One of the most important features of a restaurant actually has little to do with the menu, and may often go overlooked to the detriment of the business’s success. Restaurant patrons notice the restrooms, and their opinion of the facilities affects their perception of the restaurant as a whole.
A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 88% of people feel that a dirty bathroom reflects poorly on the cleanliness of the overall establishment, and 29% of these people said they would not return to a restaurant with a filthy bathroom. Even if the kitchen and dining areas are spotless, customers will question the overall management and hygiene of a restaurant if its restrooms are subpar. A dirty, neglected bathroom can sour an otherwise tasty meal, ruining the overall dining experience. With at least 29% of your customers at stake, restroom upkeep is a must.
Restrooms should be comfortable and hospitable to patrons. After a mid-meal bathroom break, your patrons should return to their seat and their meal with a positive feeling. First and foremost, it is vital that the facilities are as clean and orderly as possible, with all materials well-stocked and hardware fully functioning. Don’t settle for the bare necessities, however; add a special touch by offering free toiletries, mints, perfume, or fresh hand towels. Put in the extra effort to show your customers that you really care about their comfort.
You might also consider going the extra mile to make your restroom facilities memorable – in a good way. Bathrooms don’t need to be boring; a little creativity can go a long way to create a lasting impression. Interesting and memorable décor will add a talking point that can help set your restaurant apart from competitors and create buzz. Decorate the restrooms with a theme to match the mood of the restaurant, whether it is beautiful and elegant or quirky and unusual.
Regardless of how you choose to arrange or decorate your restaurant’s restrooms, keep in mind your patrons’ opinions. Their perception of your facilities matters: it will affect their overall opinion of your restaurant and, in turn, the success of your business. Be aware of how well (or poorly) customers perceive the facilities, and respond accordingly.