Title:
Food and beverage tray
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A food and beverage tray having a base and a folding lid secured to the base. The base includes one or more compartments sized and configured to secure beverages, food, or food packaging. The lid has a first position in which it covers at least one of the compartments in the base and a second position in which the lid is substantially vertical and the compartment or compartments are uncovered. The lid also has a front member and a rear member connected at their upper and lower regions to define a pouch. The front and rear members may be used for advertising displays for the tray. The base also includes means for releasably securing the lid to the tray.



Inventors:
Suter, Gary (Shawnee, KS, US)
Application Number:
11/111587
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/21/2005
Assignee:
American Multi-Cinema, Inc
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/407, 206/564
International Classes:
B65D1/34; B65D6/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LATHROP GPM LLP (OVERLAND PARK, KS, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container for carrying food and beverages, the container comprising: a base tray having a first compartment for holding a consumable product and having one or more second compartments operably configured to hold a consumable product, a lid portion directly hinged to the rear of said base tray for movement toward and away from an upper surface of said base tray to open and close the same, said lid portion covering at least said first compartment, and means for releasably locking said lid portion to said upper surface of said base tray.

2. The container of claim 1 wherein: said lid portion includes a male element; and said locking means comprises a female element adjacent said upper surface of said base tray for mateably receiving said male element in interlocking engagement when said lid portion is folded adjacent said upper surface of said base tray.

3. The container of claim 2 wherein said female element comprises a slot formed in said upper surface of said base tray, and wherein said male element is a corner of said lid portion.

4. The container of claim 1 wherein said lid portion is operably configured to cover only said first compartment when said lid portion is at a closed position.

5. The container of claim 1 wherein said lid portion comprises two opposed planar members, said opposed members being adhered along a top edge and a bottom edge to define a pocket.

6. A container for carrying food and beverages comprising: a base tray having a first compartment for holding a consumable product, said base tray having one or more second compartment operably configured to hold a consumable product; and an upwardly extending wall portion extending from a rear wall of said base tray, said upwardly extending wall portion comprising an advertising display.

7. The container of claim 6 wherein said upwardly extending wall portion comprises a first member and a second member, said first and second members being adhered at upper, opposing edges and lower, opposing edges to form said advertising display.

8. The container of claim 7 wherein said upwardly extending wall portion is hingedly attached to said base tray such that said upwardly extending wall portion moves between a first configuration covering said first compartment and a second configuration allowing access to said first compartment.

9. The container of claim 6 wherein said upwardly extending wall portion comprises two planar, opposed members, said members being adhered along a top edge and a bottom edge to define a pocket.

10. A container for carrying a consumable product, said container comprising: a base tray having opposed side walls and an upper surface, said upper surface defining a first compartment for holding a consumable product; and an upwardly extending wall extending substantially vertically from one respective said side wall beyond said upper surface.

11. The container of claim 10 wherein said upwardly extending wall comprises: a first planar member having a top edge and a bottom edge; and a second planar member attached to said first planar member adjacent said top and bottom edges to define a pocket between said first and second planar members.

12. The container of claim 11 wherein said upwardly extending wall is pivotable between a first configuration covering said first compartment and a second configuration allowing access to said first compartment.

13. The container of claim 12 further comprising means for releasably fastening said upwardly extending wall to said upper surface of said base tray when said upper wall is at said first configuration.

14. The container of claim 12 wherein: said upwardly extending wall includes a male element; and said upper surface of said base tray defines a female element for mateably receiving said male element when said upwardly extending wall is at said first configuration.

15. The container of claim 10 wherein said upwardly extending wall is pivotable between a first configuration covering said first compartment and a second configuration allowing access to said first compartment.

16. The container of claim 10 wherein said upper surface defines a second compartment configured to hold a consumable product.

17. The container of claim 10 wherein said upwardly extending wall is selectively removable from said base tray.

18. A tray for holding and carrying consumable products and non-consumable materials comprising: a base forming at least one compartment for holding a consumable product; a lid extending upward from said base; and said lid forming a pocket for holding at least one of a consumable product and a non-consumable product.

