This Plate Lets You Eat And Glad-Hand At The Same Time

[This project is an entrant in our Innovation By Design Awards. Stay tuned for the announcement of winners on October 10.]

It’s impossible to over-emphasize the importance of a first impression–something that’s likely jumpstarted by a handshake. But if said handshake happens at a cocktail party with an open bar and an irresistible spread of hors d’oeuvres, expect a fumble. There’s just no graceful way to extend a palm when its filled with food and drink.

“I didn’t have to look further than the MBA school cocktail parties to find design inspiration,” says John Zox, creator of Holdaplate. “I like to think big–even when it comes to something as seemingly trivial as a cocktail plate.”

Holdaplate lets party revelers bypass the awkward moment of searching for a nearby flat surface, thanks to a finger-sized groove on one side of the plate. The undulating curve means the drink-holding hand can also support the entire plate, just with one index finger. Zox, who was pursuing an MBA when the idea for Holdaplate hit him, 3-D printed prototypes to get the weight and balance correct, and now sells the plate in porcelain, plastic, and molded fiber, with compostable plastic in the pipeline.

At first blush, Holdaplate has the feel of an infomercial product–“There’s got to be a better way!”–but the product could eventually have impact beyond the networking market. Imagine more kitchenware, designed for patients with arthritis, or diners with handicaps.

In the meantime, expect less spills and more business cards. Buy Holdaplates here (prices range from $10-$20 for a set of six).