Navigating Customer Attitudes Toward Safe Condiment Dispensing
As COVID-19 wears on into National Food Safety Education Month, we are continuing our exploration of consumer dining behaviors and the safety expectations they have for restaurants. Operators are left to reconcile this with CDC guidelines in order to discern a path forward that protects their business, staff and customers. However, when it comes to condiments for foodservice, there is a clear solution that aligns with consumer habits and CDC guidelines to avoid shared condiments. These specific dos and don’ts for how consumers want restaurants to handle condiments can help establish the level of safety they need to dine out.
Tables Without Condiment Bottles
While condiment bottles could be sanitized between seatings, they can still be considered shared items. And as such, customers would rather not see them when dining in. The majority of consumers (72%) feel that it is appropriate for restaurants not to offer condiment bottles at the table.
No Traditional Condiment Stations
In addition to shying away from tabletop condiment bottles, consumers are also skeptical of traditional self-serve stations where visitors must touch the same condiment pump to dispense their portion. Because they are a common touchpoint, 64% of consumers do not feel that these types of condiment stations are safe.1 Even though overall restaurant cleanliness remains a prerequisite for dining out, consumers are wary of items others have touched.
Condiments by Request
With condiment stations and tabletop bottles ruled out, customers report that they feel comfortable requesting condiments from restaurant staff. When dining in, this could mean specifying items with condiments applied by the staff or receiving dipping sauces in a reusable ramekin. For to-go orders, customers want to request condiments in sustainable single-serve containers. Currently, 80% of consumers think it is acceptable for restaurants to offer condiments by request only and 77% feel that it will also be acceptable in the future.1
A Touchless Solution
To address the apprehension that restaurant customers feel toward shared condiments, the Touchless Express™ condiment dispenser brings superior safety to the dining experience. This new line of dispensers allows the user to dispense condiments, toppings or sauces without any physical contact. A maximum portion of one ounce is dispensed when the user hovers their hand above the sensor eye. Smaller portions can be dispensed by moving the hand away from the sensor window before the dispensing cycle has completed.
Touchless Express dispensers are currently available to order. Fill out the form to talk to a sales rep about the available units. To read more about restaurant safety, check out 5 Ways to Equip Your Restaurant for Food Safety. To further explore customer expectations during COVID-19, read 3 Touchless Experiences Customers Want from Restaurants.
 Datassential One Table Consumer Report June 2020