More and more businesses are waking up to the fact that air curtains can make their work premises more energy-efficient and their employees more comfortable. This is apparent in the steady growth of the global air curtain market.
In 2020, the market size of air curtains was more than $1 billion, and from 2020 to 2028, it’s projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.6%.
Whether it’s a fast-food spot or a Michelin star restaurant, patrons come in with certain expectations. And a single bad customer experience can cost you dearly.
According to a Deloitte survey, only 41% of customers who’ve had a positive experience at a restaurant may recommend it to others. But on the other hand, 73% of customers are likely to speak to their friends and family about a poor experience.
Open doors at retail establishments serve as an inviting gesture for customers and restaurants are no different. Leaving the doors open also makes your restaurant more freely accessible to people in wheelchairs, pushing baby strollers, etc.
But open doors also enable the free movement of flying insects and pollutants that can spoil the experience of your customers. Not to mention, they allow the outside air to enter easily, which makes it harder for you to maintain an optimal indoor temperature.
Air curtains produce a continuous stream of air at your entryways which acts as a barrier and helps with temperature regulation and pest control — even when the doors are open. In addition, they prevent contaminants from entering the dining area which further enhances the customer experience.
Odors from the kitchen can also negatively affect the dining experience. Installing an air curtain at the receiving door or the kitchen can help with odor control thus creating a superior experience for customers.
As discussed earlier, air curtains installed at restaurant entrances can help with pest, pollutant, and insect control, so you can maintain high sanitation standards in the dining area. But that’s not all.
Restaurant kitchens are busy areas that get a lot of foot traffic. Servers may be moving in and out continuously, supplies may come in intermittently through the back door, and chefs may often need to walk in and out of the freezer or cold storage. Plus, the area is prone to spills, and odors emanating from the kitchen can attract all sorts of insects and pests. Not to mention odors from the back door and trash area.
Air curtains can keep the kitchen environment hygienic by keeping insects, dust, and pollutants out without creating any safety hazard for the restaurant staff.
Also, it’s crucial to maintain high sanitation standards at drive-thru windows. Because they continuously open and shut, it’s easy for flying insects, particulates, and vehicle emissions to enter. And most drive-thru windows open right into the kitchen — just feet away from food prep areas.
Since drive-thrus see constant activity, a physical barrier isn’t feasible but an air curtain can keep the area clean and hygienic without causing any hindrance to the staff.
One of the primary goals of using an air curtain — in just about any industry — is to regulate the indoor temperature in an energy-efficient manner. This applies to restaurants as well. By creating a barrier at entryways, air curtains prevent the flow of climatized air from inside the restaurant to the outside and create a temperature separation between the two environments. So when it’s cold outside, air curtains help retain the warm air from your heaters and when it’s hot outside, they minimize the loss of cool air from your air conditioning.
Not only does this increase employee and customer satisfaction, but also reduces the load on your HVAC system which doesn’t need to work too hard to maintain an optimal indoor temperature. This brings down your energy bills significantly.
The same applies to walk-in coolers or freezers at restaurants as well. With an air curtain, you can prevent air transfer every time the doors are opened, thus, improving the efficiency of the cooler and bringing down energy costs.
Air curtains can also help you deal with wet floors, icing, and condensation issues at cold storage facilities. Due to the difference in temperature between the outside and inside, there’s often icing and condensation near the cold storage doors. There can also be a lot of drippage and other unique issues — especially in humid places like Florida or Hawaii.
All this presents safety hazards for people walking in and out of your restaurant’s cold storage. There are specially designed air curtains that can mitigate these and create safer working conditions for your staff.
Air curtains can also facilitate the quick drying of restaurant equipment and dishes. Commercial dishwashers — with drying tunnels for dishes to roll through to dry — generally take up a lot of floor space. Thus, they’re not quite practical for smaller restaurants.
The solution? You can install quick-dry air curtains at the end of a regular dishwasher, so your washed dishes can pass through a stream of air and dry quickly.
Restaurants are busy environments, and employees often struggle to keep up. As such, the fast-food industry sees a staggering monthly turnover rate of 144%. One way to reduce this is to provide a comfortable working environment for your staff. And air curtains can certainly help with this.
For one, air curtains can help you maintain a comfortable indoor temperature even when doors constantly open and shut. Plus, they can keep out dust, smoke, and insects at pass-thru windows.
Also, air curtains installed at the back door of restaurants, near the loading dock, can keep bad odors (from spills, refuse areas, etc.) out, thus creating a clean, hygienic, and comfortable environment for your restaurant staff. And employees are actually more productive when they’re comfortable.
With so many quality and safety standards to comply with, choosing the right air curtain for your restaurant can be tricky. Thankfully, Mars Air Systems offers an entire range of ETL Sanitation-certified air curtains that are specially designed for foodservice applications. And a Product Selector found at www.marsair.com can walk you through to identify which air curtain is best for your facility.
Our QuickDry™ series of air curtains can be easily attached to your existing warewasher (without cluttering your space) to quickly dry the dishes after they’re cleaned. And we also offer a series of air curtains specially designed for cold storage applications.
Air curtains can not only help you create a superior dining experience for your patrons, but also provide a comfortable and hygienic work environment for your staff. And as an added bonus, they also reduce your energy bills and increase the lifespan of your HVAC systems. Contact us today to find an air curtain that best suits your restaurant’s needs.