One tech company's vision is helping quick-serve brands bounce back from COVID-19.

­­­So much of the technology that had helped rapidly modernize the restaurant industry over the past decade was costly but necessary. Brands that invested in technology that helped automate certain tasks—like self-ordering kiosks and cloud-based POS solutions—were seeing results in replacing long-term, ongoing labor costs, but almost overnight much of that progress was undone.

“Even the most modern brands that have invested in things like self-ordering kiosks are having to hire someone to work full time to wipe down the equipment between usages, which means any cost savings offered by those automated systems has basically disappeared,” says Shokouh Shafiei, president and CEO of DSA Signage. “Not to mention, the industry has had to spend more on cleaning supplies overall.”

Known for its industry-leading work with Starbucks, Slim Chickens, and a number of other growth brands, DSA Signage has been working overtime to help their clients weather the COVID-19 storm, rolling out new products geared toward the safety of employees and customers in the midst of the pandemic. One such product is an antimicrobial film that can be placed on a kiosk, POS tablet, or any other touchscreen surface, killing unwanted germs. The film is effective for up to one year, at which point it can easily be changed out.

Another groundbreaking product DSA Signage is rolling out is UV sanitation for freestanding kiosks, which similarly kills germs and viruses with low voltage UV rays that are safe to the human body. These measures are meant to help provide a welcoming restaurant environment for guests, but they also help keep labor costs down. An employee solely dedicated to cleaning screens between uses is no longer necessary.

“When this pandemic hit, I immediately got on the phone with our clients to see what we could help them with,” Shafiei says. “One of the things we kept hearing was that brands had recently invested in this new technology but now guests weren’t comfortable using it, or they were spending a lot to clean these products. That’s something we knew we could help with—we are known for our custom solutions. We have very few standard products, and we’re agile so that we can help our clients create their vision.”

Shafiei doesn’t believe that these COVID-19-related solutions are temporary, either. As the public continues to become educated about COVID-19 and wellness in general, the pivot to fewer person-to-person interactions is already here. Designing restaurants that are conducive to limiting those touchpoints will be the future.

“An increasing amount of people are going to avoid busy, crowded dining rooms,” Shafiei says. “That means more and more quick-service restaurants will be changing their footprints and shifting how they are designed moving forward. We need to think about that future and get ready for it. We have a lot of work to do, as we are just at the beginning of this moment, but like I said—we are an agile company that puts our clients’ needs first, and I believe our record speaks for itself on that.”

For more information, visit the DSA Signage website at

By Charlie Pogacar

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