Bottom Line Alert: Critical Restroom Requirements for Restaurants

What the restaurant restroom says about your operation
Congratulations, restaurant manager! It seems you’ve done everything right. The food is amazing. The service even better. Your last customer received a near-perfect dining experience. They’re on their phone in the parking lot, obviously telling the world about how wonderful your establishment is. So, you check Yelp to see the latest review and ... two stars?  They liked the food and service, but the bathroom was a different story.

This sadly common tale is reminder to pay critical attention to restroom requirement for restaurants—or risk serious consequences from potentially loyal patrons.

Bad Restaurant Reviews and Your Bottom Line

Now what, manager? Your customer left a bad review online, so what’s the big deal? It’s just one review, right? Here’s why it’s serious: First off, restaurants are the most reviewed type of business online, and those reviews are widely trusted by consumers. Second, a one-star increase on a given restaurant’s review average can lead to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue, according to a Cal Berkeley Study.  That means every single customer counts because any one of them can make a major impact on your overall earnings. Crazy, we know, but it works in both directions, good and bad. Let’s take a look at typical causes of bad restaurant reviews.


You’re Only as Clean as Your Restroom 

As a manager, your focus may be on food and service, two drivers of reviews, but your customers’ attention often lies elsewhere. One telling statistic is that 90 percent of customers believe the restroom reflects the overall cleanliness of your establishment (Buzzback Washroom study, 2013). It's a telling statistic because it's true. If your restaurant bathroom is dirty, who knows what the rest of restaurant is like. More food-borne illnesses occur at sit-down restaurants than anywhere else in the U.S. (Source: Statista), so it's a health and safety concern for everyone involved.

Once a skeptical customer is gone, they’re often gone forever. Seventy percent of restaurant patrons report they would never return to an establishment with unclean restrooms and 80 percent say they'd tell their friends and family about their experience (Harris Interactive Online Survey with U.S. Consumers, Nov, 2010). That’s why it’s more vital than ever to make sure each customer understands your commitment to bathroom cleanliness before it starts taking a chunk out of your bottom line. Thankfully, bathroom cleanliness is easier to fix than terrible food or bad service. Here’s how you do it.

What Sort of Products Promote Cleanliness?

Understanding the problem is one thing, forming an executable solution is another. A good place to start is with touchless dispensers. Research shows that 67 percent of restaurant patrons prefer a touchless paper towel solution vs. standard multifold towels (Proprietary Georgia-Pacific Research). The benefits are two-fold: The first benefit is that the customer is automatically dispensed the number of towels they’ll need, meaning you’re not wasting unnecessary supplies. Secondly, employees no longer have to touch potentially contaminated surfaces and carry whatever germs they picked up back into the dining room. With touchless paper towel dispensers in place, you should expect a decrease in potential for food-borne illness, which can lead to review averages going up, possibly bringing additional revenue.

Touchless paper towels are a step in the right direction, but there's more you can do. Other touchless solutions like soap dispensers, napkin dispensers, and wrapped cutlery are designed to help you present a cleaner overall image that’s easy to maintain and cost-effective. When you can rest assured that your restroom is clean and stocked, you can focus your attention on food, service and everything else that goes into creating a positive dining experience.