There are a billion new products in the Naked City, but none have the back story of “The Shabbos Safe Hotplate.”
Ultra-Orthodox Jews like electronics technician BenTzion Davis take the Sabbath, which they call “Shabbos” or “Shabbat”, very seriously. Work is not permitted on the day God rested after creating the world. That includes cooking, which makes preparing the family Sabbath meal a challenge for Orthodox families. Many use hotplates to keep their food warm for hours, and sometimes days when celebrating some festivals. This is a huge potential fire hazard. In fact, a hotplate fire killed seven children in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year.
Davis, a convert to Judaism who grew up on a Colorado ranch, is an electronics technician who has always tinkered with stuff. He has repaired hotplates for friends and many asked him to recommend one for them to buy. Unfortunately, Davis found none to his liking, which is why he decided to build one of his own. Listen to my podcast “Business Bytes” (linked below) for the details of Davis’ innovative design, which he likened to a “tank.”
Davis has targeted his product to the Orthodox Jewish community. I tried to encourage him to set his sights higher. I am sure restaurants would be interested in a well-designed hotplate as would college students who use them in their dorm rooms. I lack the expertise to advise Davis on how to bring his product to the “next level” but would welcome ideas from people who have “been there and done that.” Send any suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass them along.