It’s no secret that online reviews wield a lot of power in the digital age. In fact, they can make or break a business. However, the COVID-19 crisis has elevated the influence of online reviews to a whole new level.
“Just one negative review about poor cleaning or safety practices can make a bad impression and result in lost sales.”
Now that health and safety are among the top concerns for consumers everywhere, many individuals will research a business online before visiting the store, restaurant, or other type of facility. Just one negative review about poor cleaning or safety practices can make a bad impression and result in lost sales. While disgruntled customers are not a new phenomenon by any means, their impact is amplified on review sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Google.
According to Inc. Magazine, it takes an average of 40 glowing reviews (i.e., 4 to 5-stars) to undo the damage caused by just one bad review. When you take into consideration that only one out of ten happy consumers is willing to write a positive review, damage control may seem overwhelming or just downright impossible.
“The easiest place to start is to showcase your COVID-19 safety procedures loud and proud.”
The best form of action is to eliminate the need for customers to leave a bad review at all. Although a business owner’s number one priority should always be to create a positive experience for their customers, this goal is more challenging than ever before due to the difficulties caused by the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, the easiest place to start is to showcase your COVID-19 safety procedures loud and proud.
Make sure employees are always donning the proper PPE whether they’re interacting face-to-face with customers or working behind the scenes.
Post COVID-19 information signs throughout the facility describing your efforts to maintain a clean and safe facility.
Share your heightened cleaning practices on your website and social media channels.
If applicable, offer virtual support for customers or curbside services.
Businesses everywhere have a responsibility to uphold COVID-19 guidelines, but they may find themselves on the wrong end of a review if these safety measures are not conveyed to consumers. The effect is even greater for small businesses that operate at a limited capacity.
Follow these best practices from Yelp, an authority on online reviews, to help your business succeed!
We are now seeing inquiries regarding the effectiveness of disinfectants against the new strains, or variants, of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the virus that causes of the disease known as COVID-19.
“All products on the EPA List N will kill all strains of SARS-CoV-2, including new variants.”
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, all products on the EPA List N will kill all strains of SARS-CoV-2. Genetic changes to the virus do not impact the efficacy of disinfectants. List N disinfectants work by chemically inactivating viruses. The difficulty of killing a virus depends on its physical features, and the recent mutations to SARS-CoV-2 have not changed the basic physical properties.
This being said, any infectious pathogen that undergoes a change that increases its transmissibility poses a greater risk of spread throughout the community. Therefore, it is critical that facilities open to the public continue to ensure that:
All frequently touched surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a routine basis
Indoor air quality is maximized through proper ventilation and/or air filtration systems
Effective hand washing and/or sanitizing is encouraged
All other mitigation efforts, such as masking, social distancing, and physical barriers are in place
These public health measures are now even more important than ever for controlling, and hopefully, preventing the transmission of the COVID-19 infection from individual to individual.
Imperial Dade offers a range of resources that can assist you in evaluating your current situation and, if needed, provide the appropriate solutions to help enhance your program. If you have any questions regarding your current infection prevention efforts, whether it be a school, office, restaurant, or other public venue, contact us today! Visit http://www.imperialdade.com to find a location near you.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one reality that has emerged is that as a nation we are now using more disinfectants, on more surfaces, and more frequently than ever before. In addition, many of these surfaces were never designed or intended to be disinfected. Plus, we’re applying the disinfectants through a whole new range of sprayer, fogging and misting systems, many of which weren’t even on the market 6 months ago. Although the concern for COVID-19 is valid, we do need to be equally concerned about the possible health and environmental impact of the significantly increased exposure to these potent disinfectant chemistries.
As we move to the next, and hopefully final, stage of our battle against the SARS coronavirus, it is a good time to consider the implications of our disinfection practices and look at an emerging concept known as targeted hygiene. Targeted hygiene fosters a balanced approach of preventing disease transmission with reducing over exposure of the environment to disinfectants and other microbial agents and potentially offers a sustainable strategy for the control of pathogenic microorganisms.
