Patent application title: BEVERAGE SERVING TRAY INSERT
Amale Anderson (Boca Raton, FL, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47F728FI
Class name: Supports: racks special article receptacle support
Publication date: 2012-04-26
Patent application number: 20120097627
A tray insert device formed of a paper substrate is adapted for temporary
insertion onto a correspondingly shaped serving tray. A top side of the
insert device has an arrangement of designated beverage placement areas,
each being intended for taking an individual customer's order. The
beverage placement areas are color-coded and numbered for convenience.
Customer orders are written in the beverage placement areas and then the
drinks or dishes that were ordered by each customer are placed in their
respective areas corresponding to the specific customers to make the
taking and delivering of orders easier, organized and more efficient.
1. An apparatus for taking, organizing, and delivering orders of
beverages and food comprising: a beverage serving tray having a top
surface for supporting a plurality of beverages thereon; and a sheet
substrate that is sized and configured for placement on the top surface
of the beverage tray, wherein the sheet substrate has an upper exposed
and visible surface.
2. The apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein the sheet substrate's upper exposed surface is divided into equally sized beverage placement areas surrounding a central area.
3. The apparatus as recited in claim 2 wherein the beverage placement areas include a writable surface for taking customers' orders.
4. A method of organizing and delivering beverage orders to customers in an establishment: providing a beverage tray having a top surface for supporting a plurality of beverages thereon; providing a sheet substrate that is sized and configured for placement on the top surface of the beverage tray, and the sheet substrate having an upper exposed and visible surface; dividing the upper exposed surface into a plurality of equally sized beverage placement areas surrounding a central area; associating each of the plurality of beverage placement areas with a specific customer; providing a writable surface within each of the plurality of beverage areas for writing notes including a beverage order for the specific associated customer; filling beverage orders for all customers associated with the plurality of beverage placement areas; placing each customer's ordered beverage within the beverage placement area associated with that customer; and delivering the beverages to the customers and identifying each customer's ordered beverage based on the positioned arrangement of the beverages within the beverage placement areas.
 This non-provisional patent application is based on provisional
patent application Ser. No. 61/455,805 filed on Oct. 26, 2010.
 Some embodiments of the disclosure may relate to order-taking devices and, more particularly, to a disposable color-coordinated order-taking tray insert device.
 Servers in a cocktail lounge or restaurant often take the beverage orders for anywhere up to 8 or more people. Typically a server will use a white paper order pad to take orders from patrons at one or more tables. The server then presents the order to a bartender. When the beverages are prepared, the server loads them on a serving tray and delivers them to the patrons. However, it can be confusing for the server to remember who ordered which beverage and the server may need to ask customers to confirm their order. This can be inconvenient for both the server and the customer, particularly if the ordered beverage belongs at another table. Additionally, it is fairly common for orders to be wrong or forgotten entirely. When the server goes to the bar and asks the bartender for the desired beverages, it is easy for an order to be filled wrong due to the poor ordering system.
 In light of the problems associated with existing beverage ordering methods, there remains a desperate need for a cheap, disposable ordering system that is effective at detailing who ordered which item, particularly at large dinner parties.
 While certain aspects of conventional technologies have been discussed and presented to facilitate disclosure of some embodiments. Applicants in no way disclaim these technical aspects, and it is contemplated that the attached claims may encompass one or more of the conventional technical aspects discussed herein.
 In this specification where a document, act or item of knowledge is referred to or discussed, this reference or discussion is not an admission that the document, act or item of knowledge or any combination thereof was at the priority date, publicly available, known to the public, part of common general knowledge, or otherwise constitutes prior art under the applicable statutory provisions; or is it known to be relevant to an attempt to solve any problem with which this specification is concerned.
 Some embodiments may address one or more of the problems and deficiencies discussed above. However, it is contemplated that some embodiments may prove useful in addressing other problems and deficiencies in a number of technical areas. Therefore the claims should not necessarily be construed as limited to addressing any of the particular problems or deficiencies discussed herein.
 Some embodiments may include a tray insert device adapted for temporary use in a correspondingly shaped serving tray. The insert device is composed of a cheap-to-produce recyclable paper substrate for writing on. The insert device is divided into segments (i.e. segments) of equal size. At the outer end of each segment is a circular shaped area of lined paper intended for writing orders on. Each segment and ordering area on the serving tray insert device is intended to be used for marking down and serving the order of that specific customer and subsequent placement of the ordered beverage within that ordering area corresponding to the customer who ordered the beverage. All of the segments and beverage placement areas are numbered and color coded for convenience.
