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Old 05-08-2020, 01:25 AM
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Why does a round pizza come in a square box?


Why? How?
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:26 AM
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I would imagine it's for ease of storage.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:34 AM
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Because making square boxes is a lot easier than a closer polygon; they're also easier to open and close and more forgiving to variations in the shape of the pizza itself. There would be no savings in amount of cardboard (which anyway is cheap), it doesn't store or travel better... so why would anybody do anything more complicated for no benefit? (cue jokes about consulting firms).
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:35 AM
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A square box stores flat and can be folded into shape in seconds. My local pizzeria puts the pizza onto the unfolded box, slices if, then folds the box around it. I can’t imagine a round box that would be nearly as easy to store and use.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:36 AM
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It's obviously much easier to make a rigid square box out of a flat piece of cardboard.

I guess you could ask why a pizza isn't square. Aside from tradition, why would a pizza maker want to fill up the box? Better to make a smaller quantity of product appear larger with an ill-fitting box.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:01 AM
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As a pizza expands and contracts during baking, surely something round keeps its shape better. Was this not why many things made of iron were cast round and curvy rather than square and straight?
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:02 AM
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Round pizza base is easier to construct than square. You just twirl it round and fling it in the air, in that way they do in the good pizza places. Centrifugal force does the work for you. Trying to make a square shape you have to push it out on the pan ... I guess you could do a rolling pin technique, but that would probably take longer and would be bad for the fluffiness of the base.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:03 AM
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Surely the box is not traditional? But many types of bread are round, dating back to ancient times and even before, so one should not wonder at a round, hand-tossed pizza. I certainly have seen the occasional rectangular pizza and tarte flambée, though, and even an octagonal pizza box.

ETA in short the pizze aren't always round nor the boxes invariably square.

Last edited by DPRK; 05-08-2020 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:40 AM
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Even if you don't do the twirling in the air technique (which I believe many pizza restaurants do not), you still get a mostly circular crust by taking a roughly spherical blob of dough and flattening it out with a rolling pin. Put it in a round pan and trim off any overflow and it's round. There's a bit more involved, but that's the essence.

They could make square or rectangular pizza and some do, but as said above, it takes more work than a round one.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
As a pizza expands and contracts during baking, surely something round keeps its shape better. Was this not why many things made of iron were cast round and curvy rather than square and straight?
Baking trays are usually rectangular. The issue with older techniques and metal implements was the weak joints.
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Last edited by Nava; 05-08-2020 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:33 AM
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Follow the money!

Why? Because round (or hexagonal or octagonal) boxes are way more expensive than square/rectangular ones. Square ones are a standard item for cardboard box companies; other shapes would be a custom design, requiring changes to the manufacturing/cutting process.

And given how price-sensitive the pizza industry is, most customers would never pay more to have it come in a round box. Isn't like that would make it taste better!
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:39 AM
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Because it's part of a pot sobriety test, as related to me by a friend:

"Why is the box a square, when the pizza is a circle and all the pieces are triangles?"
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:56 AM
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Most pizza places around here make square pizzas if they're twelve cut or larger. These are usually thicker, too.

But the square boxes for round pizza do exactly what they need to do. A round box is no betterr.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:19 AM
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Pie are round. Cake are square.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:24 AM
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Some places make polygonal or round containers or the pizza. Domino's box has cut-off corners. I've had octagonal boxes. One place in Salt Lake City sent their pizzas out in circular styrofoam containers.

But, as noted above, square boxes are easier to make, store, and fold.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:45 AM
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"You better cut the pizza into four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." ~Yogi Berra

I know a guy whose house is a geodesic dome. One selling point is that they use less require materials to build, a sphere being more efficient than a cube. However, he says, getting them worked on is murder. Making things square and plumb is one thing...but faceted is another, I guess. Imagine cutting and installing shingles, for instance, on this place:

https://images.app.goo.gl/ZtAKMFwCmgbfc6Er8

The labor, sheesh. Anyway...square boxes will be much easier to create.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:52 AM
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I was working at Domino’s in the 80s when they adopted the box with the cut off corners. They took about twice as long to put together than the square boxes. That labor to cardboard cost ratio only works if you have drivers waiting around with nothing more productive to do than fold boxes.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:55 AM
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Pie are round. Cake are square.
I saw what you did there.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:49 AM
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Ease of getting your piece of pizza out to eat.

