Behold Franco Oddo's pizza serving tray. A cardboard rendition of a serving platform with handles that fits snugly into a regular pizza box, the invention may well make the owner of VIPizza Bayside's newest millionaire."Five years ago I had this in mind," Oddo said during a recent visit to his pizzeria at 43-02 Bell Blvd. "I wanted to make it easier for my customers to have their pizza."The premise is basic: with the Pizza-Serve TM tray (patent pending) resting underneath a fresh pie, customers can grab the handles and lift the entire concoction out of the box without mess or fuss. Delivery boxes will not be destroyed nor will pristine pies be disrupted. "You have parties, you order pizza, but you don't want to have boxes everywhere," Oddo said. "Also, it makes the boxes stronger."Oddo launched a test run of the pizza tray recently using VIPizza, which he has owned for 20 years of its 45-year history, as his laboratory. He ordered a couple thousand prototypes and sent them out with large pie orders. He included surveys for customers to send back their comments, which ranged from laudatory compliments about the food ("Great pizza!") but no mention of the tray, to more specific insights praising the sturdiness of Oddo's invention."I finished (the tray) last year and filed for a patent," said the 48-year-old Great Neck resident. Although he came up with the idea a few years ago, Oddo took his time finding the right manufacturer and patent attorney as well as deciding whether or not he wanted to pursue the notoriously difficult path to invention fame."I had to figure out if I really wanted to do it," said Oddo, who estimated he has spent more than $4,000 on his invention. He has even started a company to launch the product, called V.I. Innovations Corp., whose motto reads: "Pizza delivery shouldn't stop at the front door. Now, with Pizza-Serve TM it doesn't have to."But Oddo is optimistic about the chances for his big break. "It will make it because it's a very great idea. It's a product that people will use," he said. "It's helpful for the customers." He noted that the tray is suitable for bakery cakes, too, as well as any other variety of foods that are hard to maneuver out of a box.And, of course, if Oddo's product takes off, he could be the next savior of hungry, pizza box-destroying college students nationwide."I hope to market it to the big chains," he said. "I'm in contact with Papa John's now."Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.Visit www.pizzaserve.com for more information.
©2005 Community News Group
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