A restaurateur's primary goal should be to make their patrons feel comfortable. When customers need to use the bathroom they are in a vulnerable state. What they encounter can make or break the experience.
The way your bathroom is maintained (or not) says a lot to them about your priorities and your care for your customers’ needs. This guide explores the practical reasons to maintain restaurant bathroom cleanliness as well as the psychological effect it has on diners.
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It’s natural for people to be cautious of public bathrooms. Many transmittable diseases are associated with the things that go on in there. Even if you’ve thoroughly cleaned the bathroom a look of disrepair will give your guests pause to consider their exposure to germs.
Restaurant bathrooms with peeling paint, discolored porcelain, leaks, standing water and broken dispensers give a general sense of disrepair and lack of care. This can easily trigger a sense of germophobia in your guests.
If you’ve triggered germophobia in your restaurant guests they may leave without ordering, fearing that the disrepaired state in the bathroom carries over to your food.
Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure
Spreading Food Borne Illness
Maintaining clean bathrooms is an important aspect of food safety. It’s not just guests who are using your facilities, but also staff. If they come into contact with bacteria it can be passed along to your guests when handling food.
Hand washing is mandatory for restaurant employees of course, but what happens after they’ve washed their hands? Could they come into contact with bacteria in the bathroom afterwards? Clothing that comes into contact with restroom bacteria is being worn in the kitchen now as well.
Sanitizing the bathroom with anti-bacterial soaps and bleach keeps sickness causing germs from spreading and getting into your guests’ food.
Damaging Your Brand Image
If part of your brand’s image and message is that you maintain a high standard of service, your restaurant bathroom should reflect these values.
It’s just like if you went to a friend’s house who says they are a “neat freak.” But their bathroom is trashed. What would you believe? Their words or their actions?
Poorly maintained bathrooms can cost you business and your reputation. What if someone posted a picture online of your dirty restaurant bathroom. How would that affect your marketing message and brand image?
Set periodic reminders for staff to sanitize, clean and refill dispensers throughout service. Otherwise the next “viral sensation” could be a reference to your germy bathroom.
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Neglecting Guest Comfort
Diners who value their hygiene will appreciate a well maintained, sanitized and fully stocked bathroom. Using the restroom when they need to shouldn’t cause hesitation.
It’s not just about cleanliness but comfort. A guest who feels comfortable will be more likely to return, bring their friends and stick around longer.
Make sure that the bathroom supplies your guests need to maintain their comfort are available: bathroom door latches that lock, a working paper towel dispenser, easily dispensed soap, plenty of toilet paper, etc. Running out of the resources necessary to maintain one’s hygiene can create an embarrassing situation.
Regular bathroom maintenance is an essential part of running a successful restaurant. Your guests will judge the quality of your restaurant based on their bathroom experience.
If your restroom is in disrepair it can trigger germophobia, a natural response to avoid harmful bacteria that can make us sick. An unsanitary bathroom can help spread food borne illness to your guests, as employees travel back and forth between a dirty bathroom and the kitchen area.
The effect of a dirty bathroom can be spread beyond your existing customer base when images are posted online. People will judge your reputation based on what they can see, not what you say. It can be difficult for your restaurant to recover from a damaged reputation.
A bathroom that is poorly maintained shows a lack of care for your guests’ comfort. If they don’t have the supplies to maintain their personal hygiene or avoid using your restaurant’s dirty bathrooms it can be awkward and uncomfortable for them to dine in your establishment.
This guide to what dirty bathrooms mean to diners is a free resource provided by Rezku. You can find more detailed guides for restaurant owners in our library. Rezku is a leading restaurant management technology solution provider.
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