“It is a good time to consider the implications of our disinfection practices and look at an emerging concept known as targeted hygiene.”
During the COVID-19 health crisis, concerns with controlling the spread of disease has resulted in an extraordinary level of disinfection, be it through manual wipes or electrostatic sprayers. While the cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces is an important component of an effective hygiene program, a risk assessment of possible disease exposure needs to be a part of the decision making process. The following considerations can help assess risk levels and provide guidance in establishing the appropriate disinfection protocols.
Sites and Surfaces
Cleaning by manual wiping is generally sufficient for surfaces that in contact with a limited number of individuals. Then as the number of people interacting with these surfaces increases, the addition of a daily or periodic disinfectant application is warranted. Also, the surfaces themselves can make a big difference in the transmission of infection. Soft surfaces resist disinfection due to their very nature. At best, we can only hope to achieve some level of sanitizing which is just a reduction of pathogens and again needs to be weighed against the real infection transmission exposure risk. Variations in the behavior of the specific pathogen and their persistence in the environment plays a role in this analysis.
Cleaning Versus Disinfecting
“Some facilities are attempting to disinfect as if they are in a constant state of outbreak which can potentially result is an overuse of disinfectants.”
During the current COVID-19 crisis, the CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting has always recommended a two level approach. Basically, when the facility is free of active outbreaks in the facility is to continue to conduct routine cleaning and disinfection using the products typically used with attention being paid to surfaces not normally cleaned on a daily basis. But, when there is an outbreak, or positive cases are identified, all potentially affected areas need to be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly with special attention to all frequently touched surfaces. However, it has been our experience that some facilities are attempting to disinfect as if they are in a constant state of outbreak which can potentially result is an overuse of disinfectants.
Key to the safe use of any of these potent disinfectant chemicals is following the use instructions on the label which provides information on proper dilution, contact times, application methods, and first aid. Many disinfectants do not have approved label instructions for application via electrostatic sprayers and/or foggers so it is important to get clear, written authorization from the chemical manufacturer prior to their use through these systems. Furthermore, it is important to insure that proper personal protective equipment is employed during disinfection as there can be significant health hazards, especially where spraying or fogging is involved.
“At Imperial Dade, our corporate commitment to health and wellness allows us the opportunity to assist our customers in establishing targeted hygiene programs appropriate to their facilities and operations.”
Once the current COVID-19 health emergency is brought under control, thought will need to be given as to developing a sustainable approach to maintaining hygienic environments in our schools, healthcare institutions, restaurants, and office buildings. At Imperial Dade, our corporate commitment to health and wellness allows us the opportunity to assist our customers in establishing targeted hygiene programs appropriate to their facilities and operations.
Contact your local Imperial Dade sales consultant to learn more about the products, services and programs that are available. Visit us at http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you and request a consultation.
John Thomas, Director of Health & Wellness at Imperial Dade, earned a BS in Microbiology from Penn State University and began his career as a microbiologist in the food industry. He has taught high school chemistry and worked for a number of leading chemical companies before joining Imperial Dade. He holds a number of professional certifications including the CMIP (Certificate of Mastery in Infection Prevention) and has completed programs in epidemiology by APIC (Association of Professionals in Infection Control.)
Automation takes a lot of forms — robotic floor care is one of them!
Advancements in commercial equipment have paved the way for intelligent cleaning solutions, making robotic vacuum cleaners a sound investment for businesses both large and small.
Many business owners or operation managers interested in maintaining high cleaning standards without increasing labor costs have adopted automated floor care as the leading solution. This next-generation technology is the perfect companion to any janitorial team because it maximizes cleaning efficiency without breaking the budget. Considering the cleaning industry is often understaffed, whether due to labor shortage or high employee turnover, assigning this mundane task to a machine allows your work personnel to focus on more important cleaning tasks, such as sanitation and disinfection.
