What's the Difference Between Restaurant, Catering and Pizza Delivery Bags?

June 09, 2022

What's the Difference Between Restaurant, Catering and Pizza Delivery Bags?

When it comes to getting food to its destination hot and fresh, a delivery bag is essential. The question is, what type of bag is best-suited to make the journey? A brown paper bag and a cheap plastic bag just aren’t going to get the job done. Instead, you’ll need to decide between restaurant, catering and pizza delivery bags.

What's the difference between restaurant, catering and pizza delivery bags? While they might all look similar and seem to accomplish the same task, there are some key differences to consider. Your choice of bag could be the difference between fresh and delicious food vs. an entrée that tastes like leftovers.

Let’s take a look at what makes each of these bags unique, and how to make the most of their insulative properties for an ideal delivery, in any situation. 

Insulated restaurant bags

Restaurant delivery bags are a ubiquitous baseline in the world of food delivery. They’re a catchall in that they’re designed to accommodate a wide range of food—from Chinese and sushi to tacos and Italian. These bags are typically square or rectangular with sizes such as 21”x11”x10” (small) or 21”x11”x19” (large).

The key feature of restaurant delivery bags is a removable liner that’s washable. This prevents different food aromas from clinging to the interior of the bag, and it’s great for getting out stains when the pasta sauce container cracks open or the lid slips off the soup. Speaking of, the interior of these bags tends to feature a divider to keep food separate—especially containers that might spill.

Restaurant delivery begs tend to offer the same properties as catering and pizza delivery bags; however, they’re not always as heavily insulated because the trip from restaurant to home tends to be a short, direct one. Food stays fresh in its individually packaged container, kept warm (or cool) by the insulative nature of the bag itself.

When to Use These Bags

These bags are a favorite among restaurants that operate in-house delivery, as well as among food delivery drivers such as Door Dash or Uber Eats. They’re widely applicable across all different food types and great for direct-to-destination deliveries.

Insulated catering bags

Catering bags are specially designed for catering gigs, where food is prepared off-site and brought into a venue. In these situations, the food needs to stay fresher for longer periods: through transport, setup and serving. For example, it might take a caterer two hours to drive from their prep kitchen to an event venue—the food needs to stay fresh the whole time!

To keep food in a temperature-controlled environment for extended periods, insulated catering delivery bags are designed to prevent heat from entering or escaping the bag. This is thanks to a silver reflective material that’s incorporated into the lining. This exponentially reduces temperature fluctuations, which keeps the interior of the bag (and the food) consistent for extended periods of time.

The other key differentiator of insulated catering bags is their functionality. These bags often have both side- and top-load capabilities, to make it easy to pack and unpack different types of food. They’re also heavily stitched, since they’re meant to bear the weight of catering trays and continuous lifting and setting.

When to Use These Bags

These bags are best-suited for catering gigs and any other instance that involves transporting food over long distances or for extended periods. They’re a must-have for any operation that prepares food off-site and transports it to a venue.

Pizza delivery bags

As you might’ve guessed from the name, pizza delivery bags are specifically designed for one use and one use only: delivering a hot, fresh pizza pie! Quite literally, the shape of a pizza bag is only conducive to pizza boxes—whether it’s a single box or a sectioned bag that offers space for several pizzas.

Like the other bags on this list, pizza delivery bags feature thermal insulation that traps heat inside the bag. This is particularly important for pizzas, since the trapped heat will allow them to continue gently cooking on the way to where the pizza is being delivered. Without that trapped heat, you could end up with dry crust, rubbery cheese and greasy toppings.

There are a few other features that make pizza delivery bags unique. Gusset sides that fold inward are more effective at trapping heat, while Velcro straps do a great job at securing flaps closed during transport. Some pizza bags even have compartments that keep drinks cold and pizza hot simultaneously!

When to Use These Bags

Made for pizza specifically, these bags are the best option no matter how large the pizza is or what it’s made of. With insulation on all sides, it’s the perfect way to transport a pie straight from the oven to an eager customer at home.

The difference matters for food delivery

When it comes to food delivery, there’s no substitute for quality. If the food that arrives at your customer’s doorstep isn’t as delicious as it is dining in, you run the risk of losing delivery business. The key to ensuring a quality delivery—delicious food that arrives fresh—rests in choosing the right type of delivery bag.

What's the difference between restaurant, catering and pizza delivery bags? It comes down to their design. The structure, insulation, features and overall bag design each play a big role in keeping food safe and fresh during transport. Restaurant delivery bags are a great catchall for miscellaneous foods. Catering bags keep food fresher for longer. Pizza delivery bags are engineered specifically to deliver the perfect pizza.

No matter what type of food you’re transporting, an investment in the right delivery bag is critical. It doesn’t matter what the food looks, tastes and smells like coming out of the kitchen—it matters what it looks, tastes and smells like when it arrives at your customers’ doorstep. The right bag will go a long way toward ensuring the food they get is food they’ll enjoy.