Restrooms can be an important part of the customer experience — one that can make or break them as return guests.

Up the Customer Experience With A+ Restaurant Restrooms

Customer Experience Brand & Image

In the food service business, restroom design and conditions are an important part of the customer experience. Here are some tips to up your restroom game.

In the food service business, customer experience can be greatly influenced by restroom design and conditions. That may be hard to believe for some, but it’s true. The state of your restroom can make the difference between driving customers away and encouraging their return.

As restaurants try to create buzz and generate repeat business, every part of a customer’s experience matters — the food, the service, the atmosphere and, yes, even the facilities. A great restroom adds “one more fun level of discovery in an already exciting restaurant,” Jono Fried, chief creative officer of Boca Cincinnati restaurants, told Bon Appetit. “It’s a place where you can get the biggest impact because there’s just such little expectation.”

Here are four ways to help make sure your restrooms are up to par:

1. Comply With Regulations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to create more equitable facilities for people with disabilities, and restaurants are considered “places of public accommodation” under the law. That means restaurants are supposed to provide a number of accommodations, including accessible restrooms, in order to be ADA compliant. If the door to your restroom isn’t wide enough for a wheelchair or other mobility device to get through — or if you don’t offer a handicap-accessible bathroom — your restaurant is not only in violation of the ADA, but you’re likely to dissuade people with disabilities (and friends and family members of people with disabilities) from returning to your establishment.

2. Make Sure It’s Clean

First thing’s first: A clean restroom is a necessity, and a dirty restroom is likely to ensure customers never come back.

Keep your cabinets stocked with plenty of restroom cleaning supplies, consider creating a regular cleaning schedule and eyeball the restroom regularly to see if it needs extra attention. While cleaning the restroom, employees should also be sure to restock supplies such as soap, paper towels and toilet paper.

3. Extend the Restaurant Theme

If your restaurant portrays a fun, classic or vintage atmosphere, don’t feel like your restroom has to be bland and plain. Instead, continue the restaurant’s vibe into the restrooms. For instance, a western-themed steakhouse might post signs that say “Cowgirls” and “Cowboys” rather than “Women” and “Men” on the restroom doors.

You can further extend the theme and feel of the restaurant with carefully chosen artwork, vintage items, wall colors, hardware and mirrors.

4. Consider Automation

Hopefully, your customers want to leave the restroom with clean hands, so think carefully about the process of handwashing — including how guests will open the restroom door. Turning faucets on and off, disposing of paper towels and opening the door can all be opportunities to come in contact with more germs. For that reason, consider installing automated faucets, soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers, which may help prevent the spread of germs and conserve water, soap and paper products (not to mention your bottom line). In addition, make sure that the sink, soap and towel dispensers are all located in close proximity to the door to avoid getting water all over the floor.

As you aim to create a memorable customer experience, make sure you don’t forget about the restroom. Doing so can give you the opportunity to further impress guests with a clean, easy-to-use restroom that extends your restaurant brand.

Nancy Mann Jackson
Nancy Mann Jackson

Nancy Mann Jackson writes regularly about finance, the workplace and career issues. Her work has appeared on CNBC.com, CNNMoney.com, Entrepreneur, Glassdoor.com, DailyWorth.com and Fortune.