There have been plenty of visible tech-enabled changes to the restaurant experience in the past year, including everything from contactless payment to the use of QR codes for ordering. While they have safety and efficiency benefits, they also change the experience of eating in a restaurant, which many people miss and are eager to return to. As many cities await the return of indoor dining, your restaurant might benefit from invisible tech that promises to boost safety – and as a result, could make your restaurant a more appealing option for guests looking to dine out. New systems and lighting are becoming available (and more affordable) that filter and purify the air and also clean surfaces in a restaurant. According to a recent Restaurant Dive report, an Ohio restaurant operator installed an AiroDoctor filtration system in May when indoor dining reopened in his area. He feels the system has helped guests and employees feel more secure – while also giving his safety-related marketing a boost.
There has been some recent buzz about the use of new ultraviolet lights that reportedly kill viruses and bacteria in the air without harming the body. If effective, they could have broad applications in restaurants, food distribution facilities and beyond. But do they work? Columbia University researchers tested the technology, called far-UVC, over the course of eight months and found that it killed the flu virus (their research was published in Scientific Reports) and their previous tests of the technology against MRSA also reportedly killed the bacteria without harming human tissue. Eater reports that Magnolia Bakery, for one, is replacing their recessed lighting with far-UVC light and also having customers pass through a far-UVC light scanner (akin to passing through a metal detector at the airport) upon entering their facilities to kill virus or bacteria they carry with them. Portable UVC lamps are also on the market. While the research is still new and it’s not clear whether the technology is effective against COVID-19, it promises to offer at least some additional protection in conjunction with other sanitation measures as we approach flu season. Find more background on the pros and cons in this New York Times report: https://bit.ly/2LNaG3t.