19. The tray of claim 18 wherein the lid is foldable onto a top of the base, and the top of the base contains at least one slit for receiving a corner of the lid when the lid is folded onto the top of the base.

20. The tray of claim 18 wherein the lid is foldable onto the top of the base, and at least one of a top of the base and a surface of the lid in contact with the top of the base contains an adhesive for securing the lid to the base when the lid is folded onto the base.

21. The tray of claim 18 wherein the lid has a surface that contains advertising indicia.

22. The tray of claim 18 wherein the base forms at least two compartments, and one of the compartments has a shape different from at least one other compartment.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/606,769, filed on Sep. 2, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a food and beverage tray having an upwardly extending wall that functions as a folding lid for partially covering the food and beverage tray and/or serves as an advertising display.

2. Description of the Prior Art

It is well-known that food has been sold by “fast-food” restaurants in carry-out

containers consisting of a thermoformed plastic trays provided with a hinged lids. The lid covers substantially the entire container, and the container does not provide compartments for securing beverages or other non-coverable items. The lid functions solely to snap on and off the base of the tray and covers the base in its entirety.

Likewise, it is well known that certain foods, such as nachos, and beverages are typically served at entertainment events or fast-food restaurants in open, non-lidded trays. The nacho trays may have an additional compartment for melted cheese, but do not provide additional compartments for beverages or salsas. Likewise, beverage trays typically hold up to four beverages and provide an open area between the beverage compartments for holding napkins, condiments, or utensils.

Similarly, it is know that children who are waiting for the beginning of a movie or other event like to collect and play with games and boxes and view displays to occupy their time while waiting for the event to begin.

It is desirable to provide a combination food and beverage tray having a hinged lid that covers the food compartment to secure the food during transport by the customer and still enables securement of the beverage or salsa.

Further it is desirable to provide a food and beverage tray having an upwardly extending wall that may or may not be hingedly attached to the base wherein the upper wall comprises an advertising display.

It is likewise desirable to provide a hinged tray that can hold sealed containers in the food and beverage tray to prevent the sealed containers from spilling if the unit is tilted or turned on its side.

Similarly, it is desirable to provide a food and beverage tray that has a pouch, compartment, or other means for storing game cards, coupons, napkins, seasonings, condiments, or other materials that a user may have received when buying food or at other times or locations.

Further, it is desirable to provide a food and beverage tray that is inexpensive to make, easy to store, easy to assemble, and contains interesting displays and features for those waiting for the beginning of an event.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A first embodiment of the present invention is directed to a food and beverage tray having a folding lid secured to a base. The lid being pivotable from a first position whereby the lid covers at least a first compartment and a second position wherein the lid is substantially vertical and the at least first compartment is uncovered. The base includes one or more compartments sized and configured to secure beverages or other foodstuffs or food packaging. The base further includes means for releasably securing the lid to the tray.

In a second embodiment and a third embodiment, the present invention is directed to a food and beverage tray containing a base having two or more compartments for releasably securing a food product and a beverage. The base is formed of an approximately rectangular parallelepiped box with two pairs of opposite side walls, a base wall and an upper wall. The base has an upwardly extending wall extending from one of the side walls. The upwardly extending wall comprises a front member and a rear member connected at their upper and lower regions to define a pouch. The front and rear members may also be used for advertising displays for the tray.

Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and claims, and from the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one form of a food and beverage tray of the present invention which is provided with a hinged lid;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the lidded food and beverage tray of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the lidded food and beverage tray of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are left and right side elevation views of the food and beverage tray of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a rear elevational view of the food and beverage tray of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the food and beverage tray of FIG. 1 with a nachos tray and cheese container held in the tray;

FIG. 8 is a rear elevational view of a second embodiment of the food and beverage tray;

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the food and beverage container of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the food and beverage tray;

FIG. 11 is a top plan view of the food and beverage tray of FIG. 10; and

FIG. 12 is a left side view of the food and beverage tray of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

At times, this description will refer to food and beverages or consumable products being placed or held in certain locations. Unless otherwise noted, it should be understood that such references include containers containing non-liquid food and/or containers containing liquid beverages, either or both of which may be placed or held in certain locations, as nearly all food and beverages are separately packaged and/or contained in their own containers.

