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An Invention With Wings

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An invention with wings

SnacDaddy keeps the bones out of sight

Ideas can come from the most unexpected of places.

Gwinnett resident Brent Anderson was lunching with longtime friend Russ Stanziale at the Breakaway Grill in Duluth in 2005. Both noticed how servers struggled with gathering and disposing of bones left over from a customer's Buffalo wings.

"We noticed the servers were somewhat disgusted at having to deal with the plates of discarded bones," Anderson says. "Someone even spilled them on the floor. Russ and I thought there should be a better way of dealing with them."

The design began as many do, with sketches on napkins. Soon, the concept for the SnacDaddy was in full bloom.

The SnacDaddy consists of two trays - a top one that holds the wings and various condiments, and a bottom one that stores the used bones. The bones are put in the bottom tray through a hole in the top. "It looks more appealing in restaurants," Anderson says. "The bones are out of sight and the servers don't have to touch them."

To make sure their idea had teeth, Anderson and Stanziale conducted research into consumers' eating habits. "People are prone to eating just two or three at a time, since the evidence is right in front of them," Anderson says. "Around 29 percent more are consumed when you can't see the bone. It solves the bone problem and allows wings to be consumed in greater quantities."

But when trying to get their idea off the ground, Anderson and Stanziale discovered a nearly daunting truth. "If you have an invention or startup, you need to go through all the patent and legal stuff," Anderson says.

Help was on the way, though - in the form of a casting call for the PBS television show, "Everyday Edisons." The pair's invention was chosen for the first season and took them through the whole process, from conception to distribution.

"We had good partners that believed in us and our idea," Anderson says. "It really enabled us to learn the process without the financial risk." The process took them through prototypes - the initial one cost around $250,000 to build - and through the naming phase.

"We tried 'Wing Volcano,' but we didn't want it to sound limited only to wings," Anderson says. "We wanted to take the product and incorporate different things, such as rib bones and crab legs. This was the 'Mac Daddy' of serving trays, so it became 'SnacDaddy."'

The first big order - 200,000, to be exact - went to Wing Zone in Atlanta. The product also garnered mentions in SkyMall and Diversions magazines. The partners are also in talks with national retail and distribution outlets to sell the SnacDaddy. There are hopes to have a disposable version available in large sporting venues.

"These can be used for a venue or delivery setting," Anderson says. "The disposable ones are a more refuse-friendly plastic and aren't durable or dishwasher safe. We're also exploring what we could do for paper versions."

While Stanziale and Anderson still have their day jobs - a Hewlett Packard executive and Nokia exec, respectively - the two already have other ideas on the brain.

"Some inventors go their entire lives without a patent. We feel very fortunate."

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