Advances in technology in the restaurant industry offers numerous opportunities for business owners to run their establishment in a more efficient and cost effective manner. Self-service touchscreen kiosks are one of the newest trends for major restaurants, especially fast food chains. A study in the UK, however, shows this new technology is creating major headaches for CFPMs and self-service touchscreens are proving to be a huge contamination risk .
CFPMs and Self-Service Touchscreens Contamination Problems
Researchers in Britain tested numerous McDonalds’ self-ordering touchscreens and discovered traces of fecal matter on every single one.
Let’s think about that closely for one second. They didn’t find fecal matter on a few, half or even 90 percent. They found traces of human feces on every single one. The list of specific bacteria found is fairly extensive, but it included the potential for hospital-grade illness from pathogens like Staphylococcus, listeria and Bacillus as well as standard food-borne illness outbreak culprits.
If that isn’t bad enough, the study also looked into the immediate hygiene habits of patrons using the machine. Customers would walk in, get in line and order. There was no sanitizing or washing of hands from the point of entry to the time of order. Many would order, take their seat, wait for their food and begin eating without washing their hands at all. This recipe for disaster should make food safety managers cringe.
With these screens infiltrating the dining rooms and lobbies in many different types of food service establishments, what can we do to keep our customers safe from potential infection?
The key is sanitation. The touch screen must be sanitized at regular intervals. If they’re the table top variety, sanitizing after each guest will remove all traces of bacteria that may have found their way to the surface from previous guests. But, lobby self-ordering systems are much harder to keep an eye on.
In this case, it’s unlikely you can enforce proper hygiene on all of your guests, but you can give them a nudge in the right direction. Attach a sanitizer dispenser to your touchscreen kiosk or have one readily available. We’d recommend having a sanitizer dispenser where the line begins and one at the machine itself. This will promote sanitation before and after ordering. Also, signage directing guests to the nearest washroom will also put the thought into their heads that maybe they should wash their hands before and after ordering.
Do you have touch screens available for your guest to use for ordering convenience?