May 19th 2020

How the dining experience has changed – customers now value cleanliness above all else

The coronavirus pandemic has presented us with a “new norm”. The socialising, dining and travelling that we once took for granted has been replaced with lockdowns, self-isolation and social distancing.  Many industries have been hard hit, but one that’s ground to an almost stand still is the hospitality sector.

Just months prior to the coronavirus outbreak many eateries were thriving and preparing for even more lucrative months throughout the summer.  But the reality that they now face is closure until further notice – a situation which has not only hit them hard financially but has created a potentially bleak future.

We recently reviewed a national survey by Dinetec* which asked diners about their feelings towards dining out post COVID-19.  Responses showed that many respondents were keen to resume dining activities (65%) but needed evidence of precautionary steps for reassurance, and unsurprisingly, respondents showed a strong opinion towards improved hygiene.

Findings showed that diners wanted:

  • Sanitizing of existing menus between uses or single-use menus
  • Wiping down the table in the presence of a guest, in other words, they want to see that the table has been wiped down after the previous guests
  • Providing complementary sanitizer wipes at the table
  • Hand sanitizer stations at the entrance

Respondents were also asked – After COVID-19 how do you anticipate feeling about handling items such as condiment containers, sweeteners, and menus that are shared/reused in a restaurant setting? Almost 40% stated that they would want them to be wiped with disinfectant before using.

Which brings us on to one of the mentioned (and most commonly used items within a restaurant that’s reported to carry the most germs and bacteria) – menus.  Studies have shown that traces of E. coli and S. aureus (staph) can be found lingering on menus due to the frequency of them being handled and the lack of hand washing hygiene by some diners.

When it comes to printed menus there are essentially two options; using disposable menus which can be time consuming and wasteful to the environment, or opting for a reusable option which can be disinfected using sanitizers containing alcohol.

Disposable menus may seem like a quick win, but they can be expensive to continually print and can also damage the overall ambience of a restaurant, leading to disappointed diners (and poor review ratings!).  Cheap and cheerful is not always what customers are seeking.  Many people see dining out as a treat (potentially even a luxury after the coronavirus outbreak) and have high expectations in terms of their overall experience; from the way they are greeted when they enter the restaurant to the menu that they’re presented with to choose their meal.

Restaurants that want to appeal to today’s discerning diners need to take pride in every detail, and that includes producing high quality, hygienic menus to enhance the customers experience.

The transmission of germs through menus presents a greater risk than ever before.  Germs are everywhere – an invisible hazard, predominantly transmitted by touch.  Lingering germs can easily be passed from person to person through the constant use of restaurant menus.

There is only one way to ensure menus are safe – and that’s with disinfectant! 

Common disinfectants are alcohol and chemical based which have to be strong enough to kill 99.9% of germs, these harsh ingredients serve a purpose, but bring with them risk of damaging printed materials that have not been printed on synthetics which are specifically designed to withstand them.

It has been suggested that alcohol-based cleaners can be “watered down” so that the print is not compromised, but this presents a huge risk in the effectiveness of the cleaner becoming too diluted, and goes against the recommended advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO).  The risk is amplified in sectors which handle food.

The WHO recommends a minimum of 60% alcohol content to fully disinfect surfaces and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  Therefore, any attempted dilution of a product, or a cleaning product not manufactured to this standard would not fully disinfect a surface.

Standing up to the challenge is KernowPrint – the most tested and trusted material and the ONLY alcohol and chemical resistant solution in the market. KernowPrint is also a greener, and cheaper, alternative to lamination which can quickly become tired and fall apart after repeated use.  When printed on KernowPrint, menus are reusable as opposed to disposable – so money is not going in the bin.

Menus printed on KernowPrint are instantly waterproof, tear resistant and safe against disinfectants.  They are easy to clean and also are resistant to staining from wine, tea, ketchup, mustard, and much more.

The range of menus in vertical and horizontal pre-folds are ready to print, and come in a variety of thicknesses and sizes in polyester films enabling you to customise the size and shape of your menus.

If you’re already using KernowPrint to produce menus, the good news is that they are already protecting people from the risk of germs and infection if cleaned regularly with the right products.  They are also undoubtedly more durable and safer than disposable options.

If you aren’t using KernowPrint, now is the perfect time to talk to your provider and try out samples for yourself.  Kernow also offer a wide range of materials including Pre-scored in various weights and finishes – which can all be safely sanitized.

In our ever-changing world and when we finally achieve normality again, dining needs to return to a comfortable, enjoyable experience, and the only way it will do so is to address the increasing expectations expressed by diners – better hygiene, more sanitization and disinfected menus.

Menus MUST be Disinfected and not just cleaned.  Kernow is your solution for safe sanitizing.

Protect yourself.  Protect others.  Stay safe.

For additional information about our Menu offering go and search “menu” or contact us and we will send you samples.

* Casual Dining Post COVID-19 National Survey Commissioned by Dinetec, a Sandy Alexander Company

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