Title:
Carousel condiment organizer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A condiment table organizer accommodates single serving condiments, such as creamer, butter, etc. The organizer includes a base and a vertical post extending from the base. A circular condiment carousel is attached to the post at a position above the base. The carousel has a plurality of open-sided circular condiment receptacles defined in its outer periphery, each sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment. A pair of side baskets are attached to either side of the base. They are horizontally displaced from the base by a distance at least equal to the radius of the carousel so as to not interfere with the loading or removal of the condiments held by the carousel. A display card holder may also be attached to the post above the carousel. A second condiment carousel may be included on the post above the first carousel to hold additional or different condiments.



Inventors:
Morgan, Thomas E. (Beloit, WI, US)
Application Number:
09/859178
Publication Date:
11/21/2002
Filing Date:
05/16/2001
Assignee:
MORGAN THOMAS E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/78, 211/163
International Classes:
A47G19/30; A47G23/08; (IPC1-7): A47F5/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060213847Apparatus for storing lengths of pipeSeptember, 2006Trisler
20050269278Parts organizerDecember, 2005Gipson
20060289371Storage device for laboratory samples having storage racks and a shakerDecember, 2006Malin
20070175844Shelf dividerAugust, 2007Schneider
20090120887MOBILE GARMENT CARRIERMay, 2009Meehan
20080149656Dispensing Support Device and Dispensing Support MethodJune, 2008Yuyama et al.
20050067307Snap buckle structure of hangtag for toolsMarch, 2005Kao
20060254992Dishwasher with slip-preventing device for bowlNovember, 2006Lim
20090016879FAN AND FRAME WITH SENSOR-SUPPORTING STRUCTURE THEREOFJanuary, 2009Chen et al.
20070119805Overhead storage systemsMay, 2007Nawrocki
20090255133SECURE KNIFE LOCKER AND SANITIZING SYSTEMOctober, 2009Bonapace



Primary Examiner:
TRAN, KHOA H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG VOIT & MAYER, LTD. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A condiment table organizer, comprising a base having a vertical post extending therefrom, and a condiment carousel positioned on said post vertically displaced from said base, said condiment carousel defining therein a plurality of condiment receptacles, each condiment receptacle sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment.

2. The organizer of claim 1, wherein said condiment carousel is rotatably positioned on said post.

3. The organizer of claim 2, further comprising a display card holder attached to said vertical post and extending vertically above said condiment carousel.

4. The organizer of claim 2, further comprising a pair of condiment side baskets affixed in spaced relation on either side of said base.

5. The organizer of claim 4, wherein at least one of said condiment side baskets includes a divider wall positioned therein forming two condiment storage areas.

6. The organizer of claim 5, wherein said divider wall is positioned within said condiment side basket to form two condiment storage areas of unequal size.

7. The organizer of claim 1, wherein said condiment carousel has a circular outer periphery, and wherein each of said condiment receptacles is circular and positioned about said circular outer periphery to intersect said outer periphery thereby forming an open-sided condiment receptacle.

8. The organizer of claim 1, wherein said condiment carousel has a circular outer periphery, and wherein each of said condiment receptacles is rectangular and positioned about said circular outer periphery to intersect said outer periphery thereby forming an open-sided condiment receptacle.

9. The organizer of claim 1, wherein said condiment carousel is formed as a plurality of outward-facing open sided circular condiment receptacles positioned about a central point to form a circular outer periphery.

10. The organizer of claim 9, wherein said condiment carousel further comprises a diametric support member having a central hub sized to accommodate said post.

11. The organizer of claim 1, further comprising a second condiment carousel positioned on said post vertically displaced from said first condiment carousel, said second condiment carousel defining therein a plurality of condiment receptacles, each condiment receptacle sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment.

12. The organizer of claim 1 1, wherein each of said condiment carousels are rotatably positioned on said post.

13. A condiment table organizer, comprising: a base having a vertical post extending therefrom; and a circular condiment carousel attached to said vertical post at a position vertically displaced from said base, said condiment carousel having a plurality of open-sided circular condiment receptacles defined in an outer periphery thereof.

14. The organizer of claim 13, further comprising a pair of side baskets attached to either side of said base and horizontally displaced therefrom by a distance at least approximately equal to a radius of said circular condiment carousel.

