Title:
Roller grill and sneeze guard assembly with attachable signage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A combination roller grill and sneeze guard assembly includes a roller grill assembly having a top cooking surface, a sneeze guard securable over the top cooking surface of the roller grill assembly, the sneeze guard having an elongated groove formed in a top surface thereof, and a sign having a bottom edge secured in the elongated groove of the sneeze guard.



Inventors:
Pearlman, Wade (Oakhurst, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/397931
Publication Date:
09/30/2004
Filing Date:
03/26/2003
Assignee:
PEARLMAN WADE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/234, 312/140.4
International Classes:
A47F10/06; A47J37/04; G09F23/00; (IPC1-7): A47B96/18
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER, DAVID, LITTENBERG, (CRANFORD, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A combination roller grill and sneeze guard assembly comprising: a roller grill assembly having a cooking surface; a sneeze guard securable over the cooking surface of said roller grill assembly, said sneeze-guard having an elongated groove formed in a top surface thereof; and a sign having a bottom edge secured in the elongated groove of said sneeze guard.

2. The combination as claimed in claim 1, wherein said elongated groove has opposing projections adapted to engage the bottom edge of said sign for securely holding said sign in said groove.

3. The combination as claimed in claim 1, wherein said sneeze guard includes an opening for accessing said cooking surface of said sneeze guard when said sneeze guard is secured over said cooking surface of said roller grill.

4. The combination as claimed in claim 3, further comprising a cover for said sneeze guard opening movable between a first open position and a second closed position.

5. The combination as claimed in claim 4, wherein said cover is pivotally attached to said sneeze guard.

6. The combination as claimed in claim 4, wherein said sneeze guard comprises a shell including a top wall, front wall, rear wall and side walls projecting downwardly from said top wall and a rim at lower edges of said front, rear and side walls, wherein said rim is engagable with said roller grill for securing said sneeze guard over said cooking surface of said roller grill.

7. The combination as claimed in claim 6, wherein said elongated groove is formed in said top wall of said sneeze guard shell.

8. The combination as claimed in claim 6, wherein the top wall of said sneeze guard shell is substantially flat and extends in a direction generally parallel to said cooking surface of said roller grill.

9. The combination as claimed in claim 1, wherein said sign includes a substantially transparent front panel for allowing indicia to be viewed through said front panel.

10. The combination as claimed in claim 9, wherein said sign includes said front panel and a rear panel formed of a polymeric material.

11. The combination as claimed in claim 10, wherein said front and rear panels are formed by a single polymeric sheet that is folded to form said two panels.

12. The combination as claimed in claim 11, wherein lower edges of said front and rear panels are secured in said elongated groove of said sneeze guard.

13. The combination as claimed in claim 11, wherein said indicia viewed through said front panel are located on a sheet of material disposed between said front and rear panels.

14. A combination sneeze guard and sign comprising: a sneeze guard having a top surface; an elongated groove formed in said top surface of said sneeze guard; a sign having a bottom edge secured in the elongated groove of said sneeze guard.

15. The combination as claimed in claim 14, wherein said elongated groove has opposing projections adapted to engage the bottom edge of said sign for securely said sign in said groove.

16. The combination as claimed in claim 14, wherein said sneeze guard includes a front opening for accessing an area bounded by said sneeze guard.

17. The combination as claimed in claim 16, further comprising a cover for said front opening movable between a first open position and a second closed position.

18. The combination as claimed in claim 17, wherein said sneeze guard comprises a shell and said cover is pivotally attached to said shell.

19. The combination as claimed in claim 5, wherein said sneeze guard comprises a shell including said top surface, front wall, rear wall and side walls projecting downwardly from said top surface and a rim at lower edges of said front, rear and side walls, wherein said rim is engagable with a roller grill for securing said sneeze guard over a cooking surface of said roller grill.