Moreover, robotic floor scrubbers can effectively improve commercial cleaning processes. Manual cleaning routines are prone to human error and can miss as much as 15 percent of an area, whereas automated floor care delivers 98 percent to 99.5 percent cleaning coverage. Certain models are designed to automatically calculate the best cleaning path, while others can be manually programmed and reprogrammed for your peace of mind. Once upon a time, this required the help of an experienced engineer, but technological advancements allow on-site managers to handle this on their own!
A great advantage of owning a commercial robotic scrubber (besides having a team member who never calls in sick) is that it requires minimal supervision. Once programmed, the Liberty SC50 from our partners at Nilfisk, for example, can operate up to six hours on a single charge without human guidance. Once the work has been finished, or assistance is required, the machine can automatically contact the manager.
Although robotic scrubbers have a higher up-front cost, they pay for themselves in a short period of time and can last up to 10 years with proper care. Facilities that are cleaned every day or more frequently will have a payback period of 14 to 24 months. It is estimated that labor makes up 90 percent of facility maintenance costs, which can rise even further for buildings that need to be cleaned more frequently. By adopting automated floor care solutions, businesses can save a lot of money in the long run and allocate that budget to other projects.
This is also a fantastic way to improve sustainability efforts. State-of-the-art robotic scrubbers are designed to be incredibly efficient and minimize the use of energy, water, and cleaning chemicals.
Both employees and customers value a business that prioritizes cleanliness for the public’s health and safety, especially in the COVID-19 era. A survey conducted by The Harris Poll shows that poor cleanliness would lead a staggering 99 percent of Americans to develop a negative perception of the business. The current pandemic has only exacerbated our need for clean commercial sites.
Businesses from a wide range of industries can benefit from automated floor care:
Retail shopping stores
Are you interested in expanding your janitorial team with a robotic scrubber? Take a look at this infographic to decide whether automated floor care is right for you.
Working with an experienced distributor who can consult on the cleaning equipment options, perform demonstrations, and provide onsite training is essential to selecting the best machines and ensuring ROI.
Imperial Dade has a long history of helping clients discover innovative solutions to improve their commercial cleaning practices. We would love to do the same for you! Contact us today to learn more about automated floor cleaning, and, as always, check our COVID-19 guide to ensure your business is a safe and healthy environment for employees and guests alike.
Earlier this year, when COVID-19 first started to spread across the country, scientists knew very little about the emerging pathogen. As infections began to rise, experts went about to determine how exactly the disease was spreading. One aspect of transmission that became highly evident was the virus’s ability to spread so effectively in indoor environments.
As research continued and the potential for airborne transmission was realized, concerns arose in the business community on how to safely and effectively manage indoor air quality to protect the health of building occupants.
Coronavirus and the Indoor Workplace
As the threat of indoor air contamination was better understood, the CDC set up guidelines to help businesses modify indoor workspaces in an effort to reduce transmission.
Through the help of these guidelines, it is possible to safely reopen an office or indoor work environment at reduced capacity. Please note that this information is subject to change dependent on a region’s transmission rates.
The Importance of Ventilation and Filtration
One aspect of reducing indoor transmission of COVID-19 is the need for adequate ventilation and filtration. Businesses should consult with their HVAC contractor to ensure that air conditioners, heating systems, and ventilation fans are thoroughly cleaned and operating at maximum effectiveness.
Businesses should also review the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of all air filtration units operating at their facilities. The higher a MERV rating, the better potential for a filter to remove virus particles from the air. According to the CDC, MERV ≥13 filters are efficient at capturing airborne viruses and removing them from circulating air.
To ensure employees’ health and safety, business owners must make certain all the necessary measures are taken to thoroughly inspect and correct potential ventilation problems for an indoor workspace. This protocol, combined with social distancing measures and the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces should help reduce the potential for viral contamination and spread in an office environment.
For over 85 years, Imperial Dade has been a leader in the distribution facilities maintenance supplies, chemicals, and cleaning equipment. For professional help in combatting the spread of COVID-19, you can count on Imperial Dade to offer both outstanding customer service and high-quality product solutions for your business. For more information about our products and consultative services, contact us today!
