LED Lights Up Your Menu, A Dine-A-Light Solution

An interview with Gillian Dinnerstein at the National Restaurant Association Conference sheds some light on how to read menus in the dark.

Full Transcription:

Ben Lack:Well, we’re here with Gillian Dinnerstein of Dine-A-Light from Miami. Thanks so much for giving us some of your time.

Gillian Dinnerstein:You’re welcome.

Ben Lack:So you have a really cool, LED application that I would love for you to tell our audience about. Talk to us about your company and what your company does.

Gillian Dinnerstein: I was awarded a patent for a lighted application allowing readability and ambient light in venues. Put in plain English, basically, people complain, a very common complaint, they can’t read menus and their check in a delightful restaurant as well as their evening out, having to fumble around for pen lights where are not so environmentally friendly. They get lost or stolen and disposable batteries cause even less friendly, environmentally. So I was looking for something that was energy efficient and affordable and low-maintenance, easy-to-use low maintenance.

I customized a lithium-ion polymer battery. The customization was necessary because there is no application on the market thin enough to enter into the module, this teeny module, and not bulk up menu panel.And then for loss prevention, we have it securely locked into the menu panel. It releases with a small key and is placed into the dock for charging. It indicates when a charge is taken.

Ben Lack:Oh, because of the flickering?

Gillian Dinnerstein:As you can see that’s the only light that is charging at the moment because each individual module has its own charge control system., and that is also energy conservative because each one only takes the power that is necessary. It also prolongs the life of the battery and helps with the protection.

So when we want to put the light back into the menu, it just firmly clips in. And then you have two different light. One is a timed thirty-second light application in a low setting. And then a slightly amplified lighting setting in a manual.

Ben Lack:For the customer that just sees the light in there, they’re going to push the button and the light is going to be on for thirty seconds. But then if they want to see the menu actually longer, they can hold the button down, and it’ll show it.

Gillian Dinnerstein:Yes. Or they can put it on, put it off as many times as they want. So it’s completely controllable. This is also very conservative with energy. Say in daylight settings, as night rolls on, Mother Nature tells us when to turn the lights on. And if this were to come on automatically, it would not be necessary for most of the evening. Especially with large windows letting in the sunlight, et cetera.

Ben Lack:And why did you get into the business?

Gillian Dinnerstein:It was something my late husband was always looking for, something to help him read the menu. I always had to sign the check and add the tip, et cetera. And it gave me something to do after his passing. This one’s for you, Elliot.

Ben Lack:Well, thanks so much for your time. We wish you much luck with the concept, and we hope to be in touch soon.

Gillian Dinnerstein:Thank you very much.

Ben Lack:Take care.

Ben Lack:So we’re here with Mark Taylor with Bradford White Corporation. Thanks so much for giving us some of your time.

Mark Taylor:It’s great, Ben. Great to be here.

Ben Lack:Talk to us a little bit about the different types of technologies that Bradford White offers.

Mark Taylor: Well, we have a myriad of products available, and Bradford White is a full-line water heater manufacturer. We have residential electric, commercial electric, commercial gas, residential gas, oil, fire, solar, storage. It can boiler-type products. It can be self-contained type products with stored energy available in the form of a tank as well as tankless type products. So, again, it’s a little bit of everything that can satisfy anybody’s needs.

Ben Lack:And a lot of the products, I assume, save energy for companies that have this technology in their building.

Mark Taylor:That is true, and there’s some specific products. And one of the reasons we’re at the National Restaurant Show in the Green Pavilion is we are actually Green Dining and the Green Restaurant Association endorsed with our EF-series product which is a fully tank type condensing technology product which has a stored energy as far as the tank, but is condensing technology so it can run up to 99.1 percent thermal efficiency. Therefore, as traditional water heaters can maximize about eighty percent thermal efficiency, this technology will go up to 99.1 percent. So, therefore, there’s a fifteen to eighteen percent energy savings available just in making that heater which, in general, would be less than a one-year payback.

Ben Lack:And why is it so much more efficient?

Mark Taylor:It’s because of the design, the heat exchangers. Really, what we’re trying to do is this particular unit employs a three-pass combustion system which rings out all the latent heat that’s available in the combustion process. And by having that, going through the three-passes, and the key here is vertical three-passes, we don’t have coils. We don’t have anything else unique inside there. We actually have a vertical three-pass system. And that third pass is where the condensing takes place. And you want a vertical tube, and it’s glass-lined inside and out, so it’s protected because condensate is acidic. Because the tube is vertical, you can imagine this. When condensate forms that tube, it’s actually not tracking in any one spot. It’s random distribution. Therefore, it will not rot out. If you have a helical coil or if you have a horizontal tube that is condensing, condensate will lay in the bottom of the tube. And it will do is it will continue to track in that one place and eventually rot out.

So that’s why this concept is unique in the industry. And we, frankly, have been building this for almost eight years and have not had one heat exchanger failure.

Ben Lack:Wow.

Mark Taylor:Yeah, that is quite impressive. And we can stand behind it.

Ben Lack:Is the installation any different?

Mark Taylor:What’s key for the installation specifically in the restaurant environment is that this particular here is part of a closed combustion system. It can operate in normal atmospheric-type situation, or if there’s enough combustion-air that’s in the mechanical room. The product can actually run as a true power venter. But it’s designed as a two-pipe system or a two-pipe system up to a wall or roof to be able to vent out through a single wall penetration. The importance and the key to that is two-fold. Number one, because the condensing technology flow-gas temperatures are so low, that it can actually run in PBC which is a very inexpensive installation or a very flexible installation for venting. Secondly, because it is a closed-combustion system, you decouple the water heater from the nasty indoor air environment of a restaurant that can produce, with all of the cooking oils, with negative vent pressures, and you can isolate the heater from operating from within that environment. So, therefore, it doesn’t have the reliability issues that you’ll find in some atmospherically-fire vented water heaters.

Ben Lack:So tell me a little bit about why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Mark Taylor:Why we’re doing this is because we’re just trying to get the message out. We are a national manufacturer, USA-owned, employee-owned, all of our products are made right in the United States. So we’re here trying to promote our products through the restaurant chain, the restaurant industry, because they’re a big user of water heaters. And it’s actually probably one of the most harsh environments for a water heater. So water heaters do not last long in restaurant applications because of the use and demand. We have developed a product and most of our products are always designed for the professional installations. This particular model and these two particular products are fantastic for restaurant applications. So we’re just trying to get the message out with our wholesale distribution partners throughout the entire country. And we’re making sure that the end-user knows the benefits of the product. That’s why we’re here.

Ben Lack:Well, Mark, thanks so much for giving us a little bit of information about the company. And we wish you guys a lot of luck.

Mark Taylor:Hey, thank you very much for your time to chat.

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