 An advantage provided by certain embodiments is providing a much easier and more convenient system for taking beverage orders.
 These and other advantages of some embodiments are more readily apparent with reference to the detailed description and accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 For a fuller understanding of the nature of some embodiments, reference should be made to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
 FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the beverage serving tray insert according to a first embodiment.
 FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the beverage serving tray insert according to the first embodiment.
 FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the beverage serving tray insert according to a second embodiment.
 Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SOME EMBODIMENTS
 The term "some" as used herein is defined as "none, or one, or more than one, or all." Accordingly, the terms "none," "one," "more than one," "more than one, but not all" or "all" would all fall under the definition of "some." The term "some embodiments" may refer to no embodiments or to one embodiment or to several embodiments or to all embodiments. Accordingly, the term "some embodiments" is defined as meaning "no embodiment, or one embodiment, or more than one embodiment, or all embodiments."
 The terminology and structure employed herein is for describing, teaching and illuminating some embodiments and their specific features and elements and do not limit, restrict or reduce the spirit and scope of the claims or their equivalents.
 More specifically, any terms used herein such as but not limited to "includes," "comprises," "has," "consists," and grammatical variants thereof do NOT specify an exact limitation or restriction and certainly do NOT exclude the possible addition of one or more features or elements, unless otherwise stated, and furthermore must NOT be taken to exclude the possible removal of one or more of the listed features and elements, unless otherwise stated with the limiting language "MUST comprise" or "NEEDS TO include."
 All references herein to any features or elements of some embodiments such as but not limited to "a," "an," "one," "an additional," "another," or "the" feature or element, or grammatical variations thereof, unless otherwise specified by limiting language such as "ONLY ONE . . . " wherein an exact number is specified along with the world "ONLY" or "LIMITED TO", do NOT specifically prevent the inclusion or implementation of more than one of those features or elements, nor do they specifically admit that one or more of those features or elements must be used, unless otherwise specified by the limiting language "MUST have a" or "NEEDS to include one."
 All references herein including language such as but not limited to "one or more," "at least one," or grammatical variants thereof are nonlimiting and may be taken to mean that none of a certain feature or element may be used, or alternatively that only a singular feature or element may be used, or alternatively that only a plurality of elements or features may be used, or alternatively that either a singular or a plurality of features or elements may be used, or alternatively that none or one or more than one features or elements may be used. The use of this terminology herein does NOT specifically admit that more than one feature or element has to be used, nor does it specifically admit that only one feature or element has to be used, unless otherwise specified by the limiting language "MUST BE MORE THAN" or "CANNOT BE MORE THAN." Therefore, whether or not a certain feature or element were limited to being used only once, either way it may still be referred to as "one or more features" or "one or more elements" or "at least one feature" or "at least one element." Furthermore, the use of the terms "one or more" or "at least one" feature or element do NOT preclude there being none of that feature or element, unless otherwise specified by limiting language such as "there NEEDS to be one or more . . . " or "one or more element is REQUIRED."
 Unless otherwise defined, all terms, and especially any technical and/or scientific terms, used herein may be taken to have the same meaning as commonly understood by one having an ordinary skill in the art.
 Reference is made herein to some "embodiments." It should be understood that an embodiment is an example of a possible implementation of any features and/or elements presented in the attached claims. Some embodiments have been described for the purpose of illuminating one or more of the potential ways in which the specific features and/or elements of the attached claims fulfill the requirements of uniqueness, utility and non-obviousness.
 Use of the phrases and/or terms such as but not limited to "a first embodiment," "a further embodiment," "an alternate embodiment," "one embodiment," "an embodiment," "multiple embodiments," "some embodiments," "other embodiments," or variants thereof do NOT necessarily refer to the same embodiments. For example, language such as "some embodiments include a feature" followed by "some embodiments include an element" does NOT necessarily admit that both of the feature and the element are included in all of the same embodiments.
 Unless otherwise specified, one or more particular features and/or elements described in connection with one or more embodiments may be found in one embodiment, or may be found in more than one embodiment, or may be found in all embodiments, or may be found in no embodiments.
 Although one or more features and/or elements may be described herein in the context of only a single embodiment, or alternatively in the context of more than one embodiment, or further alternatively in the context of all embodiments, the features and/or elements may instead be provided separately or in any appropriate combination or not at all. Conversely, any features and/or elements described in the context of separate embodiments may alternatively be realized as existing together in the context of a single embodiment.
