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Intelligent Apparatus for Serving of Meals Based on Weight, Cost, and Nutritional Information

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000246201D
Publication Date: 2016-May-17
Document File: 3 page(s) / 156K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method and system to enable food service establishments to maintain standardization of meal costs and nutritional content while allowing the customer to select ingredients to suit individual tastes. The method uses individualized scales for each ingredient in conjunction with a computerized system for calculating the precise amount of each ingredient that should be added to the meal based on the customer's ingredient preferences and/or a preconfigured standard meal cost or nutritional content.

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Intelligent Apparatus for Serving of Meals Based on Weight, Cost, and Nutritional Information

Many restaurants, cafeterias, and other eateries serve meals containing multiple prepared ingredients. In many of these situations, the customer has the ability to select a desired subset of ingredients. The eateries in question often have a goal of selling a meal with a standardized cost or standardized nutritional content.

The generally accepted method of addressing these needs is for the server to approximate the appropriate amount of each ingredient to add to the customer's meal.

A lesser used but sometimes more appropriate method is for the meal server to weigh

the amount of each ingredient on a single scale before adding to the meal.

Both of these methods present multiple problems. Approximating ingredients is error

prone and can result in non-uniform portions, unbalancing the cost or nutritional content of the meal. Weighing each individual item on a single scale can be time consuming, slowing down the rate of service; can be wasteful, using extra containers to facilitate measurements; and can be error-prone, relying on the server to remember the appropriate weight for each individual ingredient. Additionally, these methods do not account for a standardized cost or nutritional content when the customer requests only a subset of the ingredients.

The core novel idea is to use individualized scales for each ingredient in conjunction

with a computerized system for calculating the precise amount of each ingredient that

should be added to the meal based on the customer's ingredient preferences and/or a preconfigured standard meal cost or nutritional content. In addition, notification lights inform the server as to whether the server has added the correct amount of each ingredient and inform other workers as to when ingredients need to be refilled.

The system comprises an individualized set of ingredient scales, with one scale per

ingredient. These scales accurately measure the amount of each ingredient that is removed from the ingredient tray. The scales work in conjunction with an individual notification light per scale. If a particular ingredient is not needed in the meal, the light remains off. The light turns yellow to indicate that more of a particular ingredient is required in the meal. Once the server has added the appropriate amount of the ingredient to the meal, the light turns green to indicate that the ingredient is finished. If the server has mistakenly removed too much of an ingredient from the tray, the light turns red to indicate that the server should put the removed amount back and instead add a smaller amount to the meal. Once all of the notification lights are off or green, the server...