Our Work

Silver Diner Restaurant Group

A Safer and More Comfortable Return to Indoor Dining

How We Helped a Restaurant Chain Lead the Way During a Pandemic, Blending Cutting-Edge Technology at 22 Locations Across the Mid-Atlantic to Bring Customers Back

Sales were up at Silver Diner when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, shutting down restaurants across the country and around the world. While health officials and localities determined when its customers could return, the Silver Diner team members began planning new protocols, adjusting indoor layouts, and installing new equipment. But they wanted to take things a step beyond.

“First of all, we wanted our employees to feel as safe as possible,” Silver Diner group Co-founder and President Robert Giaimo said. “Secondly, we wanted our customers to feel comfortable dining with us.” They started researching available and trusted technology, Giaimo said, with the goal “to make indoor dining as safe as possible to outdoor dining.”

That led them to Bowerbird, which had extended its energy efficiency capabilities during the pandemic — adding knowledge in Germicidal Ultraviolet Light and Air Quality.

Our Approach

After studying the client’s operations and goals, Bowerbird developed a customized system for the restaurant chain to fight the virus and add layers of safety for employees and customers. The key to blend UVC Germicidal Light technology with improved filtration and ventilation.

Bowerbird installed wall-mounted air purification systems around the restaurant that used UVC light and MERV 13 filtration to clean the air. We also provided a larger UVC light above the bar to be used overnight to disinfect high-touch surfaces in the area. Additionally, we provided heavy-duty handheld UVC light sterilizers to be used in high-touch areas by the closing manager of each store.

The Results

Silver Diner saw business increase and customers return, helping them feel more comfortable and confident during uncertain times. The company drew headlines for its industry leadership, becoming the first restaurant chain in the country to install this comprehensive and customized system.

“They feel safer, they are astonished that we are doing all this,” Ype von Hengst, Silver Diner co-founder and executive chef, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Air purifiers throughout the restaurants used germicidal UVC light and HEPA filtration to continuously clean the air. Germicidal UVC lights installed throughout the HVAC system worked to disinfect air and surfaces inside the system. Handheld UVC light sterilizers were used on high-touch areas as part of the closing duties of the staff. At night, when the restaurant was closed, the interior was bathed in germicidal UVC light to help kill pathogens in the air and sterilize surfaces. The system eliminates 99.9% of pathogens encountered.

“This pandemic is forcing businesses, engineers, architects and more, to rethink how proven technology and a little innovation can go a long way in helping to support a safer environment for all building occupants,” Bowerbird CEO Chris Rawlings said. “Air quality and healthy environments are on the forefront of all of our minds right now. We’re obligated to use our resources and knowledge, based on scientific evidence, to effectively address this concern.”

  • Why the Work Matters:

    We are investing in this because we believe this is the restaurant model of the future. It maximizes the safety of our employees and our guests.

    — Silver Diner group Co-founder and President Robert Giaimo