The Halo Effect of Unappetizing Restrooms in Restaurants

Posted by Steve Thielke on Nov 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Does a dirty restroom make you lose your appetite?

If you answered “yes,” you are in good company. A whopping 89% of Americans believe that if a restaurant has a dirty restroom, it is likely that the restaurant’s kitchen is also dirty. Apparently, the cleanliness relationship between restaurant restrooms and kitchens is a little too close for comfort for many of us, according to Bradley’s latest Healthy Hand Washing Survey .


It turns out millennials are the most discriminating restaurant customers, as this age group is the most likely to equate a dirty restroom with a dirty kitchen. 90% of those aged 18-34 responded the most negatively to having an unclean toilet spoil their meal.

Even the thought of people not washing their hands in restaurants is enough to cause most of us anxiety. The majority of Americans name restaurants as the number one 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.

Response to Unclean Restroom_2017.jpg

Still, other types of facilities that host unsavory restrooms are not immune from consumers’ harsh judgment of their business character. 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.

Business tip: Frequent restroom checks, stocking and cleaning might be some of the best advertising and public relations investments for any type of consumer-focused business.

Click here for more Healthy Hand Washing Survey results.

Topics: healthy handwashing, restrooms

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