The restaurant industry represents one of the greatest opportunities for glove sales. According to data from the National Restaurant Association, there are roughly 1 million restaurant locations in the U.S. and 14 million restaurant employees. On top of that, workers in food service use gloves more than employees in just about any other industry. With each individual worker using an average of 20 pairs of gloves every single day, the restaurant industry collectively goes through more than 200 million pairs of gloves on a daily basis.
“Each restaurant worker goes through 20 pairs of gloves every day.”
The reason those in the foodservice industry utilize gloves so heavily is because of the safety regulations that govern this environment. Foodservice employees must either wash their hands or wear gloves whenever they handle ingredients that customers will consume to prevent the spread of pathogens. Here are a few of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for hand sanitation and glove usage:
- Workers must minimize bare hand and arm contact with exposed food that is not ready to eat.
- Gloves or utensils such as tongs and spatulas must be used for contact with exposed, ready-to-eat foods except when washing fruits and vegetables.
- Gloves can be used for a single task and must be discarded when workers switch to a new task, the gloves become soiled or the task is interrupted.
Workers in foodservice tend to use poly or vinyl gloves because they are relatively inexpensive – an important consideration for companies that know employees will switch gloves frequently. These industries avoid latex gloves in case some of the proteins pass into the food and cause a customer to have an allergic reaction. Nitrile gloves are more durable but with a higher price point, making them less appealing for foodservice. However, for certain jobs where puncture resistance is needed or even for cleaning up at the end of a shift, nitrile gloves may come in handy at restaurants.