20. The combination as claimed in claim 19, wherein said top surface of said sneeze guard shell is substantially flat and extends in a direction generally parallel to said cooking surface of said roller grill.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to sneeze guards and more particularly relates to sneeze guards for roller grill assemblies.

[0002] There are a wide variety of heating units, ovens and grills that are used on countertops of retail establishments to sell food items. Such units are designed to facilitate the promotion, selection and purchase of prepared food items. One such unit is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,934 to Wells et al. which teaches a hot oven countertop display unit having a reclosable front door panel opening and an integral upper sign and menu board structure. Referring to FIG. 1, self-service station 10 includes a countertop oven display assembly 12 and a refrigerated condiments server 14. The condiments server 14 includes a rear condiment envelope 16 with top loading openings 18 and lower gravity feed product removal openings 20. The rear condiment envelope 16 includes a sign display area 22. The countertop oven display includes an integral upper frame portion defined by extended corner members projecting above the top wall of the oven body and a plurality of panel members extending between the corner members to define a generally four-sided shroud area. The panel members for the upper frame area may include menu boards, signs, graphics, display panels, photographic display panels, promotional announcement displays and the like which may be secured to the corner post extensions forming upper frame areas.

[0003] U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,471 to Mirza discloses a transportable sign or message holder. Referring to FIG. 1 thereof, a sign holder 10 is formed by folding a single sheet of transparent polymeric material along fold line 11 to form a front panel 12 and a rear panel 13, with a cavity or pouch 14 defined between the two panels 12, 13. A sign 15 is insertable into the pouch 14 so that the sign 15 may be viewed through the clear surface of front panel 12. Lateral movement of the sign 15 within the pouch 14 is limited by a pair of suction cups 16 and 17 inserted through mating holes 18, 19 and 20, 21 formed in the respective front and rear panels 12, 13. Referring to FIG. 7, the suction cups may be replaced with hook elements 30 attached to panels 12 and 13, and loop element 31 attached to a supporting surface 32.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,788,349 to DeMaine et al. discloses an overhead storage system with illuminated signage. The storage system is designed for use in convenience stores, and in particular, fast-food restaurants located within convenience stores. Referring to FIG. 1, a translucent sign panel 19 is mounted to a storage module 12 by brackets 20 and extrusion members 21. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 4, the system includes a fluorescent light fixture 32, with fluorescent bulbs 33 mounted to the brackets 20 between the translucent sign panel 19 and a front panel 17. The fluorescent bulbs 33 illuminate the translucent sign panel 19 for attracting the attention of customers in the area of the storage system.

[0005] In spite of the above advances in retail units, there remains a need for units that better promote the food products being sold and stored therein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In certain preferred embodiments of the present invention, a combination roller grill and sneeze guard assembly includes a roller grill assembly having a cooking surface, a sneeze guard securable over the cooking surface of the roller grill assembly, the sneeze guard having an elongated groove formed in a top surface thereof, and a sign having a bottom edge secured in the elongated groove of the sneeze guard. The elongated groove may have opposing projections adapted to engage the bottom edge of the sign for securely holding the sign in the elongated groove.

[0007] The sneeze guard preferably includes an opening for accessing the cooking surface of the sneeze guard when the sneeze guard is secured over the cooking surface of the roller grill. The opening preferably enables food items to be selected and removed from the cooking surface. The selected food items desirably pass through the opening. The opening may be a front opening. In certain preferred embodiments, a sneeze guard may have both a front opening and a rear opening. The sneeze guard also desirably includes at least one cover movable between a first open position and a second closed position. In certain preferred embodiments, the sneeze guard is a shell having a top wall, front, rear and side walls projecting downwardly from the top wall and a rim at lower edges of said , front, rear and side walls, whereby the rim is engagable with the roller grill for securing the sneeze guard over the cooking surface of the roller grill. In highly preferred embodiments, the sneeze guard has a top wall, a front wall sloping downwardly from the top wall, a rear wall sloping downwardly from the top wall that opposes the front wall, and opposing sidewalls that extend between the front and rear walls.

