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December 2018

Is your restaurant ready for the busy season?

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Workplace Hygiene

We’ve written a couple of blogs recently about getting your office ready for the holidays,  and the types of hygiene challenges that office environments might face over an extended break.

But what if you work in an industry for which the Christmas holidays represent your busiest period? I’m thinking particularly of restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels, all of which traditionally face an influx of visitors over the holiday season.  A little while back we posted some holiday hints for the hotel industry which looked at ways that hotels can prepare for an influx of guests,  but what about the restaurant trade?

For many restaurants, the holiday season brings with it a huge increase in the number of diners through their doors on a daily basis. And while this seasonal increase in patrons is good for business, making sure they come back again is even better for business.

I’ve used this quote by Anthony Bourdain, famous New York Chef and food writer, before, because it’s so relevant to the hygiene industry. He is reported to have said in an interview  “I won’t eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms. This isn’t a hard call. They let you see the bathrooms. If the restaurant can’t be bothered to replace the puck in the urinal or keep the toilets and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and workspaces look like.”

Dirty toilets and floors, a missing urinal mat, or overflowing FHU’s (Feminine Hygiene Units) are all washroom problems that can arise from an increase in traffic, but as they are easily visible to the naked eye, they are also relatively quick to fix. But what about odour? Odour is more problematic because more often than not, it’s caused by bacteria. In the odd case, washroom odour is going to have been caused by the immediate, continued use of the stall, but long-term, lingering malodour in a high-traffic bathroom is a symptom of a bigger, bacterial problem.

Initial recently conducted a series of unique experiments using the latest scientific tracking methods to understand the public’s unconscious and conscious reactions to odour in public bathrooms (restaurants, bars, shopping centres, train stations and public buildings). The research was designed to demonstrate the emotional effects smell can have on people, and the findings showed that not only are people genuinely affected by dirty or unpleasant-smelling bathrooms but that bad smells, in particular, drive a host of unconscious behaviours and emotions.

The key findings from Initial’s research were:

  • An unpleasant bathroom smell will leave nearly 80% of consumers with a negative perception of the business.

  • 85% of consumers associate unpleasant smelling public bathrooms with uncleanliness, 82% associate it with poor hygiene

  • 76% of consumers connect no smell, or a pleasant smelling public bathroom, with cleanliness

  • Bad smells have a strong and almost immediate effect on our unconscious, including increased feelings of disgust and anger in bad smelling bathrooms

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, this leads to emotive responses, including opting to leave an establishment (28%) or avoid going there in the future (67%).

The research highlights the importance of reassuring patrons that facilities are clean and cared for, in order to create a positive view of the business and ensure repeat custom.  Initial has been at the forefront of washroom hygiene for decades, and so we understand that first impressions count.

It’s probably no surprise to you that the primary causes of odour-causing bacteria in high traffic bathrooms are improperly serviced Feminine Hygiene Units (FHU’s) and urinals. The discarded sanitary waste inside an FHU - if not treated properly and disposed of regularly - can very quickly start to smell, and we all know how unpleasant an untreated urinal can smell after even moderate use.  

Good air care solutions that effectively neutralise odour causing bacteria, along with the regular and hygienic disposal of sanitary waste and odour controlling solutions for urinals such as the eco cap go a long way in securing favourable impressions with customers and employees. And when we’re living in a digital world where your entire reputation can be made or unmade with a single tweet, it has never been so important.

For more information on Initial Hygiene’s solutions for washrooms please visit our Bathroom Hygiene Page or contact us today.

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*For this State of Air Care study, ‘public washrooms’ included restaurants, bars, shopping centres, train stations and public buildings

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie is the Category Manager at Rentokil Initial, and has worked in the hygiene and pest control industry for 12 years. Although after 12 years cockroaches still have the power to terrify her, she has learnt countless ways to defeat germs both in the workplace and at home. She is a passionate advocate for Global Handwash Day and the health benefits that can be derived from regular handwashing and hygiene practices. When not contributing to the Initial blog, Nathalie is writing press releases for sister businesses, Rentokil and Ambius. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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