Washroom Confidential

Eating out is a whole body and mind experience. Sure, the food brings in the diners, but the experience continues in places you might not normally consider, such as behind the privy door. You know, that place. 

So, what’s behind your bathroom door? And if you think your WC doesn't matter, think again. People talk/text/message/post about the good, the bad and the ugly. Never mind the stinky. If renovations are not in the budget to make your washrooms veritable palaces, what can you do? Simply use good sense – in fact, use all five senses for a well-planned and maintained bathroom.

Seeing is believing

You never have a second chance at a first impression, so make that first one count.  Proper signage to find the facilities is a good start, but this is a no-brainer. Open the door to a clean, well-lit space with everything customers need and you will be off to the races. Well-placed hooks in stalls and near counters for purses and a garbage can in more than one place are two touches appreciated by customers with minimal cost to you. υ

André Daviault is the marketing director of Cascades PRO whose product offerings include hand towels, bath tissue, dispensers, facial tissue and wipers for foodservice.  You can be sure Daviault observes the state of restaurant bathrooms. “The very first thing I notice is the overall cleanliness. Similarly, I notice whether or not it is well-stocked.

“High capacity dispensers and paper products can help restaurants avoid running out of paper during busy periods and lower costs in the long run since they require fewer roll changes than standard dispensers,” he advises.

The nose knows

A bathroom doesn’t need to be doused in fragrance to be appealing. In fact, it is likely the opposite. The best "air freshener" is, in fact, a clean washroom.

Be cautious of the hand soap scent as well. When a customer goes back to the table, you don’t want the lingering smell from the soap to overpower or detract from your delectable meal.

Ear to the ground

The vibe of your establishment should be continued in the bathroom and that includes sound. Music in the dining room sounds different in a tiled and porcelain space – check the volume. If you are using hand dryers, is the decibel level too loud for the size of your space? Young children in particular can be put off by loud sounds.

Keep in touch

...with the environmental times and let your customers know you care.

“To improve green business practices, it would be beneficial to make the switch to 100% recycled fibre and green-certified paper products, like the Cascade PRO Perform™ collection of bathroom tissue and paper towels,” says Daviault.

“Dispensers that offer one-at-a-time dispensing and a controlled roll system, including the Cascades PRO Tandem™ dispensers, can help establishments reduce product waste by limiting the amount of paper used by guests and ensuring complete consumption of the first roll before accessing the second roll. Green cleaning products are also growing in popularity and can help lower the amount of harmful chemicals employees and guests come in
contact with.”

An acquired taste

No one likes to clean the bathrooms. However, managers and employees need to be well trained and committed to a regular cleaning schedule (hourly, daily, weekly and monthly) to ensure a consistent experience for your customers. Even a less than designer facility can shine when well maintained. Make it a contest among the employees – "the most pristine latrine of the month." The taste of success is a win-win for everyone.

Customers typically don’t pick a restaurant because of the washroom facilities (unless it’s on Canada’s Best Restroom list). However, over half of customers may not return if the bathroom doesn’t measure up. Using good sense behind closed doors will keep them coming back. You might be so proud of your facilities, you keep the door open.