space. In one embodiment, the stacked inner receptacles 120 may then be shipped to various restaurants.

[0032] In some embodiments, the carton 110 is shaped to receive a food article. For example, the exemplary carton 110 has a triangular or wedge shape that may be suitable for holding a slice of pizza or pie. While the exemplary carton 110 is described herein as a container for a pizza slice, it is recognized that the triangular shaped carton 110 may be used as a container for a variety of food or non-food items and is not limited to pizza. Furthermore, it is recognized that the carton 110 may be formed in a variety of shapes such as trapezoids, rectangles, squares, and so forth.

[0033] FIG. 7 illustrates the outer sleeve 130 of the carton 110 shown in FIG. 1, wherein the outer sleeve 130 is in a fully constructed position ready to receive the inner receptacle 120. The outer sleeve 130 includes a top portion 710 with perforated sections 712, a bottom or base portion 720 with a first flap 722 and a second flap 724, a left side wall 730, and a right side wall 740. The exemplary bottom portion 720 is formed from two flaps 722, 724 wherein the first flap 722 extends from the left side wall 730 and the second flap 724 extends from the right side wall 740. A portion of the first flap 722 and a portion of the second flap 724 overlap and are secured together using an adhesive, such as glue, tape strips, and so forth. Further, it is recognized that in other embodiments, the first flap 722 and the second flap 724 need not overlap, but may be secured with a connector such as, for example, a piece of tape, a sticker, a fastener, and so forth. In other embodiments, the bottom portion 720 may be formed from a single section rather than from two flaps. The outer sleeve 130 may be formed from a single piece of material, folded and secured into place using the first flap 722 and the second flap 724. The outer sleeve 130 may be made of any type of material which is typically used for cartons, such as flexible cardboard, corrugated paper, and so forth.

[0034] In the illustrated embodiment, the outer sleeve 130 also includes perforated sections 712 along the top portion 710 of the outer sleeve 130. Each perforated section 712 can be marked to represent the type of item that is served in the carton 110. For example, the perforated sections 712 may be marked “cheese,” “pepperoni,” and “vegetable,” thereby designating three different types of pizza that may be served in the carton 110. Depending on the type of item placed in the carton 110, the corresponding perforated section 712 can be depressed, folded, marked, or removed to indicate the contents of the carton 110. While the illustrated embodiment shows perforated sections 712 to indicate the contents of the carton 110, it is recognized that a variety of indicators may be used. For example, the carton 110 may include, on the inner receptacle 120 and/or the outer sleeve 130, preprinted text which may be marked to indicate the contents, raised sections which, when depressed, indicate the contents, and so forth. It is also recognized that in some embodiments, the outer sleeve 130 may not include perforated sections 712 or any other types of indicators.

[0035] FIG. 8 illustrates one embodiment of the outer sleeve 130, which is formed from a single piece of material, such as cardboard or corrugated paper, showing three pleats on each side wall. The left side wall 730 of exemplary outer sleeve 130 includes a top pleat 810, a middle pleat 820, and a bottom pleat 830. The right side wall 740 of the exemplary outer sleeve 130 includes a top pleat 840, a middle pleat 850, and a bottom pleat 860. The pleats 810, 820, 830, 840, 850, 860 indicate fold lines that enable the outer sleeve 130 to be easily folded. The top pleat 810 of the left side wall 730 is between the left side wall 730 and the top portion 710 of the outer sleeve 130. The top pleat 840 of the right side wall 740 is between the right side wall 740 and the top portion 710 of the outer sleeve 130. The bottom pleat 830 of the left side wall 730 is between the left side wall 730 and the bottom portion 720 of the outer sleeve 130. The bottom pleat 860 of the right side wall 740 is between the right side wall 740 and the bottom portion 720 of the outer sleeve 130. The middle pleat 820 of the left side wall 730 and the middle pleat 850 of the right side wall 740 are generally parallel to the left side wall 530 and right side wall 540 of the inner receptacle 120 after the outer sleeve 130 is placed over the inner receptacle 130 as illustrated in FIG. 3. As noted above, the outer sleeve 130 may be formed from a single piece of material and folded to form the outer sleeve 130 by securing into place the first flap 722 and the second flap 724.

