Missing your morning coffee? St Albans café owner creates hands-free device to protect customers from coronavirus
- Credit: Archant
Watch out Dragon’s Den, a St Albans coffee shop owner has invented a clever gadget to help protect his customers from being infected with COVID-19.
Gotz Kaul, who owns Café Roma in St Peter’s Street, re-opened selling takeaway coffee and pastries late last week.
However Gotz has gone the extra mile for customer safety and devised a unique device which avoids him and his staff coming into direct contact with the lids on takeaway cups.
This gadget, which comprises a 3D printed casing holding a small fan, allows Gotz - hands free - to pick up and place a plastic lid on the cup.
He explained: “I weighed up the risk of continuing to trade as a takeaway only, but I couldn’t think of a way of serving coffees and hot drinks in a takeaway cup without touching the lid of the cup when it was clicked into place.
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“No one wants to drink out of the lid that has just been touched by someone else. If I allowed the customer to put the lid on themselves, there could be spillages and scalding, so what to do?
“With the help of my neighbour and friend, Duncan Louttit - who volunteers for Remap [a charity which custom-makes equipment for disabled people] - I found a solution. Suction was needed to lift the lid up but then it needed to click into place on the cup.
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“Duncan tried a turkey baster, but this didn’t work, so with the help of a 3D printer we came up with a gadget.
“It consists of a micro fan which works to lift up the lid, so there is no direct contact with it, making it a safer way for customers to enjoy their drink.”
Customer Sally Audley said: “Sitting in or outside Café Roma is so sadly missed. Gotz serves the best coffee and Roma is a hub for so many of us. This part of the High Street is deserted and that Gotz has spent time, thought and expense to open safely during these unprecedented times is a mark of the affection he has for his customers.
“The invention is simply brilliant - it is so smooth - perhaps that’s where the future lies.”
But Gotz might need to work on a more catchy name for his innovative invention - currently known as the cup-lid-putter-onner!