Now more than ever, customers are conscious of how restaurants are handling safety precautions. Datassential reported in the midst of the pandemic that 80 percent of consumers were paying close attention to which safety precautions restaurants were following and enforcing. As a result, restaurant operators are making a strong pivot toward touchless service methods across the foodservice landscape to ensure that guests feel safe.
At the same time, restaurants have had a tough year and implementing some touchless technologies can be cost-prohibitive, especially across an entire quick-service brand’s footprint. Fortunately, that is not the case for a new technology that was developed by Cornelius, a leader in the beverage solutions space. Cornelius is helping operators create touchless beverage programs without purchasing new fountain equipment, and the solution can be installed in two hours or less.
According to Steve Miller, senior director of product management at Marmon Foodservice Technologies—the parent company of the Cornelius brand—the technology was an idea that the company had come up with years ago because of rising consumer interest in touchless operations, but its journey to market was accelerated by the pandemic. In fact, according to research completed by Product Evaluations in 2018 on behalf of Cornelius, touchless dispensing is one of the machine design elements that can surprise and delight consumers, enhancing the overall beverage dispensing experience. He says that while some competitors have come out with similar technologies of late, Cornelius’s touchless solutions are elegant, and its cup-sensing technology with indicator levels make it easy for customers and crew to single-handedly dispense any size beverage.
There are two major reasons that Miller believes this technology from Cornelius is going to help operators increase foot traffic into stores as the pandemic is brought under control. For one, it will improve customer confidence. Even if a vaccine is wildly successful, general awareness of sanitation and hygiene was already trending upward prior to the pandemic, Miller says.
“Anything we can do to further build confidence with consumers is going to be a plus,” Miller says. “We really think making touchless the norm will help attract consumers back to the category as a whole.”
A second reason the touchless ice and beverage dispensing equipment will help drum up foot traffic is that it is a new experience diners are just learning about and starting to enjoy.
“There is also a big need to bring people back into restaurants right now,” Miller says. “Touchless is a new and novel technology that looks really good and customers are going to want to give it a try. So we are looking at this not just as a safety feature, but also an attraction to get people to come back to restaurants.”
Miller says this is simply the latest technology the company has come up with to help operators better serve their customers. The Cornelius brand has been around for over 80 years and has a breadth of experience in helping operators execute an elite beverage program.
“Our focus is and will always be on providing great beverage-dispensing solutions,” Miller says. “We are a top partner choice for the leading quick-service brands, and it’s because we not only have great equipment, but most service technicians are fully familiar with our solutions and can install them effortlessly.”
For more information on how to create a touchless beverage program, visit the Cornelius website.