The secret war between paper towels and hand dryers needs to end in the COVID-19 era. The “health and wellness first” mindset that so many people have developed in the last year has everyone wondering: which product promotes superior hand drying that is both healthy and effective?
The answer may not surprise you if you have followed the news over the years.
You may recall a breakout news story that went viral in the early months of 2018, exhibiting the effects of a Petri dish left to incubate inside of a hand dryer for 48 hours. The student who performed the science experiment shared the photo of the unsightly bacterial colonies that had grown inside the Petri dish on her Facebook page, and the rest is history. The post was shared by 500,000+ people in just a matter of days and covered by local and national news channels and newspapers. This sparked a debate in the scientific community about whether hand dryers were as hygienic as their manufacturers claimed.
Although the news story received national coverage a few years ago, the implications of the experiment’s results have an even bigger impact now that we’re living through a pandemic.
Now more than ever, people everywhere are trying to limit their interaction with harmful germs and bacteria by wearing masks, constantly washing and sanitizing their hands, maintaining social distance guidelines, etc. So, let’s put an end to this debate once and for all. Are hand dryers unhygienic?
The simple answer is yes.
Numerous studies have shown that hand dryers contaminate the surrounding environment by dispersing harmful bacteria and pathogens in the air. The Journal of Applied Microbiology released a study that compared paper towels to warm air dryers and jet air dryers. The results showed that jet air dryers released 1,300 times more bacteria than hand towels. Another study conducted by Tork, an Essity brand, echoed similar results — jet air dryers spread 10 times more germs. A GP Pro infographic found here states that 70 percent of germs released by jet air dryers have a radius of at least four feet. Kimberly-Clark Professional also released an in-depth resource that compares jet air dryers and paper towels on quite a few different factors.
Let’s not forget that in today’s world, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The same study from Tork found that 80 percent of consumers don’t feel safe using unhygienic bathrooms in a COVID-19 world.
The best way to build trust with your customers is to make the switch to paper towels and touch-free towel dispensers. Take a look at these benefits that paper towels offer over hand dryers.
Imperial Dade carries a wide variety of paper towels and dispensers from the leading brands including Victoria Bay. Contact a location near you and request a consultation. View our COVID-19 resources for more tips on creating a healthy environment for all employees and guests at your place of business.
Tips from Mitch Irvine, VP of Sales, National Accounts – Imperial Dade
Buy concentrated chemicals which provide significant cost savings and reduce the need for chemical storage space. Our EDS (Easy Dilution System) or CMS (Chemical Management System) allow for super-concentrated formulas to be mixed by a wall-mounted dispensing system and the final product is only 10% of the RTU (Ready to Use) equivalent.
Invest in maintaining your floor cleaning equipment. Well maintained equipment avoids costly unexpected breakdowns which halt productivity.
Reduce labor costs by implementing robotic cleaning equipment into your operations. Autonomous floor cleaning can save as much as 4 hours a day compared to manual machines, delivering an excellent ROI.
Purchase matting rather than renting. Your establishment can own a custom-printed mat for the cost of about 10 weeks of rental fees. Use an outdoor scraper mat for the initial tough soils and then an olefin mat on the inside to capture the final debris. It can cost up to $500 to remove one pound of soil from a building. Matting is the first defense to reduce indoor floor soil.
Our experienced Chemical Managers and Floor Care Specialists are available to help you reduce costs and improve safety and cleanliness in your facility. Contact an Imperial Dade location near you to get started!
Tips from Andrew Paton, Regional Sales Director– Imperial Dade
Invest in takeout packaging. Save money on leftover packaging. Instead of buying a “middle of the road” vessel for both leftovers and takeout, use an inexpensive package like a paper food pail for customers’ leftovers and utilize a high-end package like a Cube container for takeout and delivery.
