It doesn't matter whether your restaurant is white tablecloth or quick-service: your customers' willingness to return likely hinges on their experience in the restroom.
Though restrooms account for only 5% of a facility’s total square footage on average, they are the source of an astounding 50% of customer complaints. There is a direct relationship between bathroom cleanliness and customer satisfaction, and dissatisfaction in this area can be disastrous for food vendors.
In fact, 30 percent of patrons say they would never return to a restaurant with unclean restrooms. Top customer aggravations include a lack of toilet paper, no paper towels, clogged toilets, broken stall doors, and foul odors.
Here are four straightforward ways that restaurants can ensure cleaner restrooms, boost customer satisfaction, and generate more return business.
- Understand the trends
The number one way to prevent complaints is to be proactive, but that requires understanding when folks tend to use your restrooms. Through monitoring trends in usage, restaurants can remain proactive in their cleaning by scheduling cleanings based on when folks actually use the restroom, rather than every 30 minutes (or some other arbitrary interval). Technology such as Qstodian’s QTotal can alert restaurant staff through alerts when each restroom reaches a certain number of uses. As a result, restaurants can stay ahead of the mess and make cleaning a priority for their customer experience.
2) Install smart, automated solutions
Studies have near universally concluded that in and around the sink is the most contaminated area in a restroom. Fecal matter frequently settles on both sink counters and soap dispensers. The easiest way to combat the proliferation of noxious germs is by removing touch from the equation.
Automated appliances, like self-flushing toilets and motion-sensor faucets and soap dispensers, reduce the spread of bacteria in restrooms, and some smart soap dispensers alert facility managers when soap levels are low, so they can proactively refill them.
3) Create a thorough cleaning checklist
Although nearly every restroom has rote cleaning procedures in place, restaurants can distinguish themselves by ensuring their checklists not only detail what duties must be completed, but also the number of times that individual restroom elements should be cleaned. There is a wide gulf in the performance of employees who have part time cleaning duty, and customers notice.
4) Exceed expectations
Going above and beyond what your customers expect is a way to show them that they matter. Customers’ expectations can be met by keeping surfaces free of any noticeable waste, having empty trash cans, removing all visible graffiti, restocking paper products including toilet paper and paper towels, making sure that there is no evident dust on vents or other surfaces, keeping mirrors spot-free and shiny, and making sure that floors have no trash.
The key to exceeding these expectations is implementing an effective and efficient cleaning routine which can proactively help staff ensure the restroom is clean and soap, paper towels, and toilet paper are stocked.