Tiger Time Diner

It's cool to eat at the Tiger Time Diner (even if you're not an Auburn fan).

When David Smith and Kevin Jordan opened the Tiger Time Diner in Auburn in September, 1990 - just in time for the football season - they counted on big football crowds and late-night student revelers to keep their business going. They didn't count on having problems keeping their 24-hour diner cool.

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Rising temperatures.

Kevin and David expected a lot of business, but they never expected their small dining room to fill to capacity so often. Extra cooking and cleaning raised temperatures and humidity levels in the kitchen and in the dining rooms. Employees were distracted and frustrated by the intense heat and humidity in which they had to work, and customers were often uncomfortable. David says, "There's no question that it was so hot in the dining room, we were running customers off. We got complaints." All in all, David and Kevin faced a sticky situation.

Taking the heat off of diner owners.

Not only were they concerned about the over-heating problem, they also were concerned about running out of hot water. On football weekends, they had problems generating enough hot water to keep the dishes washed during peak rush hours. Obviously, something had to be done. David contacted George Simpkins, District Marketing Manager with Alabama Power Company, about installing an additional air conditioning unit. After discussing the situation and the problems David and Kevin had experienced, George recommended that they consider installing an electric heat pump water heater. He explained that the heat pump water heater could provide cooling by taking the heat out of the air and using it to heat water. In July, 1991, a 10-ton, all-electric heat pump water heater and a 350-gallon hot water storage tank were installed, and David says, "I'm completely pleased with the operation of the system. I never know it's back there." The kitchen stays 15 to 18 degrees cooler with humidity levels much lower, and the system more than meets their hot water needs. "The dining area is comfortable no matter how busy we are or how hot it is outside, " says David. Kevin and David are so pleased with the system, they are installing a smaller version in their new addition which will house facilities to wash aprons, linens, etc. David remarked that "If a person has a need for a lot of hot water and a lot of air conditioning, I can't see why in the world they wouldn't install one of these."

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Spreading the word.

George Simpkins obviously believes in this product and is eager to spread the word. "I thoroughly believe that restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, any place that needs a lot of hot water, it will be the best way to heat water." As for Tiger Time Diner customers, David assures us, "it should be cool and comfortable for Auburn's home games from now on."