A square box with a round pizza gives you the open corners to grab your piece. A round box that is close to the diameter of the pizza (to save costs) would leave little room between the box sides and the pizza to slide your fingers under the pizza slice.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:51 AM
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In St. Louis pizza is baked round and cut into squares! But it still comes in a square box.

Imo's Pizza, the square beyond compare!
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:54 AM
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Incidentally, if you visit one of Apple's campuses and get a pizza from the cafeteria, it will come in a patented round box designed to keep it from getting soggy as you walk back to your desk.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:01 AM
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Square boxes are cheaper.

You stole this question from the Constant Contact commercial.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:16 AM
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Domino's box has cut-off corners.
The OP mentioned pizza, not PSO (pizza-shaped objects).
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:20 AM
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If the boxes were round, where would the dipping sauces go?
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:40 AM
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Even if you don't do the twirling in the air technique (which I believe many pizza restaurants do not), you still get a mostly circular crust by taking a roughly spherical blob of dough and flattening it out with a rolling pin. Put it in a round pan and trim off any overflow and it's round. There's a bit more involved, but that's the essence.

They could make square or rectangular pizza and some do, but as said above, it takes more work than a round one.
You get a weird oval-ish thing if you just roll it out without turning it while rolling.

Anyway, the point of the throwing it in the air and all that sort of thing is that they're stretching the dough out and specifically not rolling it- it changes the texture of the final pizza if you roll it. So they stretch and fling it- it's a good way to get a uniform stretch once there's enough dough out near the rim.

Nobody's asking the real question though; what would the ADVANTAGE of a round box be?

I can't really see much- there's not much dead space in the corners really, and square is a lot easier to deal with prior to actual shipment of the pizza, like others have pointed out.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:06 AM
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Wendy's hamburgers start square but they way they are cooked they end up more rectangular. Still use round buns.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:13 AM
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Round pizza base is easier to construct than square. You just twirl it round and fling it in the air, in that way they do in the good pizza places. Centrifugal force does the work for you. Trying to make a square shape you have to push it out on the pan ... I guess you could do a rolling pin technique, but that would probably take longer and would be bad for the fluffiness of the base.
The problem with the twirling and tossing technique is that it requires some time to learn. I worked at Chuck E. Cheese after high school and before the fall semester of college started and we used a machine with rollers that first stretched it one way and then the other to make the roughly circular shape. It didn't take very long to learn to do that.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:30 PM
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Because it's part of a pot sobriety test, as related to me by a friend:

"Why is the box a square, when the pizza is a circle and all the pieces are triangles?"
Ever seen square candies that look round? That'll really fuck 'em up.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:52 PM
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The question has been pretty much answered. But, you know, this isn't an issue that's unique to pizza.

CDs come in square(ish) jewel boxes (or at least they used to). LP records come in square sleeves. When pies are sold in boxes, those boxes are usually square.

In fact, for most things that come in boxes, the boxes are square or rectangular.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:54 PM
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I worked in food service while in college, to pay for part of my tuition. A lot of that time, I was at the pizza station, and when we had time, we made the crusts starting from big balls of dough (when we were rushed, we had pre-formed frozen crusts we used). I can't remember what the standard method we used was (probably a rolling pin), but a few times, I decided to try the spinning thing, just for the heck of it.

I'm about the least coordinated person you'll meet, and nobody ever actually showed me how to do it, but I still managed to do a passable job of it the first time I tried it. I'm sure it would have taken time to get really great at it, but it wasn't hard.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:54 PM
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Wouldn't square pizza cook irregularly at the corners?
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:26 PM
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Wouldn't square pizza cook irregularly at the corners?
Yes, but not dramatically. The whole oven is hot, and the heat source is mostly above and below. The corner would be slightly crispier than the rest of the crust.

