HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — You may be familiar with the digital-menu experience at some local restaurants in town: you take out your phone, and scan a QR code that brings up the menu online. Well, News 8 wanted to see how this might be impacting menu manufacturing companies. One nationwide company H Risch Inc in Rochester is turning those pandemic curve-balls into good.
“The restaurant industry was one of hardest hit industries in the country, and it’s still struggling to come back, lot of closures, limited seating capacity. Which not only affects customers, but with the trickle down effect, affects our company and our core products,” said president of H. Risch Inc. Scott Tartaglia.
With some research and brainstorming, Tartaglia and his team realized there was a need in the community they could help with – the need for physical barriers in classrooms.
His team determined that the material used to make menus can be re-purposed for plastic barriers. Tartaglia calls them sneeze guards – and said they’re also making them for conference rooms.
“Our desk shield product launched about four weeks ago,” he said. “It is primarily designed for students as schools were opening up, the timing was appropriate. It took off better than we anticipated … we went through a couple different product prototypes and finally found one that is suitable, and low cost option to other barriers out there, portable, easy to clean,” he said.
He said they aren’t just shipping in bulk to school districts, but to parents and grandparents. Tartaglia said Amazon has been especially helpful for those individual orders.
While the company is introducing these new products, they’re still making menus.
Tartaglia says the company uses a silver-ion coating for products, something that is effective in reducing bacteria growth. He said while the rise in the QR code system is still a challenge, it may do more harm than good.
“The notion out there is that menus are dirty, when the fact of the matter is chances are your phone is much dirtier than menu covers,” he said. “You also have trained professionals in food safety and sanitation, so there’s a very good chance that menu was wiped down clean and sanitized before it goes in your hand. On the other hand, do you do that to your phone?”
Another product they’re introducing is a silver-ion coated chef’s apron. “This will be easy to clean, not retain odors, and fights mold, fungi and bacteria.”
Tartaglia says there’s always room for new ideas – and in these times, the big focus for products is hygiene.
He added that the sewing aspect of production is something that is in high-demand for their location, too.