Over half of respondents said they will spend more money at restaurants and other businesses with nice restrooms.

By Mike Pomranz
March 22, 2019
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As the old adage goes, you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the cleanliness of its restrooms. Though it might not hold true for all eateries, the sensible gist is that if employees can’t be bothered to deal with the nitty-gritty of cleaning the toilets — which despite being out of sight are still public-facing — then how can you trust them to clean the kitchen, an area diners don’t get to see? According to a recent study, that impact is beyond simply psychological: Customers are actually likely to spend more money in restaurants with cleaner bathrooms.

Over half of Americans surveyed — 52 percent to be exact — said that they would “definitely” or “probably” spend more money at businesses with well-maintained restrooms, according to the 10th Annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey from Bradley Corp, a company that specializes in commercial washrooms. Furthermore, 64 percent of those surveyed said they actively consider bathroom cleanliness when choosing which businesses to go to.

For the record, the survey specifically speaks to “businesses” throughout, but, come on… How often have you used the restroom at the hardware store or the bank? A more likely scenario would seem to be that, when choosing a dive bar, people tend to opt for the one that, you know, offers an actual toilet seat, toilet paper, and maybe a door.

“Consistently, over the 10 years of our survey, a large majority of Americans say they expect a high quality business to have a high quality restroom,” explained Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “So, when a customer encounters a messy restroom, their perception of that business and its products and services are tarnished. Even worse, 55 percent are unlikely to return to a business after a bad restroom experience, which can have a devastating effect on sales. On the flip side, well-maintained restrooms attract customers who reward those businesses with increased spending. It simply makes good business sense to keep restrooms clean and modern-looking so customers come back.”

Meanwhile, the fun stats don’t stop there. The online survey of 1,264 American adults also found that 27 percent used the restroom as “a respite or getaway,” dropping in simply to “avoid someone, cry, hide or take a mental health break.”

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