Sneeze Guard Buyers' Guide
Food bar sneeze guards, also called breath guards or food shields, are a necessary piece of equipment for any catering or foodservice operation that has self-serve food areas. These add-ons are required by health codes in many areas to protect food products from germs, dust, and other unsanitary particles. Sneeze guards are usually constructed of aluminum or stainless steel with glass or acrylic panes, but there are several different styles of sneezeguards available.
Because sneeze guards can be between 24 and 90 inches long, you'll want to know what size table will be used. Some buffet sneeze guards are specifically compatible with buffet tables with a certain amount of wells. Additionally, sneeze guards can be portable or mounted, so you'll want to consider whether you're purchasing for a temporary or permanent setup. Portable models are freestanding or secured with brackets, able to be placed on a table and easily removed later, while mounted models are permanently secured to a table or accompanying buffet system. However, mounted sneeze guards are often required to be paired with stainless steel bases instead of with wooden or plastic tables.
Buffet sneeze guards can be single-sided, which is sometimes called a pass-over type, or double-sided, which might be referred to as a reach-thru type. Single-sided sneeze guards only allow access to the food from one side. In a restaurant, catering, or food court setup, this will let customers see the food and choose what they want but only lets employees handle the product. Double-sided sneeze guards allow access from both sides, which means that customers can fix their own plates. These are most often used in buffet-style restaurants or catering events where staff won't be on hand to serve.
Sneeze guards are available with a number of additional features worth considering.
- Flat shelves across the top provide a convenient place to set out dry ingredients and sauces or utensils and napkins for customers to use.
- Some models will have adjustable front panels, which can be angled up or down, while others come with side panels for additional protection.
- Sneeze guards come in a variety of colors, including black, green, red, and navy, or can be simply be stainless steel.
- Visual enhancements like pendant lights make viewing food easier.
- Storage bags keep guards protected and free of dust when your equipment isn't in use or while it's being moved.
- Replacement parts, like guard posts, caps, assembly blocks, and hardware, are also available.
In addition to sneeze guards meant to be placed on top of tables, guards are available for specialty equipment. You can protect your chocolate fountain from bugs and germs by investing in a Sephra wind guard, which is meant to fit on the rims of their commercial models. Other sneezeguards are made to fit on top of hot dog roller grills.