With the pizza box playing such an integral role in take-out and delivery, responsible for protection and heat retention of the pie within, pizzerias cannot overlook the additional capabilities of their box.

The average consumer spends a minimum of 10 minutes engaging with their pizza box, so it is becoming increasingly important for pizzerias to unlock all the potential the box has to offer. No longer just a corrugated container for delivering pizza, the pizza box is a vehicle for companies to communicate their brand’s message to their target market. WestRock, a major pizza box supplier, suggests a few ways you can work with your supplier to increase consumer engagement and help position your brand:

1. Label health benefits. While some nutritional labeling information, like calories, is required by the FDA for standard menu items, accentuating organic selections or pointing out that a portion of your ingredients are harvested locally help make your box standout while reinforcing purchase confidence for customers.

2. Stand out. Rather than using a typical box design, create a unique brand experience for your customers. Customizing your box using compelling graphics, memorable colors and creative content can help emphasize to customers why your pizzeria is different.

Related: Has this company finally designed a better pizza box?

3. Enhance the value. By offering customers the chance to earn a free pizza or other food items with box coupons, you give them incentive to return to your restaurant. Many customers may not know your entire menu, so consider including a hard copy or highlight specialty menu items. You can also utilize QR codes to quickly update dynamic information like rotating specials or menu changes.

4. Encourage interaction. In addition to using QR codes to provide up-to-date information, you can use social media to get customers more involved. Creating a hashtag paired with a giveaway offer encourages customers to take and share photos. With the tag being located near the pizza, chances are your pizza may become the backdrop for plenty of social media posts.

5. Communicate a purpose. You can designate a portion of your box for personalization and use that space to support causes meaningful to both your business and customers. Connecting with consumers on emotional causes provides a connection point extending beyond the pizza, helping drive brand loyalty and affinity.

Related: Meet the Brooklyn marketing whiz who invented a pizza box made out of pizza.

6. Serve up history. The handcrafted look is becoming an increasingly popular trend because of its ability to create nostalgia among consumers. Using colorful printing or further personalizing the box with a story of your beginnings can forge a bond with customers.

7. Highlight recyclability. Pizza and other foodservice containers can be recycled in many municipalities if there’s no food or grease residue. If your area is stringent on food residue, you can insert corrugated liners to help keep pizza boxes cleaner, increasing box recyclability. Highlighting the eco-friendly components of your box or providing tips for identifying whether the box can be recycled makes the recycling process even easier for consumers and demonstrates your shop’s sustainability efforts.

Producing a distinguishable box can be as simple as adding artwork to highlight your products. Regardless of the design features your pizzeria settles on, confirm that your supplier has the means to work with you to implement your desired changes. Considering that company’s ability to customize boxes, its history in the industry, where it sources materials and produces the box, and supply chain capabilities can help you evaluate and select a partner that will be able to communicate your brand’s message and reinforce your company’s position with consumers.

For more information on WestRock pizza boxes, visit www.westrock.com/pizza.

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