In coastal and high-tourism areas, timeshares and vacation rentals are common. Restaurants can create a takeout container or takeout cup that is dishwasher safe and will end up being reused in the kitchens of these rentals. Some examples are souvenir cups and dishwasher-safe takeout containers. Branding a cup or container with your logo and contact information is a great way to market to visitors that stay in these rentals.
Garbage bags and can liners are often misused. Take a look at the garbage bag in your trash can. If there is more than 6 inches of bag hanging off the side, you should be using a shorter, and less expensive, can liner. Try our Accufit liners. Each size of liner is designed to specifically fit the corresponding trash can.
The most common dispenser roll towel in the market is a 350ft roll. The Victoria Bay high capacity roll towel is 1150ft. That’s over three times the amount of paper on the roll. By using a high capacity roll, your staff will change out the towels less often and the cost in use is significantly less.
Handled paper bags are the most common takeout bags in the market due to customer preferences. A great option is a die-cut handle paper bag. These bags are less expensive than traditional rolled paper handled bags yet have the same useful features and benefits.
Our experienced consultants are available to help you streamline operations, save money, and improve customer satisfaction. Contact an Imperial Dade location near you to get started!
Sustainability, while currently in the shadow of the pandemic, will reemerge as a priority for many companies and consumers alike. For this issue of the Expert Interview, Laura Craven, Imperial Dade’s VP of Marketing, spoke with Richa Desai, Director, Sustainability for Sabert, a leading foodservice packaging manufacturer.
LC: Tell us about your role at Sabert?
RD: I have been in this role for just over a year and a half. I am responsible for collaborating with our internal functions to develop a coordinated sustainability road map to deliver Sabert’s sustainability commitments. I am also responsible for designing and executing a sustainability strategy to drive business performance and sustainable innovation across our company’s value chain.
LC: How did you become interested in this field of work?
RD: Sustainability has always been a very integral part of life. I grew up in a small town in the desert region on the west coast of India. The hardships brought by the extreme hot temperatures, followed by practically no rain and frequent power cuts inculcated a sense of value in me for natural resources like water, food, and energy very early on in my childhood. I started my career as an interior designer and always focused on merging modern day advancements in science and technology along with local craft and artisans in the design process to provide not only environmental, but also socially sustainable solutions. Further education, travel to different countries and interactions with national and international experts in the field of sustainability fueled my interest into a passion. Like so many others in the field, it was not a straight career path for me. Today, after a full day of work, I feel immensely satisfied and accomplished knowing that I am contributing, even if in a small way, to addressing some the biggest societal issues of our times. For me it is all about the sense of purpose.
“Sustainability may have taken a back seat, but climate change and packaging waste will still be here with us when we come out of this pandemic.”
LC: What is Sabert’s position on sustainable products and business practices?
RD: Sabert’s commitment to sustainability has been an ongoing effort dating back over 36 years. It is in our DNA to be sustainable. Sustainability is very well integrated into our business strategy which is evident through our Global Strategic Commitment. The commitment, to increase our share of sales from sustainable products, is supported in part by our fully owned plastics recycling facility – Nuvida and investments in local sourcing and manufacturing of all three – paper, plastics and pulp packaging.
LC: Tell us more about Nuvida.
RD: Nuvida is Sabert’s full-service, stand-alone recycling plant, recognized as one of the world’s leading processors and suppliers of food-grade recycled plastic resins. Nuvida has obtained a letter of compliance from the Food & Drug Administration, allowing post-consumer plastic beverage caps to be used in highly regulated packaging applications with direct food contact. Nuvida’s mission is to reduce plastic’s impact on the planet by transforming waste into the highest quality recycled resins.
LC: Has COVID-19 impacted the sustainability movement in foodservice?
RD: Absolutely! We just don’t know how long the shadow will persist. Disposability, which was once a dirty word, has now become a selling point as it offered safety and hygiene. Municipalities paused on recycling and bottle redemption, we experienced a budget deficit, lower oil prices, and changes in regulatory priorities and disruptions in supply chain. All of these factors contributed to a setback in the sustainability movement. Sustainability may have taken a back seat, but climate change and packaging waste will still be here with us when we come out of this pandemic. So, brands that keep their commitments to sustainability will emerge stronger on the other side.
