Serv-A-SYST Raises Standards by Lowering the Bar

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New countertop device allows owners to maximize revenue while accommodating all customers

In the past, restaurant and bar owners had a tough decision to make. Should they provide full accommodation for all of their customers and forego utilizing a major source of income in their establishment? Or, should they look for an alternative solution, hoping it provides accommodation acceptable to the local jurisdiction and the needs of their customers, in order to maximize the potential revenue of their bar?

Restaurant and bar owners have made this decision on a daily basis for the past 19 years. In 1992, The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed new laws requiring counters in restaurants and other business establishments to have a section of countertop meeting height requirements of 28 - 34 inches above the finished floor, allowing wheel chair access. This posed a major dilemma to restaurant and bar owners, since counters and bars are usually built at a height of 42 inches. How could they successfully lower the bar and accommodate both bar stool seating and wheel chair access without sacrificing a large amount of revenue?

Now, thanks to engineers at Counterbalance Corporation, the need to build a lower bar has been lifted forever.

The solution is the Serv-A-SYST counterbalance, a device designed to control the movement of almost any countertop, from the height of a traditional bar top to one that accommodates the needs of guests with disabilities, and back again.

“Accommodation is no longer a design option, it is a requirement by law,” said Joe Avotins, AIA, former Director of Design for both Houston’s Restaurants, (now Hillstone Restaurant Group), and McCormick and Schmick’s. “While there are other solutions to meet requirements for a lowered portion of counter at your bar, none are as innovative and easy to use as the Serv-A-SYST.”

With the Serv-A-SYST installed, a 60” wide portion of the counter can effortlessly move between a high-top and low-top position, (in an arc, vertically 9 -1/2 inches and horizontally 11 inches). The range of motion has been specifically designed to provide the proper height and projection needed to accommodate wheel chair access at any high-top service counter, and meets the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.

“The Serv-A-SYST is truly a breakthrough product, designed to enhance a restaurants ability to accommodate the needs of all of their guests,” said Avotins. “You can now have all seats at your bar generate revenue, while also satisfying the requirements set forth by the ADA design guidelines. I can’t think of a bar in the country that wouldn’t benefit from installing one.”

As with all of CounterBalance Corporations products, the Serv-A-SYST works by using patented torsion spring hinge technology. At the heart of the counterbalance, flexible rods store mechanical energy when twisted, and release the energy when returned to their neutral position. As the countertop is moved in an upwards or downwards motion, the energy stored in the system is applied to precisely offset the weight of the counter. The effect is to neutralize the weight of the countertop making it virtually weightless while in motion. This means easy and safe operation for the user.

“It’s really a space saver, but it’s also practical and meets the building code requirements for having lower serving spaces available. The server working behind the counter can choose the counter height that is appropriate for each customer and easily switch the counter from a higher height to a lower height in a matter of seconds,” explained Lou Mintzer, VP of Sales and Marketing at CounterBalance Corporation. “It’s extremely easy to use and makes the counter feel virtually weightless.”

The Serv-A-SYST counterbalance will be debuted at the Las Vegas Sands Convention Center’s - HD Expo & Conference 2011. Exhibits will be open from May 18th – 20th. The Serv-A-SYST will be available for viewing in booth #4069.

The American with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities, such as buying an item at the store, going to the movies, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, exercising at the health club, or having the car serviced at a local garage. To meet the goals of the ADA, the law established requirements for businesses of all sizes. These requirements went into effect on January 26, 1992. Businesses that serve the public must modify policies and practices that discriminate against people with disabilities; comply with accessible design standards when constructing or altering facilities; remove barriers in existing facilities where readily achievable; and provide auxiliary aids and services when needed to ensure effective communication with people who have hearing, vision, or speech impairments. All businesses, even those that do not serve the public, must comply with accessible design standards when constructing or altering facilities.

CounterBalance Corporation
CounterBalance Corporation is an original equipment manufacturer of modular torsion spring systems used to lift lids, covers, hatches, countertops and electro-mechanical equipment. Counterbalances are used in diagnostic equipment, industrial and commercial applications, corporate offices, restaurants and hotels, foodservice equipment, military vehicles and educational institutions. CounterBalance Corporation provides complete design, application and prototyping services to assist in the development of its products. CounterBalance also offers various product series to meet the needs of most applications. For additional information about products and services, please visit


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Lindsey Thiessen
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