 Any and all details set forth herein are used in the context of some embodiments and therefore should NOT be necessarily taken as limiting factors to the attached claims. Any descriptions of elements and/or features and/or the materials used to create those elements or features, or examples or methods included in the descriptions of the various embodiments are nonlimiting and are given as an illustration only. Accordingly, the embodiments can be manufactured, distributed, used, practiced, and carried out in numerous ways.
 The attached claims and their legal equivalents can be realized in the context of embodiments other than the ones used as illustrative examples in the description herein.
 Referring to the several views of the drawings, the beverage serving tray insert is shown in accordance with some embodiments. In each of these embodiments, the beverage serving tray insert is generally indicated as 10.
 Reference is now made to FIG. 1. The insert device 10 may be formed entirely of a disposable, recyclable, easy to produce paper. The device 10 includes a middle portion 20 for writing down an order for the entire table of patrons (e.g. an appetizer to be shared, etc.). Device 10 also includes a number of evenly sized segments. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, there may be eight segments 1-8. Included in each segment 1-8 are circular beverage placement areas 11-18, respectively. The beverage placement areas 11-18 include lines for writing specific customers' orders. Segment 1 is used as a reference to where the server stands in relation to a table having multiple customers seated at the table. This position of the device 10 relative to the server and customers seated at the table may be more easily distinguished by the presence of the extra tab 22. Each of the beverage placement areas 11-18 includes a writeable surface that may include horizontal lines. Orders for each customer are written in the beverage placement area corresponding to the particular customer, which may be based on the position of the customer at the table corresponding to the position of the beverage placement area 11-18 on the device 10.
 Additional reference is now made to FIG. 2. Device 10 is placed on top of a tray T as shown. Once an order is taken, filled, and served, the device 10 is disposed of. Device 10 is easily removed from the tray T by pulling on the extra tab 22. This is particularly helpful if the device 10 becomes very wet and starts to stick to the tray T.
 Additional reference is now made to FIG. 3. Device 10 may include numbers 24 printed within the beverage placement areas 11-18 to make delivery of beverage orders to each customer even easier. The numbers are printed as the same color as the beverage placement area 11-18 that they are in so that they do not interfere with writing in that area (i.e. writing over a number will be very visible).
 For example, if five people are having dinner and each order a different beverage, the server would mark down each of their drinks in their respective beverage placement areas 11-18 (only 5 of those 8 would actually be used for a party of five people). When the order is filled, the beverages are placed on their respective beverage placement areas 11-18 by the bartender to make serving the beverages easier. When the server returns with the drinks, it is easy for him or her to quickly deliver the order by knowing who ordered which beverage. The beverage placement areas 11-18 make it particularly easy for a bartender to fill out an order without making a mistake. The beverage placement areas 11-18 also make it easy for an alternate server to serve an order without having taken the order him or herself (and thus not previously knowing who ordered which beverage).
 Throughout the detailed description and the accompanying drawings enclosed herein, some embodiments have been shown, described and detailed, wherein a variety of possible elements and/or features may be formed and configured in different ways. Accordingly, any and all possible combinations of the elements and/or features described in accordance with these various embodiments, such as having more or less than eight segments 1-8, may be desirable to manufacturers and/or may help to more successfully meet customers' specific needs and/or preferences. Consequently, any and all possible combinations of the features or elements of one embodiment or more than one embodiment or all embodiments mentioned herein are fully considered within the spirit and scope of the attached claims and their legal equivalents.
 Thus, some embodiments of a beverage serving tray insert have been disclosed. Other embodiments are contemplated and envisioned, and therefore it is recognized that departures from the embodiments described in this disclosure may certainly exist within the spirit and scope of the attached claims and their legal equivalents. Those having an ordinary skill in the will envision other possible variations and modifications to features and/or elements of the embodiments, and they will envision other possible embodiments, all of which may fall within the spirit and scope of the attached claims. The spirit and scope of the attached claims is therefore NOT limited by the descriptions and illuminations of the embodiments that have already been presented, but rather the spirit and scope can only be defined by the attached claims and their legal equivalents as interpreted under the doctrine of equivalents. Variations, alternatives, adjustments, modifications, tunings, and deviations from the embodiments of the instant disclosure are fully contemplated and envisioned within the spirit and scope of the attached claims.
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