What your restroom says about your restaurant
When building a restaurant, no detail can be overlooked. From the glasses you use to the typeface on a menu, everything has an impact on the dining experience. So then why do so many restaurateurs put such little effort into their washrooms?
We know, bathroom business is meant to be private, but it’s something that restaurateurs need to talk about. A negative experience at the john can completely ruin a restaurant for patrons.
So what does that mean for restaurant owners? We’ve put together a list of things to consider when building out your washroom. Follow these simple tips, and you’re guaranteed to make their bathroom break a memorable one.
Keep it clean
There is almost nothing that ruins a restaurant experience like a dirty washroom. Just imagine it from the perspective of the customer: if this is how your bathroom is, how must your kitchen look?
Even if they’re not flashy facilities, at the very minimum, you need to be sure that you keep your latrine pristine. Create a maintenance schedule if necessary, but stay on top of it and make sure that your bathroom is always sparkling.
Stay on theme
Does your restaurant have a theme or general aesthetic? Keeping that consistency in the bathroom won’t go unnoticed. Take Charleston Distilling Co. in Charleston, North Carolina. The brewer created giant whisky barrels to house its washrooms. The concept is so impressive, that it won the distillery the runner-up title in Cintas’ 2015 America’s Best Restroom contest.
This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to build a bathroom, but a little effort goes a long way. Something as simple as the paint job or the wallpaper you choose can greatly augment a trip to the loo.
Have you ever had a friend come back to the table after visiting the facilities, only to tell you how incredible the bathrooms were? So have I. In fact, I’ve been that person.
A unique washroom is so unexpected, that people can’t help but talk about it. Take Portland’s Ground Kontrol. Adorned with a Pacman mosaic and neon lighting, it’s the kind of bathroom that isn’t easily forgotten. Don’t believe us? Check the bar’s Instagram page. It’s easy to see how much people love their innovative design.
Set the tone
Let’s be honest, most people don’t enjoy using restaurant bathrooms. You need to break from conversation, they can be hard to find… the list goes on. Make the experience a little less frustrating by introducing music into the mix.
Not sure what to play? For starters, you’ll want to avoid anything too high-tempo – it should be a calming experience. I’m partial to jazz or old school hip hop, but everyone has their preference. Prefer something other than music? Take a page from San Francisco’s Loló and try ocean noises and bird calls. Whatever the sound, just be sure that it reflects your restaurant’s tone.
Light it up
There’s nothing worse than stepping into a restroom that’s blasting bright fluorescent lights. You’re there to freshen up, not to be interrogated. To make things more pleasant for your guests, consider simple fixtures with soft lighting. The goal is for laid back environment that helps the patron unwind.
It’s the little things
From fresh flowers to plush hand towels, little things make big impressions. Attention to detail shows patrons that you’ve thought about the entire customer experience, which leaves them feeling good about your business.
Understand your clientele
For restaurants, one of the easiest ways to connect with customers is by playing to the community. A perfect example is Brooklyn’s Habana Outpost, which plays to the neighbourhood’s sensibilities. This eco-conscious, solar-powered cuban cafe knows that its visitors care about the environment and they’ve gone above and beyond to make that obvious, all the way down to the toilets, which flush with rainwater accumulated in a large outdoor tank.