Dining out is all about the food and the experience. From the producer, distributor and retailer to the restaurant – how the food is stored, prepared and presented can be a sensory experience that makes you want to come back again and again.
However, unwanted or unpleasant odors can deter from that experience and lead to a false and negative impression of a dining establishment or food market.
A seafood restaurant, for example, can receive and prepare very fresh fish daily, but in the course of preparation there is waste that needs to be disposed. This waste is held in a garbage room or dumpster 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 or safe. This is a common problem in supermarkets with fish departments and cases. Although everything is being done correctly, odors are a natural byproduct that need to be dealt with.
Removing the Smell
One very effective way to deal with unwanted and distracting odors is by purifying the air and reducing the contaminants that lead to odors in a restaurant or supermarket. One extremely effective technology for reducing odors is bipolar 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, basically anywhere that odors are produced or customers can come in contact with them.
These ions perform many functions, including reducing bacteria and germs. Bacteria can often be odorous and can lead to contaminated food. Clean air systems using bipolar ions attack and kill bacteria, reducing odors and preserving freshness in food.
Many gases can also lead to odors and deterioration of food. Ethylene gas, which is produced by many fruits and vegetables, will increase mold growth and spoilage of produce. This gas also has an unpleasant odor. Bipolar 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.
The food establishment may also be victim to odors beyond its control that affect the customer’s experience. The building could be located in an area where odors reside in the outside air caused by a nearby industrial facility, a busy highway, a waste water facility, etc. In these cases, the bipolar ion systems are quite effective as they 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 and enhancing the dining experience.
Gaming casinos such as Hard Rock Casino, Stations Casinos and Wynn have used these systems to reduce odors such as smoking 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 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 shoppers or diners and you have a densely populated space where illness and germs can be spread from person to person.
As every restaurateur knows, you don’t want your cooking or wait staff calling in sick on Saturday night. Absenteeism equals lost productivity and lack of service. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that businesses lose $60 billion per year due to lost productivity. The spread of germs, illness and absenteeism is reduced when the air inside is kept cleaner, fresher and healthier.
Indoor air quality is one amenity that can touch all aspects in a foodservice establishment, from the staff to the patrons, to the food itself. As careful choices are made about amenities in food servicing, whether in a supermarket or restaurant, new consideration should be given to cleaning up the indoor air from germs, bacteria and odors to help ensure a positive, safe and odor-free dining experience.