[0008] The elongated groove for securing the sign is desirably formed in the top wall of the sneeze guard shell. The top wall of the sneeze guard shell may be substantially flat and may extend in a direction generally parallel to the cooking surface of the roller grill, when the sneeze guard is secured over the roller grill.

[0009] In some preferred embodiments, the sign includes a substantially transparent front panel for allowing indicia to be viewed through the front panel. The sign may include the front panel and a rear panel formed of a polymeric material. The front and rear panels may be formed by a single polymeric sheet that is folded to form the two panels. In these preferred embodiments, the lower edges of the front and rear panels are secured in the elongated groove of the sneeze guard. The indicia are preferably disposed on a sheet of material positioned between the front and rear panels.

[0010] In still other preferred embodiments of the present invention, a combination sneeze guard and sign includes a sneeze guard having a top surface, an elongated groove formed in the top surface of the sneeze guard, and a sign having a bottom edge secured in the elongated groove of the sneeze guard. The elongated groove desirably has opposing projections adapted to engage the bottom edge of the sign for securely holding the sign in the elongated groove of the sneeze guard.

[0011] The sneeze guard may also preferably include a front opening for accessing an area bounded by the sneeze guard, and at least one cover for the front opening movable between a first open position and a second closed position.

[0012] In still other preferred embodiments, the sneeze guard may include a shell and a cover pivotally attached to the shell. The shell may include the top surface, side walls projecting downwardly from the top surface and a rim at lower edges of the side walls, whereby the rim is engagable with a roller grill for securing the sneeze guard over a cooking surface of the roller grill. The top surface of the sneeze guard shell is desirably substantially flat and extends in a direction generally parallel to the cooking surface of the roller grill. In other preferred embodiments, the sneeze guard may have a curved exterior surface with the elongated groove formed in the exterior surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a combination sneeze guard and sign, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 shows the sneeze guard of FIG. 1 secured atop a roller grill.

[0015] FIG. 3 shows a top plan view of a sneeze guard, in accordance with other preferred embodiments of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 4 shows a front elevation view of the sneeze guard of FIG. 3.

[0017] FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of an underside of the sneeze guard of FIG. 3.

[0018] FIG. 6 shows a right side elevation view of the sneeze guard of FIG. 3.

[0019] FIG. 7 shows a detailed view of an elongated groove formed in the sneeze guard of FIG. 3, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention.

[0020] FIG. 8 shows another right side elevation view of the sneeze guard of FIG. 3.

[0021] FIG. 9 shows a detailed view of a hinge for a cover for an opening of a sneeze guard, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 10 shows a cross-sectional view of a sign including a front panel, a rear panel integrally connected with the front panel and a sheet of material disposed between the front and rear panels, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a combination sneeze guard and sign, in accordance with certain preferred embodiments of the present invention. The combination includes sneeze guard 20 having a top wall or surface 22, a front wall 24 having an opening 26 therein and a rear wall 28 opposing front wall 24. The sneeze guard 20 also includes left side wall 30 and right side wall 32, which opposes left side wall 30. In certain preferred embodiments, the front wall 24, rear wall 28 and side walls 30, 32 slope downwardly and away from the outer perimeter of top wall 22. The sneeze guard includes a rim 34 that extends along the lower edges of front wall 24, rear wall 28 and side walls 30, 32. In certain preferred embodiments, the sneeze guard is a shell whereby the top wall 22, front wall 24, rear wall 28, side walls 30, 32 and rim 34 are integrally connected to one another.

[0024] Sneeze guard 20 preferably includes an elongated groove 34 formed in the top surface 22 thereof. The elongated groove 34 preferably extends along top surface 22 between left side wall 30 and right side wall 32. A sign 36 having a lower or bottom edge 38 is desirably secured to shell 20 by inserting lower edge 38 into elongated groove 34.