“If there is one thing that is very well evident, it is that take-out and delivery is here to stay along with an increase in e-commerce demand.”
LC: How does packaging fit into sustainability programs in the foodservice industry?
RD: We all know that food packaging delivers many benefits such as food safety, portion control and extended shelf life that prevents food from going to waste. However, the increase in use of packaging has contributed to the waste issue that we are dealing with as a society today.
As a packaging company, we play a key role in being a part of the solution to this single use packaging waste problem. At Sabert, we recognize the importance of moving towards a circular economy where waste is designed out of the process. Following the circular economy principle, we have defined our sustainable products as products that are either compostable or are recyclable with an average of more than or equal to 25% recycled or bio-based content. Through this definition, we are not only addressing the problem of packaging waste, but are also reducing our dependence on virgin fossil fuel based raw materials.
LC: In addition to compostability and recyclability, are there other important attributes of sustainable packaging?
RD: To transition towards a circular economy, we will need multiple materials. It is not about selecting one material over the other. We need to consider the full life cycle impacts of a package. What is important is that we keep our packaging from ending up as waste by designing for recyclability or compostability at the end of their useful life by using recycled, recyclable, bio based or renewable raw materials. For us, it is absolutely imperative to ensure that we are sourcing materials ethically and responsibly, and that we are minimizing GHG emissions, water consumption and waste generation throughout our processes.
LC: How does sustainable packaging fit into certification systems such as LEED or GRA?
RD: Both LEED and GRA encourage sustainable purchasing and waste diversion out of landfill. They grant points/credits for using packaging that contains recycled content and/or is recyclable or compostable. Sabert offers a wide variety of products across its plastics, paper and pulp portfolio to help customers achieve and/or maintain LEED, TRUE ZERO waste certification and GRA.
RD: Earthtelligent is our comprehensive approach to sustainability. Through Earthtelligent, we are collaborating across our value chain, from our suppliers to end consumers, to advance waste reduction, energy efficiency, smart sourcing, education & advocacy and research & reinvention. Each of these pillars have specific goals and metrics. We share our progress on these pillars with our stakeholders through our annual sustainability report.
LC: What other practices can manufacturers employ to reduce their impact on the environment?
RD: When I joined Sabert, the message from our CEO, Albert Salama was very clear – “let’s lead by doing the right thing”. We have been putting a lot of resources towards making our operations sustainable through energy and water efficiency, reducing waste and diverting it away from landfill, carbon reduction through renewable energy, energy efficient fleet and responsible sourcing. In short, we are “walking the talk” by developing sustainable products sustainably.
LC: How does changing legislation pose challenges and how can Sabert help operators navigate and comply with those rules?
RD: With rising awareness around climate change and single use packaging waste, consumers have become increasingly aware of the effects of non-sustainable products on the environment and governments are starting to act. With lack of national consensus around the issue, understanding these policies at a state, city or county level can get complex. We track the regulatory environment on a regular basis and can help operators via sharing a bill tracker that we update every quarter. We also work together with operators to address their specific needs.
LC: What do you see for the future when it comes to consumer preferences?
RD: If there is one thing that is very well evident, it is that take-out and delivery is here to stay along with an increase in e-commerce demand. People have realized the value packaging provides in safety, hygiene and preventing food waste. As per a study conducted by AMERIPEN, packaging is one of the three strategies to prevent food waste and related GHG emissions. Consumers will demand transparency more than ever. Sustainability is on the cusp of becoming a given in any product, right up there with quality and performance. So, I would like to encourage operators to demand sustainability performance in their purchases because it is only through our collaboration that we will create a better tomorrow!
LC: Thank you, Richa! This has been very informative and inspiring!
Contact your Imperial Dade representative today for a review of your foodservice packaging and other supplies. Our experts will help you identify more sustainable options that meet your needs. Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.