[0036] FIG. 9 illustrates one embodiment of a top view of the outer sleeve 130, which has been folded into a substantially flat position, such as for storage. The left side wall 730 and the right side wall 740 of the outer sleeve 130 are collapsed at the middle pleats 820, 850 so that the outer sleeve 130 lies substantially flat. The top pleats 810, 840 of the left and right side walls 730, 740 are not folded and the middle pleats 820, 850 of the left and right side walls 730, 740 are folded. The bottom pleats 830, 860 of the left and right side walls 730, 740 remain unfolded, but are not visible from FIG. 9. Multiple outer sleeves 130 may then be stacked in this substantially flat position occupying a small amount of storage space.

[0037] FIG. 10 illustrates an additional embodiment of an assembled and interlocked carton 1010. The carton 1010 is similar to the carton 110 shown in FIGS. 1-9, but includes a different locking mechanism. The carton 1010 includes an inner receptacle 1020 and an outer sleeve 1030 having a locking mechanism formed from a flap 1022 extending from the inner receptacle 1020 which fits within a slot opening 1032 of the outer sleeve 1030. After the flap 1022 has been inserted into the slot opening 1032, the inner receptacle 1020 and the outer sleeve 1030 are interlocked preventing the inner receptacle 1020 from inadvertently sliding out of the outer sleeve 1030. Thus, once the flap 1022 is inserted into the slot opening 1032, the inner receptacle 1020 can only slide a slight distance backward or forward in relation to the outer sleeve 1030. While FIG. 10 illustrates a rectangular-shaped flap 1022 and a rectangular-shaped slot opening 1032, it is recognized that a variety of shapes may be used and that the flap 1022 and the slot opening 1032 need not be the same shape.

[0038] FIG. 11 illustrates the inner receptacle 1020 of the carton 1010 shown in FIG. 10. The inner receptacle 1020 includes a bottom or base portion 1110, a back wall 1120, a left side wall 1130, a right side wall 1140, and a front wall 1150. The flap 1022 extends from the back wall 1120 in a direction away from the base portion 1110. In some embodiments, the inner receptacle 1020 does not include a top portion such that the outer sleeve 1030, when engaged with the inner receptacle 1020, covers the contents of the inner receptacle 1020. It is recognized that in other embodiments, the inner receptacle 1120 may include a top portion that fully or partially covers the inner receptacle 1120. Furthermore, other embodiments of the inner receptacle 1120 may include the back wall 1120 with the flap 1022, but without the left side wall 1130, the right side wall 1140, and/or the front wall 1150.

[0039] FIG. 12 illustrates the outer sleeve 1030 of the carton 1010 shown in FIG. 10, wherein the outer sleeve 1030 is in a fully constructed position ready to receive the inner receptacle 1020. The outer sleeve 1030 includes a top portion 1210 with perforated sections 1212, a bottom or base portion 1220 with a first flap 1222 and a second flap 1224, a left side wall 1230, and a right side wall 1240. The outer sleeve 1030 also includes the slot opening 1032 on the top portion 1210 of the outer sleeve 1030. The exemplary bottom portion 1220 is formed from two flaps 1222, 1224 wherein the first flap 1222 extends from the left side wall 1230 and the second flap 1224 extends from the right side wall 1240. A portion of the first flap 1222 and a portion of the second flap 1224 overlap and are secured together using an adhesive such as glue, tape strips, and so forth. Further, it is recognized that in other embodiments, the first flap 1222 and the second flap 1224 need not overlap, but may be secured with a connector such as, for example, a piece of tape, a sticker, a fastener, and so forth. The outer sleeve 1030 may be formed from a single piece of material, folded and secured into place using the first flap 1222 and the second flap 1224. The outer sleeve 1030 may be made of any type of material which is typically used for cartons, such as flexible cardboard, corrugated paper, and so forth. In other embodiments, the bottom portion 1220 may be formed from a single section rather than from two flaps.

