As many Arizona restaurants prepare to open back up for dine-in services Monday, one restaurant team in the valley plans to serve up some extra protection with help from a robot.
"What they call it is a shock and shield," says Bob Schulken, who runs the Phoenix and Scottsdale locations of Cien Agaves, along with his partner Roque Jimenez.
The shock is the UV light, blasting every surface to kill off germs and the shield is a heavy-duty spray designed to destroy any bacteria that lands on it.
The technology comes from Wisconsin-based OMNI Solutions. The technology is typically used in hospitals, like Mayo Clinic, and Cien Agaves is the first restaurant to try it out in Arizona, CEO Andrew Rupnow said.
"They’re taking hospital grade disinfection and bringing it to the restaurant level to make sure all their guests are protected," Rupnow said.
Rupnow says the shock and shield method should last 90 days. The team at Cien Agaves says they'll reapply the technology for as long as they need to, but that's not all they're doing to keep customers safe.
Ahead of reopening dine-in, they’ve put up partitions, spaced out tables, and are even retraining staff on using masks and gloves. Plus, you don't even have to touch a menu - you can scan it to your phone using a QR code.
"We’ve always believed in protecting the public," Schulken said. "We believed in it before this whole thing and we believe in it now."
The pandemic hasn't been easy on them. Jimenez and Schulken say they shut down their locations for several weeks before opening up for take-out late April. They missed out on all the spring training traffic, which is usually one of their busiest times during the year.
"That was probably the hardest thing of this whole virus hitting us," Jimenez tells. "Having to lay off our entire staff, including ourselves."
But, with all these extra measures in place, they feel the time is right to start filling their tables that have been empty for more than two months.
"It's going to feel great," Schulken says.
"It’s going to feel awesome," adds Jimenez.