Research Identifies Contactless Technologies Customers Want to See When QSR Dining Rooms Reopen

Published Date

Minneapolis, MN – As people learn about what causes the spread of bacteria and contagions, dine-in guests at fast food restaurants are ready to tap and wave their way into contactless commerce.

The onset of COVID-19 was met by many ambitious operators who made quick and nimble changes to their operations as businesses shifted to 100% drive thru and curbside pickup. Once that settled, new discussions around accommodating social distancing while limiting the spread of the virus began to surface. The big question? What happens when we reopen dining rooms?

New research reveals that guests frequenting QSR and fast casual restaurants have definite preferences when it comes to contactless technology. In a study conducted late April and early May, results show little doubt that guests returning to dining rooms expect changes that include touchless controls.

The independent, blind study was conducted by Axiom Marketing in Bloomington, Minnesota, and commissioned by Compaction Technologies, Inc. (CTI), manufacturer of Original ecotrash® front-of-house trash compactors, which are found in thousands of fast food dining rooms, mall food courts, cafeterias, and other high-volume facilities throughout the U.S. CTI’s products all use contactless technology.

In early-April, CTI Chief Executive Officer Jeff Tolke and his team began seeing articles about how restaurants will change when the doors reopen. Articles mentioned the many contactless options available today, including ordering, payment and paper towel dispensers. What was missing was any mention of contactless trash disposal.

“Despite being in thousands of restaurants across the country, the contactless discussion around how to reopen dining rooms did not address trash disposal,” Tolke said. “We started thinking maybe people accept the status quo because they don’t know any other options. When we talked with operators, it confirmed our hunch. They thought they’d addressed everything, but many had not considered the trash. That’s when we commissioned the study, and the results jumped off the page at us.”

When presented with an alternative, guests had this to say about trash disposal:

Air dryers in restrooms were preferred by 59% of respondents, who answered Definitely Interested or Interested. That surprised Tolke and his team given research showing air dryers can spread disease through forced air circulation. But, when guests were presented with the alternative of contactless dispensers and traditional trash cans for disposal, 71% preferred this method of hand drying. The results jumped to an incredible 78% Definitely Interested or Interested when contactless dispensers and contactless paper towel disposal were offered.

Not only do guests prefer these technologies, Tolke says, “they’re sustainable alternatives to what’s commonly used. Contactless trash compactors compress eight bags of trash into one, which translates to 85% fewer trash bag changes, and a 90% reduction in trash bag use. Fewer trash bags means lower dumpster volume and less trash hauling cost. It also means staff has more time for other tasks, like helping customers.”

CTI is making the complete study results available to anyone who would like to see the full results, including opinions on ordering kiosks vs. at the counter, and demographics of survey participants. Email the company to request a copy at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..