15. The organizer of claim 14, wherein each of said side baskets have a width sized to accommodate a width of a single serving sweetener package.

16. The organizer of claim 13, wherein each of said open-sided circular condiment receptacles has a diameter sized to accommodate a single serving creamer container.

17. The organizer of claim 13, further comprising a second circular condiment carousel attached to said vertical post at a position vertically displaced from said first circular condiment carousel, said second circular condiment carousel having a plurality of open-sided rectangular condiment receptacles defined in an outer periphery thereof.

18. The organizer of claim 17, wherein each of said open-sided rectangular condiment receptacles is dimensioned to accommodate a single serving butter container.

19. The organizer of claim 13, wherein said condiment carousel is rotatable about said post.

20. A condiment table organizer, comprising: a base having a vertical post extending therefrom; a circular condiment carousel attached to said vertical post at a position vertically displaced from said base, said condiment carousel having a plurality of open-sided circular condiment receptacles defined in an outer periphery thereof, each open-sided circular condiment receptacle sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment; a pair of side baskets attached to either side of said base and horizontally displaced therefrom by a distance at least approximately equal to a radius of said circular condiment carousel; and a display card holder attached to said vertical post and extending vertically above said condiment carousel.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates generally to condiment organizers for use in restaurants and diners, and more particularly to a carousel condiment organizer for use in such establishments.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Partly as a result of the growing economy and partly due to the increased numbers of families in which both spouses work, dining out has reached an all time high. In these times of hectic schedules, dining out has become almost as much a necessity as a luxury. Dining out provides couples and families the time to sit and enjoy each other's company and share their activities of the day without the added stress and time pressures of the meal preparation and clean up associated with dining at home. For individuals, dining out provides the ability to consume a well-balanced meal in single serving portions without the difficulties of leftover storage, which is often necessitated when trying to prepare only a single serving portion of a meal at home.

[0003] With increased consumer demand comes increased competition in the restaurant industry. Discerning diners demand clean orderly service and amenities. Oftentimes, a diner's first impression of the appearance of the restaurant and dining area determines whether or not that diner will become a repeat customer for that establishment. With their hectic schedules, diners do not like to sit at a table that is cluttered in a non-organized way with the various condiments and utensils required during the meal.

[0004] Recognizing the necessity of providing a clean, orderly, and organized setting for their diners, restaurateurs utilize many types of table organizers for the storage of the most typically used condiments, including salt and pepper, and sugar and sugar substitutes. Some table organizers utilized by various restaurants and diners also include storage locations for ketchup and mustard, depending on the fare which they serve.

[0005] Despite the restaurateurs' apparent recognition of the need of providing an organized, non-cluttered dining environment for their patrons, and despite the fact that a majority of diners enjoy coffee with their meals, many of whom take cream in their coffee, table organizers available on the market do not accommodate the organization of such cream. Instead, many restaurants and diners simply employ a small saucer or cup to hold several individual containers of cream for the patron to use. Other diners and restaurants simply forego such usage of a small saucer to contain the individual servings of cream, albeit in a cluttered fashion, and simply set a few individual cream containers on the table. This presents a very unprofessional and cluttered environment for the patron who must now deal with several individual cream containers strewn on the dining table. Such a situation decreases a patron's overall dining experience, and may well result in a lack of repeat business.

[0006] There exists, therefore, a need in the art for a table organizer that accommodates the condiments used by a majority of diners, including cream, to enhance their dining experience and maximize the possibility of repeat business by providing a clean, organized, and uncluttered dining environment.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] In view of the above, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved condiment table organizer that overcomes the above and other problems existing in the art. Specifically, it is an object of the present invention to provide a condiment table organizer that holds in a neat and organized way individual serving condiments, e.g., coffee creamers, butter, jams and jellies, etc.

[0008] In one embodiment of the invention, a condiment table organizer comprises a base having a vertical post extending from the base. A condiment carousel is positioned on the post vertically displaced from the base. This condiment carousel includes condiment receptacles sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment. Preferably, the condiment carousel may be rotated on the post. The organizer may also include a display card holder attached to the vertical post above the condiment carousel. A pair of condiment side baskets may also be affixed in a spaced relation on either side of the base. At least one of the condiment side baskets includes a divider wall that forms two condiment storage areas within the basket. Preferably, the divider wall is positioned within the condiment side basket to form two condiment storage areas of unequal size.

