Grossed Out: Restaurant Patrons Think Dirty Restrooms Signify Dirty Kitchens
A new survey illustrates how poorly maintained restrooms in restaurants can make patrons lose their appetite.
An overwhelming 89% of Americans believe that if a restaurant has a dirty restroom, it is likely that the restaurant’s kitchen is also dirty, according to the annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corporation.
Of all age groups, millennials are the most likely to equate a dirty restroom with a dirty kitchen—90% feel this way. The survey also found that the thought of germs transmitted via hand contact in restaurants is worrisome. The majority of Americans name restaurants as the No. 1 place where they are most concerned about somebody not washing their hands. While 70% voice most concerns about hand washing specifically in restaurants, 64% point to health care facilities, 36% name grocery stores and 31% say K-12 schools.
While restaurants clearly generate the most concern about restroom conditions, germs and hand washing, the study also found that unkempt restrooms in all types of industries stir up undesirable sentiments in consumers. More than half of U.S. adults believe that an unclean restroom at any type of business is an indication of how the business is run or how it treats its customers. Consequently, 56% say that if they encounter an unclean or unpleasant restroom, they will not return to that business or will think twice about doing so. Others will complain to management, tell a friend or leave right away without completing their business.
“Restroom cleanliness is extremely important to diners and silently shapes impressions of the restaurant that they’ll remember even after the visit,” said Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing & strategic development, Bradley Corp. “Ignoring the condition of a restroom is a costly mistake that restaurant owners can’t afford to make due to the risk of a damaged reputation and lost business.”
On the flip side, the study also found that nicer and neater restrooms speak as loudly to consumers as do poorly maintained restrooms. “Notably, 70% of Americans say they have made a conscious effort to select a specific business because it has cleaner, more well-maintained restrooms,” Dommisse said. “Making a positive restroom connection with customers can lock in repeat business.”
Besides regular cleaning and maintenance, managers of restaurants and other businesses can reinforce good hand washing practices in restrooms by posting signs requiring employees to wash hands before returning to work. The Healthy Hand Washing Survey reports that more than half of respondents are more likely to wash their hands or will do so more thoroughly when they see these visual notices.
Bradley’s annual survey queried 1,042 American adults online Dec. 12-15, 2016 about their hand washing habits in public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds and the flu. Participants were from around the country, were 18 years and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (49 and 51 percent).
About Bradley Corporation:
For 95 years, Bradley Corporation has designed and manufactured commercial washroom and emergency safety products, and today is the industry's leading source for commercial plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, restroom partitions, solid plastic lockers, and emergency safety fixtures and industrial grade electric tankless heaters. Headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Bradley serves the commercial, industrial, health care, retail, and education markets worldwide. For more information, visit www.bradleycorp.com.