If you’re one of the many restaurants that has recently reopened for dine-in service, it’s likely that one thing you are prioritizing on your long to-do list is cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
After all, even though the world is starting to open back up again, the COVID-19 virus hasn’t gone anywhere. So it’s essential to retain the health and safety procedures that we’ve all gotten used to using during the closures.
Now that you’re able to have your dining room up and running again, your focus might be on keeping everything that your customers come into contact with as clean as possible. This means tables, chairs, counters, door handles, entryways, concession stands, drink stations, and so forth.
But one thing that can be pretty easy to overlook is your point-of-sale (POS) system. The touch screens that are a part of these digital solutions are shared between and handled by multiple staff members throughout the day.
How dirty can these screens get?
Let’s use cell phone screens as an example. According to research conducted by The University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the average cell phone is 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. And major pathogens, such as E.Coli, Streptococcus, and MRSA, have routinely been found on electronic screens. Plus, research has shown that cell phones are covered in over 25,000 bacteria per square inch, making it one of the filthiest objects you could touch.
And this is only for a cell phone—a device that’s normally handled by one (or, at most, a few) people. Imagine the volume of germs that could be on a device that’s shared between an entire staff, or at least, shift.
So how can your restaurant keep its POS screens germ-free to prevent the possible spread of illness?
Here are a few tips for cleaning and disinfecting your POS hardware.
Before You Even Start Cleaning
Wash your hands! This may go without saying, but all too often it can be easy to forget, particularly if you’re really busy (as when you’re cleaning multiple areas) or may be tired (as when you’re cleaning late night after closing).
Remember that your hands are covered in germs as well. And you can’t fully clean your POS system if the germs from your hands are going to end up there.
Unplug the System from the Wall
For safety, unplug your POS system before cleaning it. Eliminate any residual static electricity from the computer by touching a metal part of the case and not any of the inside components. It’s essential to clear this static electricity first to prevent a shock to yourself or damage to the machine.
Use the Right Solution and Material
Never use household ammonia-based glass cleaners to clean your POS system. These cleaners can destroy the screen membrane and cause permanent discoloration. To effectively and safely clean your POS system, use a cleaning solution that’s recommended for your particular POS by the manufacturer, which should be in the system manual.
If you’re not sure which cleaner is recommended for your system, you can use a commercial touchscreen-friendly, ammonia-free cleaner.
Be sure to also use a microfiber cloth or towel. Spray the cleaner onto the cloth or towel, then wipe down the system. Do not spray the cleaner directly on the screen as the concentration of liquid could soak in between the thin layers and cause black spots to appear on the screen.
Perform the Right Motions
Gently wipe the screen surface using a circular motion to remove any dirt or residue from the glass. This can also help to prevent causing any streaks on the screen.
Dry the System
After the screen is swiped down using the liquid cleaner, use a dry cloth to remove any of the moisture from it. Do not use paper towels, napkins, or tissues for drying as they could scratch the screen.
Clean Your POS System Regularly
Ideally, POS screens should be cleaned each time a person uses it. Realistically this may not be possible, especially during rushes and peak times; but you should clean them as often as possible and certainly daily at opening and closing.
It would also be a good idea to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer next to your POS system, and encourage employees to use it before and after touching the screen. This could help make sure that only clean hands touch your POS screens.
As a device shared between a large number of employees, POS systems can harbor and spread a significant amount of germs. If you’re not regularly cleaning and disinfecting your POS screens, you could be putting both your staff and guests at an increased risk for contracting some pretty bad illnesses.
To protect workers and customers from the spread of COVID-19 and other ailments, it’s essential to keep your POS systems clean. This can be done by making sure that employees wash their hands before and after using your POS system, utilizing the right liquid cleaning solution and wiping cloths, and of course, upholding routine cleaning practices.
Drastically reducing or eliminating the need for shared items, be they reusable menus or shared POS screens, is where the restaurant industry is headed—no matter how long COVID lasts. To explore our contactless offerings and how they can help your restaurant in this new era we live in, take a look at our Solutions.