Does Foodservice Need Automatic Doors?

Even though nearly two-thirds of patrons prefer them, many restaurants have been slow to embrace the benefits of automatic doors.

The foodservice business often leads the way in automation innovations and touchless technology, but it’s lagging behind in one key area: the use of automatic doors. Despite the growing trend toward making in-person dining experiences as touchless as possible, many restaurants have been slow to embrace the benefits of automatic doors.

Clearly it’s a technology customers want to see more of. A study in Restaurant Business Online conducted by Magid research consultancy found that 64% of respondents would be influenced to visit a restaurant based on whether it had automatic doors.¹

restaurants automatic doors
(Photo: AdobeStock / Ipek Morel)

A separate survey from the National Restaurant Association that asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, found that six in 10 adults changed their restaurant use due to the rise in the Delta variant, 19% of adults completely stopped going out to restaurants, and 37% of adults ordered delivery or takeout instead of dining in a restaurant.²

Clearly, it’s important for restaurants to project a strong image of taking patron health seriouslyr. Automatic doors signal to the public that restaurant operators understand their concerns. It puts them at ease from the start and prepares them for a positive experience. 

Many restaurants responded to virus threats by having all employees wear masks, limiting store occupancy, and by offering carryout or contactless pickup/delivery. But what is probably the most-touched surface in any business? The door handle.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the public found automatic doors reassuing. A comprehensive survey conducted by the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM) revealed that respondents viewed the presence of automatic doors as a gauge of how much building owners and businesses cared about them. Plus, 98.9 percent of consumers who expressed a preference between automatic and manual doors prefer automatic doors.

Available in a variety of design options to fit virtually any architectural style or restaurant concept, automatic doors address concerns about surface germs, and also to signal that an establishment is taking health and safety concerns seriously. In addition to their germ-free characteristics, they offer convenience for people carrying packages, luggage, or children, and provide equal access to individuals with mobility challenges or other physical differences.

Notes

¹ https://magid.com/mentions/do-consumers-trust-their-restaurants-to-protect-their-health/
² https://restaurant.org/research-and-media/media/press-releases/national-restaurant-association-releases-2021-mid-year-state-of-the-restaurant-industry-update/

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