In Italy there are lots of pizza shops where you can buy pizza by the kilo, and they are cooked in rectangles (presumably whatever the maximum size the oven will take) and cut in rectangles. Commonly eaten by cutting in half and putting the pieces together as a sandwich with the toppings on the inside.
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:06 PM
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MrsRico and I attended a Dia de los Muertos festival in a small town north of Guatemala City, situated in a steep cemetery. Gangs of young man ran through the graves hauling 10-meter kites into the sky; many folks flew smaller kites, including freebies from Domino's. (The kites carry messages to the heavenly spirits of dead children.) Little kids roamed the crowd selling cans of beer and soda - and octagonal boxes of Domino's pizza, the best ever, with a maize corn crust. The roundish boxes looked easier to lug in rebozos than square boxes would. (I saw a guy lug a big Selectric typewriter in a rebozo.) Different geometry boxes have their niches.
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:27 PM
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err dupe

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Old 05-08-2020, 04:34 PM
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I was working at Domino’s in the 80s when they adopted the box with the cut off corners. They took about twice as long to put together than the square boxes. That labor to cardboard cost ratio only works if you have drivers waiting around with nothing more productive to do than fold boxes.
Note: unpaid drivers. Most of the Domino's drivers are 'independent contractors' now, so they are only paid per delivery (& tips), not being paid for the sitting-around waiting time. So if they are willing to fold boxes, that's free labor.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:44 PM
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There would be no savings in amount of cardboard
How do you figure that? It seems self-evident to me that for a round pizza of a given diameter, a round box with that diameter will use less cardboard than a square box of the same length. But then again, I am no cardboard box engineer so I may be overlooking something.

(Fun fact: I once attended a computer science conference at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. Directly across the street from our conference was the conference of the international industry association of cardboard box manufacturers. They had talks and workshops and poster sessions and keynote speakers, just like our conference. One of the great regrets of my life is that I didn't wander in to see what sort of cardboard box-related stuff they could possibly be discussing for three whole days.)

Last edited by psychonaut; 05-08-2020 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:57 PM
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I know a guy whose house is a geodesic dome. One selling point is that they use less require materials to build, a sphere being more efficient than a cube. However, he says, getting them worked on is murder. Making things square and plumb is one thing...but faceted is another, I guess. Imagine cutting and installing shingles, for instance, on this place:

https://images.app.goo.gl/ZtAKMFwCmgbfc6Er8
On the other hand, with the right design and materials, a geodesic dome can be an excellent solution

https://youtu.be/wuOjoU27wx4?t=217
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:16 PM
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The non-square pizza box designs mostly start off as squares, before getting their corners folded in. Hence the lack of cardboard savings.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:04 PM
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First things first. It is CORRUGATED, not cardboard. It has a fluted structure between the flat liners. Ignorance Fought.

Secondly, the major cost of the pizza box is the sheet of corrugated board from which it is cut, so a round shaped is not inherently more expensive than a square one, since the customer buys the square from which the circle is cut. The problem lies in the hinged side of the square keeping the structure straight, while a more circular pizza box would have a smaller hinged side and the top and bottom halves could flop any which way. If you buy a pizza in a box in the United States, odds are my company made it.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:48 PM
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How do you figure that? It seems self-evident to me that for a round pizza of a given diameter, a round box with that diameter will use less cardboard than a square box of the same length. But then again, I am no cardboard box engineer so I may be overlooking something.
No, it wouldn't save cardboard.

The corrugated cardboard is made in long rectangular sheets. Round or octagon boxes would just be cut out of the rectangular sheets, and the corner piece scraps discarded*. So the same amount of cardboard would be used up in making round or octagon boxes.

* These days, the scraps would probably be recycled somehow. But it's still original manufactured cardboard that gets used up.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:04 PM
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First things first. It is CORRUGATED, not cardboard. It has a fluted structure between the flat liners. Ignorance Fought.
Perhaps in the professional pizza box making industry you have some fancy technical terminology and a secret handshake, but in colloquial English "corrugated" is an adjective, and the stuff pizza boxes are made from is called corrugated cardboard. Or, in situations where the particular type of cardboard is not relevant to what's being discussed, we might just call it "cardboard" for short. Sheer laziness, but that's amateurs for you.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:12 PM
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On the other hand, with the right design and materials, a geodesic dome can be an excellent solution

https://youtu.be/wuOjoU27wx4?t=217
Interesting, thanks for posting. I wonder if it's the sort of thing where if more people built them, the money would justify innovation, troubleshooting, etc. It looks like the sort of thing they might build on another planet some day.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:26 PM
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Square boxes are cheaper.

