Are you tired of cooking at home or ordering take-out food? Is the replicator used to synthesize complete meals on Star Trek starting to sound like a good alternative food source right about now? Don’t despair. Some restaurant operators are working to lure you back by investing in high-tech solutions to improve sanitation and make you feel more comfortable dining on premise.
For example, Maryland-based Silver Diner recently installed a three-tiered air purification system at 20 of its restaurant locations. The system includes hospital-grade HEPA filters and ultraviolet lights that disinfect air moving through the air conditioning system. An additional set of ultraviolet lights is used to disinfect surfaces overnight.
Silver Diner executive chef and co-founder Ype Von Hengst reports that the chain is the first in the US to install such a system. It’s too early to tell how much this will impact the restaurant’s dine-in business, although Von Hengst says that initial customer feedback has been very positive.
Other restaurants are making available up-to-date electronic menus that diners can access on a mobile device when ordering and allowing them to pay for their meal using a contactless payment system. Touchless systems can also be used to help ensure employee health and safety at restaurants and other businesses. One example is the Check Point Temperature Pedestal developed by P&O Global Technologies. The unit, which uses facial recognition to create a contactless check-point at a door, includes a thermal camera to verify that employees aren’t running a fever as well as a hands-free hand sanitizer dispenser.
Although fewer people now believe that the coronavirus is a health threat to them personally than they did in May, three-quarters of US adults are still reporting in the August Freedonia Group/Packaged Facts survey that they are eating less in restaurants due to the coronavirus. Therefore, all appropriate measures are needed to improve confidence and increase dine-in traffic at restaurants.
For more information and discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus, US Beverage Market Outlook 2020: Grocery Shopping & Personal Consumption in the Coronavirus Era, and Food Carryout & Delivery as well as the companion report with timely consumer insights from our in-house survey capabilities. The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research provides a strong complement to packaged food industry analysis, including Global Foodservice and packaging industry titles such as Foodservice Single-Use Products and Global Foodservice Single-Use Products. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.