Referring now to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals indicate like elements throughout the several views, FIG. 1 shows an exemplary embodiment of the food and beverage tray 10 of the present invention. The food and beverage tray 10 has a box body 12 (also referred to as base tray 12) having a first compartment 20 for holding consumable products (foodstuffs or beverages) and one or more second compartment 22 for holding consumable products (foodstuffs or beverages). The food and beverage tray further includes an outwardly extending wall 14.

In a first embodiment as shown in FIGS. 1-7, the upwardly extending wall 14 comprises a pivotable lid 16 releasably securable to the box body 12 for covering at least the first compartment 20.

In a second embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 8-9, the outwardly extending wall 14 comprises an upwardly extending advertising display 18.

The box body 12 is preferably made of a cardboard such as corrugated fiberboard or paperboard. The thickness of the cardboard paper stock preferably is between 0.47 mm up to 0.95 mm in thickness or between 350 lb. to 700 lb stock. The box body 12 is formed of an approximately rectangular parallelepiped box with two pairs of opposite side walls 24a and 24b, a base wall 26 and an upper wall 28. These walls combine to define an interior 30. As shown in FIG. 1, upper wall 28 is formed with a first large compartment 20 and two second compartments 22. As is well known in the art, the first and second compartments 20, 22 are formed through cut-outs or through lines of weakness, such as perforations, formed in the upper wall 28 to enable a portion of the upper wall 28 to be removed thereby creating the respective compartments, 20 and 22. It is to be understood that although the compartments, as shown, are designed to receive cups or containers that hold beverages and food, the compartments may be configured to hold foodstuffs, such as nachos, directly, without departing from the scope of the invention.

In the first embodiment of the present invention, the upwardly extending wall 14 comprises the lid 16, which is selectively securable to the upper wall 28 of box body 12 and comprises a wall extending upwardly from at least a portion of edge 32 of the upper wall 28. In this exemplary embodiment, the lid 16 is hingedly attached to the edge 32. This attachment is preferably accomplished through a line of weakness 34 at the junction of the lid 16 and the edge 32 of the upper wall 28. The lid 16 preferably extends in height and width a sufficient span such that as the lid 16 is pivoted to a first position, the lid 16 covers at least the first compartment 20 of the upper wall 28 while leaving the second compartments 22 uncovered. And, as the lid 16 is moved to its second position, the first compartment 20 is uncovered. It is to be understood that that the lid 16 may span the entire length of the upper wall 28 of the box body 12 and cover both the first and second compartments 20, 22, without departing from the scope of the invention.

The upper wall 28 of the box body 12 is formed with at least one slot 36 or other receiving element (also called a female element) extending diagonally across the upper surface 28 adjacent an edge 38 of the upper surface 28 opposite the edge 32 from which the lid 16 extends. The slot 36 is formed and configured to receive a portion of an upper corner 39 or received element (also called a male element) of the lid 16 as the lid 16 is pivoted to the first, closed position. The receiving and received elements need not be a corner and a slot, but might also comprise an adhesive on either the corner 39 of the lid 16 or the upper surface 28 of the upper wall 28 of the body 12. Snap-type, folding tabs, or Velcro elements might also be used.

The lid 16 may be removable from the box body 12 at the line of weakness 34 and may include advertising, promotions, game indicia, coupons, or the like for the consumer. Further, lid 16, as will be described in greater detail with respect to the second embodiment, may comprise two opposed planer members 40, 42 that are adhered at bottom edges 44, 51 and top edges 48, 50. The planar members 40, 42 of the lid 16 thus define a pocket 55 therebetween for storage of napkins, seasonings, condiments, entertainment games, coupons, or other advertising or promotional items.

