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Five Ways To Keep Customers Coming Back - To Your Restroom

By Brian Garry, Cintas Corporation

The key to repeat business with your customers in the restroom boils down to one primary strategy: establishing an ongoing maintenance program. While some restaurant operators might focus on dazzling guests with ornate vanities, cascading faucets and exotic scents, if the restroom isn’t properly maintained, these operators are missing a big opportunity.

In fact, an online survey of 2,175 adults by Harris Interactive last year found that 88 percent of people who visit restaurants believe that restroom cleanliness reflects the restaurant’s overall hygiene, including sanitary standards in the kitchen and prep areas.

So if a clean restroom is the key to keeping guests coming back for more, what’s the key to a comprehensive restaurant restroom maintenance program? Here are five simple ways to keep your guests returning to your restroom:

  • Keep the restroom stocked. In 2008, an independent study of more than 1,500 restroom users, owners and cleaning professionals showed that stocked supplies are a key indicator of cleanliness. More than 84 percent of survey respondents equated empty toilet paper dispensers with restroom dissatisfaction and more than 76 percent of respondents are dissatisfied if the soap dispensers are empty. Stocked supplies lead to satisfied customers.
  • Ensure restroom surfaces are dry and free of debris. With a frequent spot cleaning schedule, attendants can regularly check for water or trash that may collect on restroom surfaces. In addition to areas surrounding trash receptacles, commodes, and sinks, it is equally important that floors are dry and free of debris. Frequent trash removal will also limit the opportunity for material to collect on the floor.
  • Eliminate odors. Foul odor in the restroom will immediately turn off your customers. There is a two step process to effectively manage the odors in your restroom. First, remove odors at the source by eliminating all odor-causing material from hard surfaces, including floors and grout lines. Next, use odor control systems to neutralize odors that might occur throughout the day.
  • Establish a continuous maintenance program. Establishing a daily cleaning program and schedule for your staff is crucial to maintaining a clean restroom. This includes keeping supplies stocked, spot cleaning hard surfaces, removing trash, and ensuring the operation of all units. It is also important to designate frequencies for cleaning based on traffic flow throughout the day. For example, restrooms should be checked more often during the lunch hour than late in the afternoon.
  • Place an importance on deep cleaning. No restroom maintenance program is complete without a strategy for deep cleaning. Periodic deep cleaning with high pressure and soil extraction is necessary to limit the growth of potentially harmful substances such as bacteria or mold while also eliminating odors and removing stubborn buildup. By removing gradual buildup of dirt, deep cleaning can help extend the life of the restroom.

While following these steps will help improve restroom cleanliness, it can be a time consuming task that takes you away from other responsibilities. Too develop and maintaining a comprehensive restroom program, you need to select the right partner for the job. By using one vendor that can provide restroom supplies and regularly scheduled services, you guarantee that your restroom stays stocked and clean. In addition, it reduces the number of invoices, delivery times and the amount of labor required to manage the program.

Your restroom is a reflection of your restaurant. Bottom line is that if it’s not clean, your customers won’t be as likely to return. By selecting the right partner that can assist in the development of continuous maintenance and deep cleaning programs, you guarantee that your restroom stays clean and you and your staff has the time to focus on what matters most – your customers.

Brian Garry is the Senior Director of Foodservice for Cintas Corporation, a supplier of leading restroom solutions for restaurants.