Dining out and purchasing food is about an experience. From the menu choices, to furnishings, to the appearance of wait staff, to how the food is presented, how food is packaged and assembled on shelves, are all designed to lead to a pleasant sensory experience and the desire to come back.
The strongest of our five senses is our sense of smell. Smell plays an important role in the dining and food purchasing experience, as we know. Unwanted or unpleasant odors can deter from that experience and lead to a false impression of the dining establishment, food market, etc.
Take this example, a seafood restaurant can take in and prepare very fresh fish, but in the course of preparation there is waste that needs to be disposed of. This waste garbage is held in a garbage room or dumpster etc and as it sits and breaks down, odorous bacteria grow and smells can waft out into dining areas or into the general area outside the restaurant, giving the impression that the fish is not fresh. This is a common problem in supermarkets with fish departments and cases. While everything is being done correctly, odors are a natural by-product that need to be dealt with.
One very effective way to deal with unwanted and distracting odors is by purifying the air and reducing the contaminants that lead to odors. An extremely effective technology is bi-polar air ionization. This is the introduction of positive and negative air ions into spaces such as dining areas in restaurants, trash rooms and other trash storage areas, kitchens, food cases and general food store areas, anywhere that odors are produced, or customers can come in contact with them.
Air is one amenity that will touch all aspects in a food service establishment, from the staff to the patrons, to the food itself.
These ions perform many functions such as reducing bacteria and germs. Bacteria can often be odorous and can lead to contaminated food. Clean air systems using bi-polar ions attack and kill bacteria, reducing odors and preserving freshness in food.
Many gasses can also lead to odors and deterioration of food. Ethylene gas which is produced by many fruits and vegetable age will increase mold growth and spoilage of produce. This gas also has an unpleasant odor. Bi-Polar ions are very effective at breaking down ethylene, eliminating the odors and also improving the shelf life of produce as less saturation of ethylene gas will forestall the spoilage process.
Also, many times the food establishment may be victim to odors beyond their control that affect the patron’s experience. The building could be located in an area where odors reside in the outside air, near an industrial facility, a busy highway, a waste water facility, etc. In these cases, the bi-polar ion systems are quite effective, as these systems can integrate with the building’s heating and cooling systems, to supply ions with the conditioned air to inside spaces and reduce contaminants providing cleaner fresher odor free air, enhancing the patron’s experience.
Gaming casinos, such as Hard Rock Casino, Stations Casinos and Wynn, with smoking being an inherent odor to deal with, have used these systems to reduce those odors in their gaming areas, and also in the restaurants within the casino to provide an odor free environment.
Another fact in any restaurant, supermarket, or any other food establishment is the need for staff. Food service establishments need a high ratio of staff to customers to ensure a pleasant experience and good service. Add in the patrons, and you have a densely populated space, where illness and germs can be spread from person to person. As every restaurant knows, you don’t want your cooking or wait staff calling out sick on Saturday night, absenteeism equals lost productivity. The US EPA estimates that businesses lose 60 billion dollars per year due to lost productivity. By keeping the air inside cleaner, fresher and healthier, the spread of germs and illness is reduced and absenteeism is also reduced.
Air is one amenity that will touch all aspects in a food service establishment, from the staff to the patrons, to the food itself. As careful choices are made with many other amenities, careful consideration should be given to the indoor air to help ensure the positive experience the establishment needs to provide.