When it comes to Firehouse Subs’ popular meatball sandwich, customers expect to receive it piping hot and fresh whether they’re in the restaurant or not. A Firehouse Subs owner in Stone Park, Illinois, set out to find a product that would allow him to keep both hot and cold foods at the ideal temperature while delivering catering orders.
Sam Stanovich, Firehouse Subs Owner and Area Representative of North Illinois and Northwest Indiana, made a chance encounter with a Cambro employee while working with the National Restaurant Association Military Foundation in 2017. She told him about Cambro’s soon-to-launch product line called Cam GoBoxes that she believed would solve his catering problems. At the time, Stanovich was a combination of different pizza bags, other types of insulated bags and hard-sided carriers. The random assortment of insulated bags wasn’t meeting Stanovich’s standards since they weren’t built for the types of deliveries he was making.
“We went to the [National Restaurant Association] show and basically, we fell in love with the product and said, ‘this is exactly what we needed’,” said Stanovich.
A few months after the trade show, Stanovich saw the product was stocked at local retailers and immediately purchased a few to test out.
“As soon as Restaurant Depot started carrying it, we jumped on it—and literally brought the box back to the restaurant and jumped on the box. Because when we were at the NRA show, [Cambro] was giving us the demonstration of the strength and durability, so I literally put the boxes down and had my wife jump on the boxes. Sure enough, they held up,” said Stanovich.
One common misconception about GoBoxes is that they are made of styrofoam (expanded polystyrene). Although they may look like it, that’s where the similarity ends. In actuality, GoBoxes are made of an expanded polypropylene material that provides outstanding thermal insulation, impact and chemical resistance and a remarkably high strength-to-weight ratio. GoBoxes are able to adapt to whatever temperature needs a catering operation has on any given day.
“It works great for both cold or hot…we take them everywhere,” said Stanovich. “I put hot soup in [the GoBoxes], I get where I’m going 30 minutes later and they got hot soup,” said Stanovich.
Firehouse Subs in Stone Park relies on their GoBoxes to continue standard they’ve set for their off-premise delivery operation.
“They are in our delivery vehicles every day, I probably have 12 of them that we bought a couple years ago. We got one, then we got two, then we got four, then we got six—just kept on growing. For us, unlike pizza in the bags, the square boxes were just so much easier to load and move in and out of cars and trunks and everything else,” said Stanovich. “In the restaurant world, employees are hard on the equipment. All the boxes, for two years, have stood the test of time.”
Not only have GoBoxes helped make transporting food more efficient, they have helped streamline their catering operation as a whole.
“It’s really helped our business. We know how much fits in them, we know how to organize, we can use our sticker system that we have to label the boxes and the stickers peel off. They are easy to clean. We don’t have a dish machine, but they hold up with the three-compartment sinks. We can scrub them and make sure they are maintained and clean.”
Stanovich enjoys seeing his customers’ reactions when he arrives with piping hot sandwiches, particularly during the winter.
“When you show up and you pull that lid off and that smell, it’s smell of the food. You know, the box doesn’t hold any odor, so the only thing you’re smelling is the food. You pull that lid off, and we do a lot of hot meatballs…that meatball smell hits you, it does nothing but make you hungry. Especially when it’s cold out, you almost get a plume of steam that comes out of the box,” said Stanovich.
It’s important to have the right equipment to support your operation. Ensure your food is at its best no matter where you’re taking it. Contact your Cambro sales rep to find the right Cambro products for your business.