[0009] In a preferred embodiment, the condiment carousel has a circular outer periphery, and each of the condiment receptacles is circular. They are positioned about the circular outer periphery at a position to intersect the outer periphery, thereby forming an open-sided condiment receptacle. Alternatively, each of the condiment receptacles is rectangular and positioned about the circular outer periphery to intersect the outer periphery to form an open-sided condiment receptacle. In another embodiment, the condiment carousel is formed as a plurality of outward-facing open sided circular condiment receptacles positioned about a central point to form a circular outer periphery. Preferably, the condiment carousel further comprises a diametric support member having a central hub sized to accommodate the post.

[0010] In a further embodiment, the organizer further comprises a second condiment carousel positioned on the post vertically displaced from the first condiment carousel. This second condiment carousel also includes condiment receptacles, each sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment. Preferably, each of the condiment carousels are rotatably positioned on the post.

[0011] In an alternate embodiment, a condiment table organizer, comprises a base having a vertical post, and a circular condiment carousel attached to the vertical post at a position vertically displaced from the base. This condiment carousel has a number of open-sided circular condiment receptacles defined in its outer periphery. Preferably, the organizer further comprises a pair of side baskets attached to either side of the base. The side baskets are horizontally displaced from the base by a distance at least approximately equal to a radius of the circular condiment carousel. Each of the side baskets has a width sized to accommodate a width of a single serving sweetener package. Preferably, each of the open-sided circular condiment receptacles has a diameter sized to accommodate a single serving creamer container.

[0012] In a preferred embodiment, the organizer further comprises a second circular condiment carousel attached to the vertical post at a position vertically displaced from the first circular condiment carousel. This condiment carousel has a number of open-sided rectangular condiment receptacles defined in its outer periphery. Each of the open-sided rectangular condiment receptacles is dimensioned to accommodate a single serving butter container. Preferably, the condiment carousel is rotatable about the post.

[0013] In yet a further embodiment, a condiment table organizer comprises a base having a vertical post extending therefrom and a circular condiment carousel attached to the vertical post at a position vertically displaced from the base. This condiment carousel has a plurality of open-sided circular condiment receptacles defined in its outer periphery, each of which is sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment. A pair of side baskets are attached to either side of the base and are horizontally displaced from it by a distance at least approximately equal to the radius of the circular condiment carousel. The organizer also includes a display card holder attached to the vertical post above the condiment carousel.

[0014] Other objectives and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The accompanying drawings incorporated in and forming a part of the specification illustrate several aspects of the present invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

[0016] FIG. 1 is an isometric illustration of an embodiment of a table condiment organizer constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

[0017] FIG. 2 is an isometric illustration of an alternate embodiment of a table condiment organizer constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 3 is a top view illustration of the condiment table organizer illustrated in FIG. 1;

[0019] FIG. 4 is a top view illustration of an embodiment of a condiment carousel constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 5 is a top view illustration of an alternate embodiment of a condiment carousel constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 6 is an isometric illustration of a further alternate embodiment of a condiment table organizer constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention; and

[0022] FIG. 7 is an isometric illustration of yet a further embodiment of a condiment table organizer constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

[0023] While the invention will be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, there is no intent to limit it to those embodiments. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0024] A table condiment organizer 10 constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in isometric form in FIG. 1. This organizer 10 may be placed on countertops and tables to place such individual condiments such as cream, sugar, jams and jellies, butter, etc. and such other condiments such as salt and pepper within the customer's reach. This organizer 10 offers the items in a neat and compact arrangement that assures the user that the restaurant or diner cares how the food is prepared and presented. By using this organizer 10, a restaurant or diner may reduce the clutter which often results from the provision of individual creamer containers 38 that are, as described above, often simply strewn on a table or randomly placed in a small saucer for use by the patron.