In use, the food and beverage tray 10 of the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention may be loaded with a container of food, such as nachos, in the first compartment 20, a beverage in one of the second compartments 22, and another container of food, such as melted cheese, in another second compartment 22. The lid 16 is pivoted to the first, closed position. The lid may be releasably secured in this position by inserting at least one respective corner 39 in the respective corresponding slot 36 of the upper surface 28 of the box body 12. The consumer may readily transport the food and beverage tray 10 without concern that the nachos will spill from the container 20. Upon selecting a seat or reaching a desired destination, the consumer may release the lid 16 and access the food and beverages, as desired.

In another use of this first embodiment that is specifically directed to nachos, the tray is loaded with a drip-in, sealed containers (not shown) such as a chip tray, a cheese container, and a salsa container. The lid 16 is configured to extend the entire span of the upper wall 28 of box body 12. The lid 16 in the closed position contains the drop-ins and facilitates the transfer of the nachos to the seating for the consumer.

In a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the compartments 22 and 20 may be the same as shown in FIG. 1. However, as shown in FIGS. 8-9, the upwardly extending wall 14 (as identified in FIG. 1) comprises an advertising display 18 that extends substantially upwardly from the box body 12. The advertising display 18 comprises a first member 40 and a second member 42.

The first member 40 extends substantially perpendicularly from the upper wall 28 of the box body 12 and preferably is integrally joined with the upper wall 28. The first member 40 bends from the upper surface 28 at a fold line to define a lower edge 44 for the first member 40.

The second member 42 extends upwardly from the base wall 26 of the box body 12 and is preferably integrally joined thereto. The second member 42 may also extend upwardly from the side wall 24B, if desired. The second member 42 is substantially perpendicular to the base wall 26 and bends at fold line 46 or fold line 45. The second member 42 extends upwardly past the upper wall 28 of the box body 12 and defines the side wall 24b for the rear of the box body 12. The second member 42 is preferably joined through adhesive to the first member 40 at the lower edges 44, 51 of the first and second members 40 and 42, respectively. The first and second members 40, 42, respectively, are also joined at an upper edge 48, 50 of each member.

In a third embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 10-12, the compartment 20 is similar in shape to that shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 7. Compartments 20, however, are differently shaped, 22A to accommodate a beverage container and 22B to receive a box of candy or other container. The lid 16 extends the full length of the food and beverage tray 10. The first and second members 40 and 42 are constructed in the same manner as described in connection with the second embodiment, and they are similarly adhered or joined.

In the second and third embodiments, the members are preferably adhered to each other such that members 40 and 42 define a two-sided advertising display 18. In a preferred embodiment, at least one pair of opposed side edges 52 and 53 of members 40 and 42 remain unadhered such that the first and second members 40, 42 define a pocket 55 therebetween. Of course, the members 40 and 42 might also be adhered at the sides so that the pocket opens near the top of the lid 16. The pocket 55 may be used to store non-consumable products such as napkins, entertainment games, coupons, or other advertising or promotional items such as item 60. The pocket 55 may also be used to store as consumable products such as seasonings or condiments.

In use, the food tray of the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention may be loaded with a container of food, such as a container of popcorn or nachos, in the first compartment 20, a beverage container in one of the second compartments 22, and another container of food in the other of the second compartments 22. The advertising display 18 may be used to advertise the particular product being carried in the tray, or any other product or service. The advertising display 18 extends directly in front of the consumer and presents a striking appearance. Of course, a different advertising display 18 may be placed on the other side of the lid 16, as well, i.e. on second member 42, which makes a presentation to the consumer when the lid 16 is closed and a presentation to others when the lid 16 is open.

It will be apparent from the foregoing description that the food and beverage tray of the present invention has a number of advantages, some of which have been described above. Also, obvious modifications and variations can be made to the structure of the present invention without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited as necessitated by the accompanying claims.





 
Previous Patent: Folded blister package

Next Patent: Medication kit