Gregoire Jacquet, the owner of the fine fast casual franchise Grégoire, explains why he created an octagon-style to-go container.
By Gregoire Jacquet, Grégoire, owner
Nowadays, in a post-pandemic world, carry-out and delivery options are common; but 20 years ago, when I started my Grégoire restaurant — not so much. Most to-go options were simple, like Chinese food and pizza, and the boxes used for carry-out orders didn’t have much thought put into them.
Eateries were tossing food in boxes and sending it out, and the containers were all made of styrofoam or thin, flimsy cardboard and plastic. These models don’t preserve food well on the go, ruining presentation and temperature by the time the meal reaches the customer’s home.
Upholding the quality of the food even after it leaves the restaurant is especially important to me as the owner of a take-out concept. And the way to ensure preservation is through quality packaging. Even when Grégoire was just a concept in my mind, I knew it would be crucial that the boxes carry the food out well so it would arrive hot and fresh.
Some may think that something so minuscule is not worth so much effort, but one of the distinguishing factors about Grégoire is that our cuisine is high-quality and meticulously thought out. I researched options for containers, and there was nothing I found on the market that was to my liking. So instead of settling for something I thought would compromise food quality, I decided to create and patent my own.
I decided that the boxes have to be environmentally friendly and biodegradable. I thought about how pizza boxes have a genius design with holes so that the steam can escape and the box doesn’t sweat.
This idea of a corrugated box that upholds the food quality while carried out from the restaurant stuck with me. I worked tirelessly to develop a design that would work with the integrity of the food, be unique and work as a marketing tool to bring awareness to the brand. I chose an octagon-style container, created a cutter and patented the rights to the design. The boxes have the Grégoire logo and doodles on them that stand out.
It has worked incredibly well. When people see the boxes, they know where the food came from because no other restaurant has that type of box. I have had the garbage men stop me and tell me they see the Grégoire boxes in recycling bins all over town, so they know it must be popular.
Now, with all the delivery apps and the shift that restaurants had to make during the pandemic, packaging has definitely improved. Owners realize that different foods need different boxes because they don’t all travel the same.
Just because it looks great when getting put into the container does not mean it will be as perfect when it arrives on the customer’s table. It is important that you put your food in something complementary to the cuisine because if it arrives and it’s falling apart, people won’t come back to your business. It’s crucial for restaurants to think deeply about their food and take the time to find — or construct — a container that will uphold its quality.
French-trained chef Grégoire Jacquet had a vision of a local restaurant offering quality fine dining-style food with the convenience of a quick carry-out experience. In 2002, Grégoire opened by serving gourmet sandwiches and salad dishes as well as its potato puffs and fresh-made french fries, all served in a custom-designed take-out box. After two decades of serving the local Berkley, California, community, Grégoire has launched franchising opportunities in the Greater Bay Area. The cost to open a Grégoire franchise ranges from $298,924 to $420,100.