Improving the air quality in restaurants can have an economic benefit, as customers will again feel more confident about dining out. In addition, restaurants are under increasing pressure to correct emissions issues and provide a clean and safe environment for customers. Restaurants produce high concentrations of organic aerosols which are then ventilated and released into the urban environment.
Kitchen pollution coupled with the possible presence of COVID-19 particles is not a healthy concoction. But there are strategies at hand for cleaning the air in restaurants and monitoring CO2, humidity, and temperature readings.
Reluctance to return to normality
With the decline in positive COVID-19 cases, restaurants can finally focus on returning customers to dining rooms and promoting their dining experiences. However, many potential customers are still uncomfortable with the idea of ââthe dining out experience. In a recent Nielsen poll, 57% of those surveyed said they did not feel safe around strangers in a restaurant, while 45% said it would take longer for them to feel comfortable returning to places on site. In addition, according to the same survey of 1,560 customers, 41% of those polled said they had gone out to eat in July 2021, which was only slightly up from 37% of people on the month. previous.
Another issue facing restaurants is consumer behavior regarding food delivery. Pre-pandemic, only 5 percent of restaurant orders were take out, while the estimated number is now closer to 20 percent. Due to the increase in these habits during the pandemic, customers are now used to having their favorite food available to them through various delivery apps. Considering the commission on delivery apps and the loss of additional spending on restaurant food, this is a bad trend for restaurants.
To combat customer loss and drive customers away from delivery applications, restaurant owners must first and foremost ensure that customers feel 100% safe and comfortable within the four walls of their establishment. The top priority is to ensure air quality and to ensure that their own emissions are kept as low as possible.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to be more respectful of the air and the environment. Restaurants that agree to reduce their emissions early enough will gain a competitive advantage. They can tell their customers that they are helping to protect the environment. According to a recent PMQ survey, ethical concerns weigh heavily on the minds of consumers, and 83 percent of those polled said they would like restaurants to use more environmentally friendly practices.
Those who want to lead this debate on reducing harmful aerosols and improving air quality can start by looking at what high air quality means and how to achieve it easily and reliably.
Air quality basics
Let’s start with basic air quality know-how. It’s not easy to calculate how much air heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters pump and how much fresh air needs to be brought into the restaurant, but there are some key guidelines. to know.
In terms of fresh air for the guests, there should be 10 liters per second per person during a pandemic. This translates into an air change rate of at least six times per hour. CO2 levels are among the clearest indications of the amount of ventilation in an area. In general, CO2 levels outdoors are 400 parts per million (ppm). Inside, a consistency CO2 value less than 800 ppm is likely to indicate that a space is well ventilated.
Air quality monitoring and action guides for restaurants
Restaurant owners will need to consider different strategies for storefront and kitchen units. First and foremost, the front of the house should focus on optimizing their HVAC systems, while creating airflow is even more important in the kitchen. This doesn’t necessarily mean overhauling an existing system, but rather cleaning or replacing filters to reduce static pressure, increase airflow, and save money.
It can also help activate the HVAC system for at least two hours before opening and after closing. UV-C light also kills pathogens like the coronavirus, and several companies are now making room air purifiers that use both HEPA filters and UV-C light to help purify the air. In addition to these points, it is also essential to maintain an indoor relative humidity between 40% and 60%, as viruses such as COVID-19 struggle to survive in these conditions.
Intuitive dashboards presenting these metrics can be mounted on walls and viewed by customers, giving a real-time overview for customers and staff. Presenting these metrics leaves the restaurant open to criticism but can also be a motivating factor to upgrade the air quality. In addition, as with sanitary checks, restaurants can announce their air quality status on the front window. This can give customers assurance that air quality is being properly monitored.
Restaurant owners who implement these oversight measures will have a significant advantage over their competitors, as they will be able to establish a better relationship with their customers. As noted above, customers are still clearly reluctant to properly return to a normal dining experience. Therefore, implementing essential air quality and setting up dashboards with clearly presented metrics in restaurants will go a long way in securing customer confidence.