[0025] In accordance with the present invention, the organizer 10 includes a base 12 from which a vertical rod or shaft 14 extends. A condiment carousel 16 is positioned on the post 14 at a position vertically displaced above the base 12. In this way, individual serving condiments, such as individual coffee creamer containers 38 may be held by the condiment carousel 16 within individual condiment receptacles 18 without interfering with the base 12. A display card or placard holder 20 may also be included with the organizer 10 by positioning it on the post 14 above the condiment carousel 16. This display card holder 12 may take various forms, and functions to hold advertisements, menu items, or other placards or display cards as desired by the restaurant or diner.

[0026] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the organizer 10 includes condiment side baskets 22, 24 that are horizontally displaced on either side of the base 12 at a distance at least approximately equal to the radius of the condiment carousel 16 so as to not interfere with the individual serving condiments held in the condiment receptacles 18. The side baskets 22, 24 preferably include a divider wall 26, 28 that divides the side baskets 22, 24 into two separated compartments. The divider walls may be oriented as illustrated in FIG. 1 (26, 28), or may be oriented as illustrated in FIG. 2 (26′, 28′). These compartments may be of equal size, or may be of unequal size to accommodate different types of condiments. For example, a front portion of the side baskets 22, 24 may be used to hold individual sugar and artificial sweetener packets stacked upright, one behind the other, while the back portion of the side baskets 22, 24 may be used to store salt and pepper shakers. To enhance the orderly nature of the condiment storage, the side baskets 22, 24 are preferably of a width approximately equal to the width of a standard individual sugar or artificial sweetener package. In one embodiment, this width is set to approximately two inches. Likewise, the height of the side baskets 22, 24 are sized to accommodate the individual sugar and artificial sweetener packages in an orderly fashion, preferably allowing at least a portion of these individual serving size sugar and sweetener packages to extend vertically above the sidewall of the side baskets 22, 24 to aid in proper selection of the desired sweetener.

[0027] As may be seen from the top view illustration of the organizer 10 illustrated in FIG. 3, the side baskets 22, 24 do not need to be of a solid construction. Indeed, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the side baskets 22, 24 utilize a center bottom support member 30, 32 to form the bottom support for the side baskets 22, 24. In addition to reducing the material costs of the construction of such an organizer 10, such a construction also prevents the accumulation of loose salt, sugar, sweetener, pepper, or other particulate matter that may otherwise tend to accumulate in the bottom of a side basket utilizing a solid box type construction. Such a construction also prevents the accumulation of any moisture or spilled liquids that will tend to contaminate the condiments stored therein.

[0028] The horizontal displacement of the side baskets 22, 24 in relation to the diameter of the circular condiment carousel 16 may also be seen in this FIG. 3. By positioning the side baskets 22, 24 at a horizontal distance at least equal to a radius of the condiment carousel 16, a user will not inadvertently knock off the individually packaged condiments held by the condiment carousel 16 when retrieving the individually packaged sugar or artificial sweetener packets from the side baskets 22, 24. As an additional feature to enhance the user's experience when using the organizer 10, the condiment carousel 16 may be rotatable by the user to allow easier access to the individually packaged condiments stored in condiment receptacles 18 on the far side from the user. This feature is particularly useful when the display card holder 20 is included and holding a display placard.

[0029] An embodiment of the condiment carousel 16 is illustrated in FIG. 4. As may be seen from this embodiment, the condiment carousel 16 has a circular outer periphery, and each of the condiment receptacles 18 is circular. Preferably, each of the condiment receptacles 18 is positioned about the circular outer periphery to intersect this periphery thereby forming open-sided condiment receptacles 18. These open-sided condiment receptacles 18 allow enhanced access to the individually packaged condiments held in the receptacles 18. In other words, a patron is not required to lift out the individually packaged single serving condiments held in the receptacles 18. As an example of this enhanced ability to remove the individually packaged single serving condiments, assume that these condiments are individually packaged single servings of coffee creamer 38 (FIGS. 1, 2). To remove a single coffee creamer, a patron may grasp the coffee creamer and pull horizontally outward to remove it from its receptacle 18. While the present invention contemplates utilizing condiment receptacles that are closed, such requires that the individual condiments be lifted out of their receptacle, which may not be as easy for some patrons. To allow mounting of the condiment carousel on the post 14 (illustrated in FIG. 1), the condiment carousel 16 also includes a diametric support member 34 having a central hub 36 sized to accommodate the post.

