I miss going out to eat at restaurants, but one thing I do not miss is sticky food-smeared menus. But a common alternative to a laminated menu is a paper one, which inevitably gets trashed within a day or two. Thankfully, there is a solution to both of these menu options; a company called TerraSlate has developed an anti-viral menu that can be washed and used for a few years.
TerraSlate was founded in 2015, and its proprietary waterproof material was first used to create backup copies for passports and IDs while traveling. Kyle Ewing, the founder of TerraSlate, said that menus weren’t a popular application of the paper material initially. Then, a restaurant that Ewing is a regular at asked to have menus made from TerraSlate’s paper, which led Ewing to discover this application worked really well. Since then, TerraSlate now prints and supplies menus to over 50,000 restaurants throughout the US and in 52 different countries.
What makes TerraSlate’s menus different than a laminated menu is that there are no layers; the company’s menus are a solid sheet of synthetic, treeless material. The menus include a recently launched antimicrobial and anti-viral coating, which uses a very finely crushed silver, which naturally has these properties. TerraSlate’s menu can still be wiped down and put in a dishwasher, and cannot be ripped. The lifespan of the menus is several years, but Ewing said that a restaurant would likely change its menu items before the lifespan of a menu was up.
Since the start of the pandemic, many companies have opted to use digital menus to prevent the spread of germs. This is certainly a viable option, but scrolling through your phone while seated at a restaurant is not very social. Plus, holding and looking through a tangible menu is part of the restaurant experience.
TerrSlate’s menus are obviously more for restaurants that plan to serve the same thing for a long time. The menus must be printed at TerraSlate’s facility, so a restaurant does not have the ability to change its menu items on a whim.
Prices for TerraSlate menus vary, based on size and quantity. A pack of twenty-five, 13″ x 19″ menus starts at $113. TerraSlate raised a $2 million round of funding this past February, led by Clearbanc Ventures. The company is using the capital to expand its team and printing capabilities in Denver, Colorado.