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Ovation: Hand Sanitizer On Restaurant Tables.


When I travel I make an effort to sample local foods.  It’s an opportunity to enjoy restaurants other than national chains that offer foods that I can’t find at home.  There are many regional chains that the locals find trite but visitors enjoy.  For example, on a recent trip west I had my first experience at Whattaburger.  I’ve learned that “Tex/Mex” means something very different in Houston than it does in Chicago and “authentic southern cuisine” really is better in the south.  New Yorkers rarely eat grits or cornbread and folks in rural Mississippi have probably never enjoyed a huge slice of pizza or a Philly CheeseSteak.

Last weekend, I encountered something that I thought was really strange.  When we went to a local restaurant, the hostess escorted us to our table and presented us with menus, silverware and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

“How odd,” I thought “Do I look particularly dirty or does she know something about this restaurant that I don’t care to know?”

I asked our server if it was their practice to offer hand sanitizer to every customer and received a reply to the affirmative.  In fact, he appeared to indicate that it was strange that I asked.

While I was, at first, put off by the possibility of a restaurant being so germ-infested that its wait staff suggests hand sanitizer before the onset of a meal, I eventually warmed to the idea and wondered why I’d never encountered this situation before.  Surely, by offering hand sanitizer to every diner, the possibility of spreading germs through the restaurant is dramatically decreased.  People who wouldn’t normally make a trip to the restroom to wash their hands (and return without touching a door knob) would surely use the hand sanitizer offered at the table.  Particularly if the rest of their party uses it, too.

This service appears to have been in place in some restaurants for many years and is slowly becoming a trend.  Many women, particularly mothers of small children, carry hand sanitizer in their handbags already so this service would be a welcome addition to their restaurant experiences.

While some might worry that overuse of hand sanitizers decreases their overall effectiveness, I say “what’s the harm in trying?”  I’d much rather come in contact with someone who is so clean that their hand sanitizer is ineffective than someone covered in germs.

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From → Ovations

  1. Some of us cannot be around air-borne “Fragrance”. I cannot stay in a room with certain air fresheners and most hand sanitizers. If it is in the bathroom and there is a minute or two for the product to dry before being around me, I’m okay. Your favorite restaurant will have me walking out the door. I cannot dine there.


  2. Those things are usually covered in germs and I wouldn’t want that sitting on my table. Besides, the condiment holds are probably covered too. I carry my own. I have a little tiny one that I refill from a bigger one.


  3. One other point to consider is that many hand sanitizers contain ingredients – like alcohol – that should be rinsed from the hands before touching food. You can now find a hand sanitizer that is Alcohol Free, nourishing, and soothing… and doesn’t require rinsing before touching food. It also comes in very light, natural scents such as cucumber mint or even fragrance-free.

    Dr. Marla


  4. I typically use hand sanitizer when I have to handle money or when I have to come in contact with people with colds or if I have a cold. I think I might find it strange to find it on my restaurant table & might be put off. I have not yet seen this in any restaurants I frequent.


  5. The world’s lost its mind. Nothing surprises me any more. But I for one wouldn’t use it. Think of all the germs on it. Lol. But it did make for a great blog. Thanks. Now if I run into this I will not wonder what the HECK!


  6. Will J permalink

    Aren’t hand sanitizers only effective as a bacterial prophylactic and are ineffective against viruses? Nothing beats washing your hands with soap and water. Seems to me that hand sanitizer is a second best attempt to partially address the problem.


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