[0025] Referring to FIG. 2, a roller grill 40 includes a top cooking surface 42 comprising a plurality of heatable rollers 44. The sneeze guard 20 is secured over top cooking surface 42 by engaging the rim 34 of sneeze guard 20 with the peripheral edge 46 of roller grill 40. The rollers 44 are preferably designed for rotating food product thereon, such as hot dogs or sausages. The front opening 26 provides access to top cooking surface 42 and the food product stored thereon.

[0026] FIG. 3 shows a sneeze guard, in accordance with other preferred embodiments of the present invention. The sneeze guard 120 includes top wall 122, front wall 124 having front opening 126 and rear wall 128 that opposes front wall 124. Sneeze guard 120 also desirably includes left side wall 130 and right side wall 132 that opposes left side wall 130. The front and rear walls 124, 128, as well as the side walls 130, 132 slope downwardly and outwardly from an outer perimeter 123 of top wall 122. The sneeze guard 120 includes a rim 134 that extends along the lower edges of front wall 124, rear wall 128, left side wall 130 and right side wall 132. The rim desirably facilitates securing sneeze guard 120 over a cooking surface of a roller grill.

[0027] Top wall 122 includes elongated groove 134 that desirably extends between left side wall 130 and right side wall 132. The elongated groove 134 includes projections 148 that extend from opposite sides of groove 134.

[0028] FIG. 4 shows a front elevation view of sneeze guard 120 including top wall 122 having elongated groove 134 formed therein. Sneeze guard 120 includes front wall 124, rear wall 128, left side wall 130 and right side wall 132. Rim 134 extends along the lower edges of front and rear walls and left and right side walls 130, 132.

[0029] Referring to FIG. 5, groove 134 extends between left side wall 130 and right side wall 132. Groove 134 includes opposing projections 148 formed therein for engaging a bottom edge of a sign (not shown). Groove 134 includes a bottom wall 150, which provides a barrier between the exterior of the sneeze guard 120 and the interior of the sneeze guard. Rim 134 extends along the lower or bottom edges of front wall 124, rear wall 128 and side walls 130, 132.

[0030] FIG. 6 shows a right side elevation view of sneeze guard 120 including top wall 122 having groove 134 formed therein. FIG. 7 shows a detailed view of groove 134. The groove includes bottom wall 150 and opposing groove side walls 152A, 152B. Groove 134 also preferably includes opposing projections 138 designed to engage a bottom edge of a sign (not shown) for securely holding the sign in groove 134.

[0031] FIGS. 8 and 9 show a hinge 154 provided on front wall 124 of sneeze guard 120. Referring to FIG. 9, hinge 154 includes a shaft post 156 adapted to receive a shaft 158 secured to an upper portion of a cover 160. The cover 160 is moveable between open and closed positions for selectively providing access to a top cooking surface of a roller grill through opening 126 of front wall 124. In other preferred embodiments, the sneeze guard 120 may include an opening in rear wall, which opposes the opening in front wall. The opening in the rear wall may also be covered with a cover pivotable between an open position and a closed position for covering the opening in the rear wall.

[0032] FIG. 10 shows a sign for insertion into a groove of a sneeze guard. Sign 162 includes a front substantially transparent panel 164 and a rear substantially transparent panel 166. The front and rear panels may be formed from a single sheet of material and integrally connected along edge 168. In certain preferred embodiments, the front and rear panels are made of a polymeric material that may flex apart for inserting a sheet of material 170, such as a paper-based or polymer-based sheet or combination thereof. The sheet of material preferably has indicia printed thereon, such as a menu or pricing information. In other preferred embodiments, the sign may include a piece of paper, cardboard, plastic or other stand alone material that may be inserted into a groove formed in a top wall of a sneeze guard.

[0033] Referring to FIG. 10 in operation, lower edge 172 of sign 162 is inserted into groove 134 until lower edge 172 abuts against bottom wall 150 of groove 134. The projections 138 engage the outer surfaces of front and rear panel 164, 166 for securely holding sign 162 in groove 134.

[0034] Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.