Recently there was a study done by Modern Restaurant Management on the effects of COVID-19 on third-party delivery, guest expectations, and more. Some notable points to highlight regarding our industry and/or automatic doors and other touchless technology:
- More than 30,000 restaurants have shut down – temporarily or permanently – as of Sunday, April 19.
- Consumer interest in restaurants dropped by 52 percent from March 10 to April 19.
- Bars and nightlife businesses were among the hardest hit, with consumer interest down 81 percent.
- Other businesses have seen a surge of consumer interest, including chicken-wing joints (+84 percent), pizzerias (+71 percent) and fast-food restaurants (+55 percent).
- Interest in Chinese restaurants declined in January from stigma and fear of the virus, but has increased (+63 percent) now that delivery and takeout reign.
Drive-Thru Windows / Automatic Windows
Now that third-party delivery services are becoming more prevalent, have you ever stopped to think about how this new service may or may not be affecting the dining industry? For respondents who started using these services, there was actually a 5% increase in restaurant visits. When they do visit a restaurant, they are two times more likely to use the drive-thru than dine in or carry out.
Restaurant Business Online put it best in saying, “The drive-thru becomes a pandemic necessity”. Some businesses have reached ‘pre-coronavirus’ numbers utilizing a drive-thru. This is perhaps the one service model that has come out of the pandemic looking more important than ever.
Drive- thru transaction windows can now also be found at banks, coffee shops, food pantries, casual restaurants, pharmacies and even schools.
If you are considering upgrading your drive-thru window or simply servicing your window, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of technicians to help!
Demand for Automatic Doors & Other Touchless Technology
According to Research And Markets.com, there is a rise in the demand for automatic doors due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as these doors provide hands-free access to public places, such as offices, restaurants and hospitals, and help minimize the risk of transmission.
This hands-free access also makes buildings accessible to people with physical disabilities. For building owners/operators with existing automation, conversion to touchless can be a quick, easy, and high-quality installation. For maximum effectiveness, touchless plates can have both visible and audible alerts to aid in the successful signaling of a door’s activation. In dimly lit areas, lighted touch plates help improve both visibility and accessibility.
Apart from this, automatic doors are gaining widespread adoption to provide secure and convenient access. These doors also find extensive applications in the defense and military sector to strengthen security, allow safe evacuation and minimize the need for the human workforce.
Grant Funding for Small Businesses Installing Touchless Technology
Touchless technology is becoming so necessary and prevalent that many counties and states throughout the US are including installation of automatic doors as part of a loan program to help local businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The loans are designated for businesses to use in covering operating expenses, and for equipment and supplies necessary to protect employees and customers from COVID-19.
The loans will be forgiven and made into grants for businesses that successfully retain employees throughout the pandemic. A business could install automatic doors to facilitate a safer flow of customers in and out of its building with the loan money, and if such an action increases business and allows the business to retain its employees, the loan can be forgiven and changed to a grant.
Office Space and Touchless TechnologyThen there’s the office space ‘reimagined’ as presented by Commercial Property Executive. Priority needs to be placed on creating a touchless office. Any door can become a touchless entry. The prohibiting factor is often cost. Owners and facilities must balance the cost of install, security and maintenance with the value of touch-free passage.
Conversion options range from automatic sliding doors to automatic swing doors on actuators, to simply auto-unlatch function. Controls range from automatic eyes to wave-to-open technology, to actuators on push paddles mounted at elbow or hip height, to card reader activation.
Even prior to the pandemic, American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM) did a research study that surveyed 447 consumers. The study was done back in 2004 and found that 98.9% of consumers prefer automatic doors.
As employees, customers, commercial or even residential property owners, didn’t we all anticipate this being a wave of the future anyway? Most of us probably did, just maybe not this quickly! If this is creating extra stress for you during the pandemic and after, we want to help! Each of our branches can provide guidance on the best solutions to meet your needs and if we don’t have coverage in your area yet, we can recommend an expert for you!
Sources: Modern Restaurant Management: https://modernrestaurantmanagement.com/mrm-research-roundup-end-of-april-2020-covid-19-effects-edition/ Restaurant Business Online: https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/drive-thru-becomes-pandemic-necessity Times Standard: https://www.times-standard.com/2020/12/03/covid-19-arcata-city-council-oks-guidelines-for-new-business-loan-program/ CPExecutive.com on Office space: https://www.cpexecutive.com/post/reimagining-the-workplace-after-the-pandemic-qa/ AAADM Research: https://www.aaadm.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/AAADM-White-Paper-2004.pdf