Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Iced Light

A lamp centerpiece that also dispenses chilled water.
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
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I don't care if I was just dining on ambrosia straight from Zeus's kitchen, if I have to flag down a waiter to get my water glass refilled, I am one cranky customer. A good restaurant does not let their customers dehydrate. But only the priciest restaurants have enough wait staff to sufficiently monitor water levels. So to keep thirsty penny-pinchers like me coming back, I recommend that restaurateurs introduce Iced Light Fixtures at every table.

The Iced Light concept is simple: it is essentially a clear, hollow, tube-shaped bucket with several brass spigots spaced evenly around the bottom. (The top of the inside tube is closed and the bottom is open, while the top of the outside ring is open, bottom closed--think the bottom of a wine bottle sawed off just above the point where the indentation tops out and about 100 times the size.) This 'tube' rests on a low pedestal and is placed on a table like a regular lamp. I say "like a regular lamp" because in the frosted center of the tube is a low-watt light bulb.

Here's the real genius (if I may be so bold) of it: The 'bucket' part of the lamp is filled with equal parts ice and water before a party is seated at the table. They may dispense water from the nozzles, as desired, without waiting for someone with a pitcher to wander by or worrying that the pitcher will run dry before everyone gets water. The light, diffused through ice and water, will produce enough heat to slowly melt the ice, turning it into a fresh supply of cold water throughout the meal. Not to mention the pretty patterns it will cast on the table!

After a party leaves, the bus-person merely restocks the lamp with ice and water. If the water was not used by a given party and too much ice has melted, the bus-person will have to drain some water before adding more ice. A simple task, I should think, for a magnificent result: hydrated (and therefore happy) customers. . . well, so long as they actually bring the right food in a timely matter. One problem at a time!

Twenty Dollar Duck, Apr 27 2008

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       I forgot to mention: it should also probably have a lid to keep bugs and dust out.
Twenty Dollar Duck, Apr 27 2008
  

       [+]'d for the light/ice/water concept, but in reality just have the waiter/ess bring a jug of icewater.
FlyingToaster, Apr 27 2008
  

       Might catch on in high-class establishments. [+]
8th of 7, Apr 27 2008
  

       // The light, diffused through ice and water, will produce enough heat to slowly melt the ice, keeping the water cold throughout the meal.//   

       This reflects a fundamental misconception - you don't need to heat the ice to melt it in order to keep the water cold.   

       This reminds me of a student in the lab who was supposed to keep things on a wet ice slurry (to keep them close to 0° C), and who insisted that you had to add hot water rather than cold to the ice, to ensure that the ice was partially melted.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 27 2008
  

       Jugs can be problematic. Running out too quickly is the major issue. Then there's the ice--if they put enough in to keep the water cold, there's not much water; if they don't put enough in, the water's tepid. Ick.   

       As for melting ice: you do need heat to melt ice that isn't turning into water fast enough to keep up with the water being drained out of the container. I have changed the wording to better reflect this.
Twenty Dollar Duck, Apr 27 2008
  
      
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