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The Window to a Business’s Soul

Ah, the power of the Internet! It’s amazing how reading one thing can spark a tangent that inspires an entire blog post. I read an article the other day about sustainability and hygiene in the workplace, and it got me thinking about restaurant bathrooms.


Image via Wikipedia

The title of the article is “How the restroom symbolizes your whole operation.” The piece focuses on sustainability efforts, but really, it goes even further than that.

Think about the last time you went in to, say, a gas station bathroom. I can think of one in particular — or maybe this is some symbolic synthesis of all the awful gas station bathrooms in the world — where there was tissue on the floor, a leaky faucet, poor lighting and a barely legible, laminated “Employee Cleanliness Checklist” that looked like it hadn’t been checked in weeks, let alone every few hours per the instructions.

That quick (believe me, QUICK) experience didn’t exactly make me want to run inside the attached mini-mart and grab a slushy drink. If you have even an inkling of what I’m talking about, you’ll agree that the bathroom is, indeed, the window to a business’ soul.

Maintaining spotless (and even welcoming) restrooms is especially important for restaurants and other foodservice businesses. I’ve always believed a dirty bathroom is a sign of a dirty kitchen; after all, if you’re willing to let the most public area of your business fall into disgusting disrepair, what could that possibly mean for the behind-the-scene area?

As a retailer, if you’re going to offer restrooms to customers, keep them up. It’s not as crucial here as with foodservice, but it’s important all the same. I think I’ve made it plain enough here that every nook and cranny of your business affects how people perceive it. Even in the nooks and crannies where they’re…doing their business.

On the other hand, I can think of a couple of retailers whose bathrooms are truly lovely. Scented candles, potpourri, hand soaps and lotions available in-store. Some will even merchandise them further! (Admittedly, it’s a bit strange to invite customers to shop from the top of the toilet tank, but if their trip to the restroom inspires them to spend a bit more…why not?)

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep your restroom ship shape, but the effort required to convince customers that a filthy bathroom is a fluke — and not indicative of a larger cleanliness issue — will be much greater. Keep it clean!

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