[0040] The length of the inner receptacle 1020 shown in FIG. 11 is less than the length of the outer sleeve 1030 such that the flap 1022 extending from the back wall 1120 aligns with the slot opening 1032 of the outer sleeve 1030 wherein the inner receptacle has been inserted into the outer sleeve.

[0041] Although the flap 1022 extends away from the bottom portion 1120 of the inner receptacle 1020 to a height greater than the height of the outer sleeve 1030, the inner receptacle 1020 can be inserted or slid into the outer receptacle 1030. In one embodiment, the flap 1022 is of a height that prevents the inner receptacle 1020 from inadvertently slipping out of the outer sleeve 1030. Further, the flap 1022 is of a height and/or a width such that when the user squeezes the sides of the outer sleeve 1030, the flap 1022 may be easily removed from the slot opening 1032 enabling the inner receptacle 1020 to slide out from the outer sleeve 1030. Thus, the outer sleeve 1030 can be slightly bowed or bent by squeezing the left and right side walls 1230, 1240 toward one another.

[0042] In one embodiment, the slot opening 1032 is shaped to enable the flap 1022 to be easily inserted into the slot opening 1032. Furthermore, the slot opening 1032 may be shaped to minimize the amount of heat that escapes from the engaged carton 1010 as well as the amount of air that enters the engaged carton 1010.

[0043] In other embodiments, the flap 1022 may be perforated such that the user may tear off the flap 1022 to remove the inner receptacle 1020 from the outer sleeve 1030. In such embodiments, the flap 1022 may be of a variety of sizes and shapes such that the flap 1022 can be easily inserted into the slot opening 1032.

[0044] FIG. 13 illustrates an additional embodiment of an assembled and interlocked carton 1310 that includes two locking mechanisms. The carton 1310 includes an inner receptacle 1320 with a protruding lip 1322, similar to the protruding lip described above, as well as an extending flap 1324 and an outer sleeve 1330 having a slot opening 1332.

[0045] The cartons described above provide improvements in speed and efficiency by providing an interlocking inner receptacle and an outer sleeve that are easy to use. To construct the cartons, a user may assemble the flattened or collapsed outer sleeve by pressing the left side wall and the right side wall of the outer sleeve along the middle pleats. In some instances, the collapsed outer sleeve may be constructed using one hand. After the item is placed within the inner receptacle, the inner receptacle receives the outer sleeve until the locking mechanism is in place. For example, the user may slide the inner receptacle 120 into the outer sleeve 130 until the protruding lip 122 passes the edge of the outer sleeve 120 and/or until the flap 1110 has been inserted into the slot opening 1120, as shown in FIG. 13. Once the inner receptacle and the outer sleeve are engaged, the assembled and interlocked carton securely holds the outer sleeve directly over the inner receptacle such that the item in the inner receptacle is covered.

[0046] To access the food item or other item stored therein, a user may slide the inner receptacle out from the outer sleeve while disengaging the locking mechanism that prevents the inner receptacle from accidentally sliding out of the outer sleeve. For example, the top portion 810 of the outer sleeve 130 may be manipulated over the protruding lip 122 in order to remove the inner receptacle 120 from the outer sleeve 130. More specifically, to unlock the protruding lip 122 from the outer sleeve 130, the user may press the top pleats 910, 940 together, thereby causing the top portion 810 of the outer sleeve 130 to bend upward. The top portion 810 of the outer sleeve 130 is bent upwards until the protruding lip 122 can slide beneath the top portion 810. In other embodiments, the flap 1110 may be pushed through the slot opening 1120 thereby enabling the user to remove the outer sleeve 130 from the inner receptacle 120.

[0047] In addition to easy construction and disassembly, many outer sleeves can be stored in a small space because the outer sleeves can collapse into a substantially flat position. Furthermore, the inner receptacles can be nested within one another for convenient storage in a small area. Thus, the pieces that make up the carton do not take up a lot of storage space.

[0048] While the present invention has been described with reference to storing of a fast-food item, such as pizza, it is understood that the present invention may be used with other types of items, including non-food items, or items having a shape other than a pie slice shape. Further, other embodiments apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art are also within the scope of this invention. Thus, the scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by the appended claims.