Plaudits are heaped on consumer-facing technology in restaurants for making the diners’ experience faster and easier. But it may be making the operator’s life harder—at least in one respect: cleanliness. With the growth of tabletop tablets, pagers, self-ordering kiosks and even the stylus tethered to payment machines, there are a slew of new hotspots operators need to remember in their cleaning routines, says ServSafe Product Manager David Crownover. Here’s what to consider now.
- Audience matters — Keeping tech equipment clean is a bigger problem for some concepts than others. Family-oriented restaurants full of children prone to sticky fingers, for example, may have to wipe down their equipment more frequently than more upscale concepts. And soda machines may get grubbier than, say, self-serve wine dispensers.
- Cleaning concerns — Consumer-facing tech still is relatively new, so there aren’t any formal safe-handling rules, nor standards for how to keep tech clean in restaurants. Crownover suggests looking to suppliers for guidance. For some operators, the concern is minimized by ditching pagers in favor of sending texts to diners’ own smartphones when their tables are ready or installing hand-sanitizer dispensers near equipment for guests to use.
- Germ patrol — That said, operators that do have tech in their operation must devise a plan to keep it clean. Develop a schedule, says Crownover. Identify what tech needs to be cleaned and how often, especially noting which areas need to be hit immediately and which can be done at the end of the night.