[0030] Additionally, while the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4 is particularly well suited for holding individual coffee creamers in the receptacles 18, one skilled in the art will recognize from the above teachings that these receptacles 18 may take other forms. For example, FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the condiment carousel 16′ having rectangular receptacles 18′ in shape to hold different types of individually packaged single serving condiments such as jams and jellies, butter, etc. With each of these alternate embodiments, however, it is preferred that the receptacles be positioned about the outer periphery of the condiment carousel 16 such to intersect this periphery forming open-sided condiment receptacles. To reduce material costs, the condiment carousel may be formed as a plurality of outward facing open-sided circular condiment receptacles positioned about a central point to form the circular outer periphery. To allow mounting of the condiment carousel on the post 14 (illustrated in FIG. 1), the condiment carousel 16′ also includes a diametric support member 34′ having a central hub 36′ sized to accommodate the post.

[0031] As discussed briefly above, the individual condiment receptacles 18 are sized to accommodate an individual serving condiment. In a preferred embodiment the individual serving condiment is a standard single serving coffee creamer container 38 (see FIGS. 1, 2). These individual creamer containers vary somewhat in diameter, typically between approximately 1″ and 1¼″, and include a top lip extending typically {fraction (1/16)}″ to ⅛″ from the container, although these may very by particular vendor. As such, the diameter of the condiment receptacles 18 may vary between approximately 1{fraction (1/16)}″ and 1⅜″ and is preferably set to a diameter of approximately 1⅛″. In this way, individual creamer containers from various manufacturers may be properly supported in the condiment receptacle 18 of the condiment carousel 16. Other dimensions may be appropriate to accommodate other single serving condiments such as butter, jams and jellies, honey, etc. One skilled in the art will recognize from these teachings, that such alternate embodiments of the condiment carousel 16 are within the scope of the present invention. Indeed, an advantage of the present invention is the ability to replace or change one condiment carousel adapted to hold one type of condiment with another as desired.

[0032] This interchangability extends not only to replacing or changing condiment carousels 16, but also to the addition of condiment carousels as illustrated by the organizer 10 of FIG. 6. As may be seen from this illustration, a second condiment carousel 16″ is positioned on the post 14 vertically above the first condiment carousel 16. The spacing between the two condiment carousels 16, 16″ is determined by the types of individual serving condiments held by each. Preferably, these two condiment carousels 16, 16″, are displaced by a minimum of 2″ so as to not interfere with the condiments stored on one carousel when removing those stored on the other. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, the condiment carousel 16 is adapted to hold individual coffee creamer containers, while the second condiment carousel 38 is adapted to hold individual butter containers. As with the previous embodiments discussed, these condiment carousels 16, 16″ may be rotatable on the post 14 to enhance the ability of the user to retrieve condiments stored on the far side from the user.

[0033] In the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 6, the organizer 10 can accommodate approximately 59 condiments in an orderly, neat, and attractive table setting that may even serve as a centerpiece for a guest dining table. In this embodiment, the organizer may hold 8 coffee creamers, 8 butter cubes, 2 salt and pepper shakers, 20 individual sugar packs, 20 individual artificial sweetener packs, and 1 card or placard. Alternatively, 16 creamers may be held with 2 carousels adapted hold creamers. The use of the organizer 10 of the present invention allows nearly 60 items to be contained in one convenient functional fixture, which lets the patrons know that the owner is concerned about their table setting for the patrons' dining pleasure.

[0034] FIG. 7 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the present invention utilizing a side basket support member 40 as the base of the organizer 10. This more spartan embodiment of the organizer 10 further reduces the material costs by eliminating the more aesthetically ornate base 12 of the prior embodiment. To provide support for the vertical post 14 and the condiment carousel 16, a post footer 42 may be sized and configured to contact the table on which the organizer 10 is placed so that, an association with the legs 44, 46 of the side baskets 22, 24, supports the organizer 10 in a stable manner.

[0035] The foregoing description of various embodiments of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise embodiments disclosed. Numerous modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments discussed were chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally, and equitably entitled.