A recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive reveals that 88% of people who encounter a dirty toilet at a pub think this reflects poorly on the sanitation of the rest of the premises, including the kitchen and food preparation areas. Of those, a full 29% said they would never come back to a pub whose toilet they found to be very dirty. Choosing a pub whose toilets are clean and smell fresh is cited as one of the top three reasons for customers to stay and come again.
The toilets in your pub provide the paying public a window into the overall management and cleanliness of your establishment, at least from their perspective. Think about it. How many times have you walked into someone else’s bathroom and taken a quick look around to get a better feel for what that person is like? The same goes for customers in your pub. Impressing your customers with your toilets takes some time and investment, but when you stand to lose 30% of your customers because of your bathrooms, it’s an investment you can’t afford to avoid.
The first, and most critical element, is to make sure the toilets you have are always clean, fresh, and well supplied. Your staff probably won’t appreciate this, but designate someone’s side work every day/shift to making sure the toilets are clean. Make sure your cleaners know how important hygiene and freshness are in your toilets and draw up clear procedures to make sure everything gets cleaned properly, and take the time for some quality control (you and your staff should be checking toilets regularly and if possible every hour you are open).
If you can afford it, at least once a week, have a professional janitorial service do a top-to-bottom cleaning of your toilets.
Of course, old, broken, and dingy equipment in your pub toilet is going to look bad, no matter how much it’s cleaned. It probably pains you to do so, but it’s vitally important to budget some money to invest in new equipment and hardware for your toilet.
Hand dryers and paper towel dispensers
Nothing is as frustrating as standing there with freshly washed hands trying to deal with a dispenser that doesn’t work or hasn’t got any paper towels in it. If you are looking to replace your dispenser, seriously consider getting a hand dryer, some pubs have both. The up-front cost is more, but over the lifetime of the dryer, the savings on paper towels, not to mention the amount of paper waste you’ll reduce, will recoup your initial investment. An option for cash-strapped businesses is to rent them as part of a total washroom care package.
You should be providing your customers with a liquid soap for washing their hands before they leave your toilets. Whilst supermarket dispensers may seem the cheapest way forward a wall mounted dispenser with an anti-bacterial liquid soap will save you money in the long run (you’d be amazed at how many customers will remove un-mounted dispensers). These can also be rented as part of a total washroom package.
Toilet tissue dispensers
Again, having a functional dispenser is key to a good customer experience in your toilet, and nothing is as infuriating as finding there is no toilet papers so make sure your cleaning guidelines include refilling these dispensers on a regular basis. Either interleaved toilet tissue or bulk toilet tissue rolls are available and whether you buy or rent wall mounted dispensers are preferable to loose toilet rolls in any toilet.
Baby changing stations
These are becoming more and more common in both men’s and women’s toilets. If you haven’t yet invested in baby changing stations in your toilets, you should seriously consider it. Being family friendly is great PR for your pub, and accommodating the needs of young families will breed customer loyalty.