You stole this question from the Constant Contact commercial.
I guess she's supposed to be looking pensive, but I think the lady in that commercial looks like she's been kicked in the head by a horse.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:59 AM
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No, it wouldn't save cardboard.

The corrugated cardboard is made in long rectangular sheets. Round or octagon boxes would just be cut out of the rectangular sheets, and the corner piece scraps discarded*. So the same amount of cardboard would be used up in making round or octagon boxes.

* These days, the scraps would probably be recycled somehow. But it's still original manufactured cardboard that gets used up.
Plus, the cardboard comes in flat sheets. There is no way to make the vertical sides curved without kinking the corrugations making it somewhat weaker. Domino's boxes with a square lid enclosing an octagonal interior is probably the best approximation.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:44 PM
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Yes, but not dramatically. The whole oven is hot, and the heat source is mostly above and below. The corner would be slightly crispier than the rest of the crust.

In Italy there are lots of pizza shops where you can buy pizza by the kilo, and they are cooked in rectangles (presumably whatever the maximum size the oven will take) and cut in rectangles. Commonly eaten by cutting in half and putting the pieces together as a sandwich with the toppings on the inside.
In 1962 or so an Italian bakery near my Hebrew School sold Sicilian pizza which was baked in big rectangles. Damn good pizza too, though my teachers were not thrilled with the sausage.
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:08 PM
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Even worse - when the pizza delivery guy drives to your house on a parkway, and then parks in your driveway.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:02 AM
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No, it wouldn't save cardboard.

The corrugated cardboard is made in long rectangular sheets. Round or octagon boxes would just be cut out of the rectangular sheets, and the corner piece scraps discarded*. So the same amount of cardboard would be used up in making round or octagon boxes.

* These days, the scraps would probably be recycled somehow. But it's still original manufactured cardboard that gets used up.
Surely there are uses for square pieces of cardboard with a round hole cut out—packing material for large pots, platters, and other crockery, perhaps?
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:24 AM
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it's easier to make pizzas into circles
it's easier to make boxes into squares.


Same reason why hamburgers are made circular
and put into square boxes.

Also squares/boxes are stackable where as circular is more difficult to stack.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:18 PM
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Wendy's hamburgers start square but they way they are cooked they end up more rectangular. Still use round buns.
That's different. The area of the burger is intended to be such that when placed on a round bun, the four corners stick out. Makes the customer think it's an oversized patty. But obviously you can't have part of a pizza sticking out of the box.
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:06 AM
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Pizza is round, because that shape is the more natural shape for formed dough. It also is easier to cook consistently that a square pizza.
When cooked individually in a traditional pizza oven, a square pizza will get burned corners.
Square is possible, but typically require a fancier oven with conveyor belt and for the pizza to be cut into squares after cooking, thus losing that essential part of Pizza that is The Crust.
Thus, almost all Pizza are circular(ish)

Boxes tend to be square(well, rectangular), because that are manufactured as flat sheets of stuff that is then folded into a container.
And if you want a container with an attached lid, that lid's hinge HAS to be on a straight edge.
It *is* possible to fold a flat sheet into a complex shape, but this requires either more cut-out wastage or much-much more complex folding. (think Origami)
Thus, almost all Pizza boxes are rectangular.
The best fit rectangle for a single circular object is.... a square.

p.s.
I have seen rectangular pizza boxes.. typically for a 2-pizza special, or for a pizza-with-side-dish combo.

I have also seen octagonal pizza boxes. They tended to break along the hinge line.

I have also seen a pizza box shaped like a Clam. (round body, flat hinge along one edge).
it was heck to carry without the thing flopping open unexpectedly!
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