Quick service restaurants across the U.S. are being urged to protect their investments in COVID-adapted facilities, as the global health crisis continues to change the shape of the sector.
The advice comes from specialist hardcoated film provider MacDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions, which notes that COVID-19 and social distancing have significantly changed consumer behavior throughout the past twelve months, bringing structural changes to the restaurant industry that could last long after mass vaccinations have been completed. In an attempt to keep their doors open and continue trading through multiple lockdowns, quick service facilities adapted quickly last year, ramping up outdoor dining, introducing curbside pickup and embracing self-service, contactless ordering systems.
In 2020, MacDermid Enthone reported a sharp increase in enquiries from quick service restaurants in its unique cleanliness support technology for restaurant surfaces, and is urging these facilities to view structural changes as long-term, warning that even after populations have been vaccinated against COVID-19, anxieties and concerns about dining out could well remain. It states that this could be the catalyst the industry needs to embrace a new future, where self-service touchscreens and enhanced cleanliness become the norm.
Protecting these new surfaces from degradation, bacteria and other elements will enable quick service establishments to protect their structural investments and transition towards long-term dining changes, while continuing to give customers the cleanliness confidence they need to eat out.
Anna Harris, R&D Project Manager at MacDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions, said these requirements are already driving a trend for fitting dining surfaces with hardcoated films containing built-in antimicrobial protection: “Quick service surfaces and equipment such as counters, tables and touch-screens are prone to bacteria build-up, degradation over time and damage caused by high-touch traffic and cleaning chemicals.
“We’ve been working closely with the foodservice industry to explore and implement restaurant-specific solutions using our Autotex AM film, which has built-in Microban® product surface protection. We see this as an essential service, since every premises is different and every surface needs the right treatment. Autotex AM provides the printed overlay with solid protection against constant daily handling and rigorous cleaning and helps to keep the surface clean, even in between cleaning regimes. This means that touch screen and high-touch surfaces in every setting can be kept clean, robust and aesthetically attractive, as quick service restaurants adapt to new ways of doing business.
“Protecting some of the structural changes implemented last year could be critical to ensuring short-term investments become long-term advantages. New solutions such as hardcoated films with built-in antimicrobial technology are part of the sector’s transformation and are making a real contribution as quick service facilities continue to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.”
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