How Your Restaurant Can Survive the Coronavirus Outbreak – Tips for Cleaning POS Terminals, Drive Thru Headsets and Fingerprint Readers

COVID-19 just started spreading late last year, and it has already resulted in 93,000 infections and 3,000 fatalities. Technomic recently composed a whitepaper on the coronavirus showing that 66% of consumers are following its spread and 42% consider it a threat to them and their families.

These concerns especially affect the restaurant industry, as 32% of consumers in Technomic’s survey say they will eat at restaurants less while only 13% plan to order more delivery during their time in self-quarantine or simply avoiding crowds at home. With the coronavirus now making its way to over 73 countries, 58% of consumers in the survey agreed that careful washing of food and utensils should be a priority.

According to the Center for Food Security & Public Health at Iowa State University, fomites are inanimate objects that transmit infection from one living thing to another. POS hardware can be a potential fomite, along with any other surface your employees and guests touch in your restaurant.

POS terminals are one of the most frequently used pieces of restaurant equipment. Touchscreens can harbor foodborne germs from employees failing to take off their gloves when switching from prep work to using the cash register. PCAP, which stands for projected capacitive, is a touchscreen technology that requires grounding to activate. If employees are using thin food service gloves with PCAP terminals, remind them to change their gloves if they need to touch food, especially after handling cash or credit cards.

You can find PCAP touchscreens in the following POS hardware from PAR:

Many value-oriented POS terminals have 5 wire resistive touchscreens, a technology that consists of two thin, electrically-resistive layers that come into contact when someone touches the screen. As a result, employees can use gloves, a stylus, or their bare hands with these touchscreens – presenting more opportunities for viral infections to spread since there are many potential sources of contamination.

Here is how to safely clean POS hardware to prevent the spread of infection:

  1. Turn off the POS terminal.
  2. Dampen a clean towel with carbonated water or use an alcohol-based disinfectant wipe. Never pour carbonated water directly onto the terminal.
  3. Wipe down the POS system, making sure to clean all hard to reach areas.

To clean drive-thru headsets, use the following steps:

  1. Remove the battery and foam pad.
  2. Wipe down the headset with a non-abrasive antiseptic wipe or a soft cloth sprayed with disinfectant. Never spray the headset directly.
  3. Make sure you do not soak the headset or bend the microphone.

For cleaning fingerprint readers, follow these recommendations:

  1. Apply the sticky side of a piece of adhesive cellophane tape to the window and then peel it off
  2. Avoid the following:
    • pouring liquid directly on the reader window
    • using alcohol-based cleaners
    • submerging in liquid
    • using paper or abrasive materials to rub the fingerprint window
    • poking the window coating with your fingernail, a pen, or other items

Stay tuned for more posts in our Coronavirus Updates Blog Series as researchers learn more about COVID-19. For more information on overall food safety, check out our post on how traceability makes food service safer and more profitable.