Restaurant Sneeze Guards and Food Shields

Protect your self-serve or action stations

Sneeze guards are those angled glass or plastic food shields that sit at face level over salad and soup bars or other buffet spreads.  They reassure your fussier clients that you’re running a sanitary operation and they’re most likely required by your local health code. You can buy these food guards from a wide variety of restaurant equipment suppliers and specialty sneeze guard makers.

Keep these points in mind when planning for restaurant sneeze guards and other food shields:
  1. Check the code on size and placement of sneeze guards
  2. Plan for fixed and portable sneeze guards and food shields
  3. Know your budget: Sneeze guard styles range from simple, standard-sized models to pricier custom jobs made to match any restaurant décor.

Check your local sneeze guard regulations

Codes may vary but the general rule is that buffet sneeze guards sit in front of the average customer's mouth (around five feet high for adults) and leave room for the customer to reach the food in the back of the bar.
model specs for buffet sneeze guards from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Codes often follow the sneeze guard standards created by product certification lab NSF International so one safe way to shop is to look for “NSF Certified” labels.

Choose between ready made or custom sneeze guards

On a tight budget, order sneeze guards and other food shields in ready-made sizes or as part of a package buy for a salad bar. For more sophisticated restaurant design, sneeze guard makers create custom lengths, curves and other looks.

Choose portable buffet sneeze guards for catering or moveable stations

Portable food guards can be folded and put in storage bags or hung on racks, perfect for catering or other situations in which you move stations.

Choose the right sneeze guard materials

Glass has a richer look, can be ordered in tempered form to block heat and steam and can be easily cleaned with window cleaner. Acrylic is cheaper, lighter and less breakable but easier to scratch and takes special fluids to clean and protect. Fittings are typically chrome but you can also work with brass or other classier looks.
C. R. Laurence Co. for a wide variety of polished and painted metal fittings or Brassfinders for brass food guard holders.

Choose other forms of food shields

Sneeze guards are one of several types of see-through food guards that you'll need for a cafeteria, buffet or fast-food restaurant where customers get close to the food to order or be served.
  • Wipe food shields often during service and clean thoroughly on both sides between meals.
  • For easy cleaning, get sneeze guards that tilt up to wipe, then lock back in place at the correct angle.

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