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Restaurant Restroom Updates

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In many ways, your restaurant’s restroom is just as, if not more so, important as the dining room.


As many diners will attest, a dirty restroom in their mind equates to a dirty kitchen. Maybe it’s because a restroom is a space that’s considered more “behind-the-scenes,” and the amount of care you take with your restroom maintenance is reflective of the thoroughness of your cleaning practices in the kitchen.

Now I’m not suggesting you go so far as to make your restroom the theme of your restaurant, like the Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taipei, or its stateside sister Magic Restroom Cafe which failed to launch with the same success in the states (go figure).

You may find just a little care goes a long way, and keeping your restroom current is as easy as stocking up on a few of the necessities. Even if you have a small establishment with a co-ed, single room restroom, you’ll find that these simple additions are all it takes to creating a positive experience with your diners.

Here are 10 ways you can make a difference in your restroom facilities:

1. Accessibility Compliance

Since 1990, the Americans with Disability Act requires specific design and engineering standards to make public restrooms accessible to disabled individuals. Some of these guidelines include lowered sinks and urinals, and wider stalls for wheelchair access that also feature grab bars near the toilet. Don’t get hit with a large fine for something completely preventable.

2. Eco Friendly Water Usage

Water restrictions aren’t going away. As more locations are hit with unseasonably dry weather, more pressure is put on restaurants and consumers to conserve their water usage. Try investing in faucets with sensors that automatically shut off the water if a forgetful guest leaves it running; or you could equip your men’s room with waterfree urinals that are touch-free and reduce your water and sewer costs. But if that’s not enough you could go so far as to feature a “Smart Sink” like Denver’s Root Down, which recycles toilet water to wash with your hands. If you can get past the ick factor (they assure you the water is clean), this is a great way to cut down on millions of gallons of water.

Image Courtesy of TripAdvisor

And if the warm, fuzzy feeling of saving the environment isn’t enough, maybe learning that 58% of consumers are likely to make a restaurant choice based on its eco-friendly practices is.

3. Clothes Hooks

This is a shout out to my ladies, who wouldn’t welcome a much-needed hook or side table in the restroom when it comes to placing our purse somewhere. When faced hookless, our options are A) place that bad boy on a dirty floor or B) straddle that purse on your knee while you go about your business. Please, please…for the love of $30 or less (stylish models like this hook from Bobrick come in a satin finish)…invest in hooks.

4. Functional toilet paper dispenser

Bobrick - 273-103 - Spindle
Bobrick – 273-103 – Spindle

The key here is “functional.” How many times have you been caught in a stall with a broken toilet dispenser, and in its place was a charming opened roll of toilet paper that you’d rather not consider who handled it last? Or maybe the dispenser still holds the toilet paper roll, but it’s so tight that you’re in an arm wrestling match just to get more than 1 measly square of TP. Try stocking up a few spindles (like this one from Bobrick) so you have some handy when one breaks.

5. Working bathroom locks

Few things ruin an evening more than being interrupted while you’re in a precarious situation. Give your guests piece of mind by ensuring all stall and bathroom door locks are in working order.

6. Soap Dispensers

I’ll gladly admit I’m one of those who uses a tissue or her sleeve to open the bathroom door—cleanliness is important to me. But nothing is more off-putting than using the restroom only to find a lack of soap afterwards. Ensuring your soap dispensers work (and are topped off with soap) are vital to restroom management, and they come in several styles to choose from: like wall mount dispensers, surface mounted soap dispeners, ones that sit on the counter by the sink, and more. As if a public restroom couldn’t get dirtier, try not having any soap in there for an entire dinner shift. Yuck.

7. Air Fresheners

Sometimes, there’s just no amount of cleaning you can do to make your restaurant’s restroom smell fresh and clean—when that’s the case, stock up on some commercial air fresheners for your space. They’ll discreetly add a pleasant scene to the air, and some are even programmable to regularly spray in 60-minute intervals. Your guests will thank you.

8. Baby changing station

Koala - KB200-01SS - Grey SS Veneer Horizontal Baby Changing Station
Koala – KB200-01SS – Grey SS Veneer Horizontal Baby Changing Station

As if the news (and us, to be fair) weren’t harping on the benefits of baby changing stations enough, here’s another shout out for these utilitarian devices. If you’re worried about aesthetics, opt for a baby changing station featuring grey stainless steel veneer. Save yourself from a potential “changing baby on the dining table” disaster and get one of these tables. Stat.

9. Hand dryer or paper towel dispenser

Nobody likes to emerge from the restroom with unsightly water marks on their clothes because the restroom lacked a hand dryer or paper towel dispenser. These handy tools are more a cosmetics than anything else, but your customers will note if your restroom is lacking them. If eco-friendly is important to your restaurant, opt for a hand dryer or set up compostable waist bins for the paper towels.

10. Mirrors

You’d be amiss to not include a mirror in the restroom. Mirrors seem pretty commonplace, but there are times that single restrooms lack these common necessities that guests will surely notice. Help your guests prevent a potentially embarrassing incident by adding a mirror to your restroom. Bonus points—add a full length mirror in the women’s room—ladies love it. Trust me.

What updates have you made to your restroom to make it a comfortable space for guests?

About Natalie Fauble

Natalie Fauble is the Online Marketing Manager - Content & SEO for Tundra Restaurant Supply. As a digital marketer with a passion for the restaurant industry, Natalie helps companies shape their brand through thoughtful, fun and innovative content strategies. When she isn't blogging for Tundra Restaurant Supply you can find her in her vegetable garden or in the kitchen whipping up one of her favorite dishes.

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One comment

  1. The Raging Scotsman

    Hi Natalie,

    I couldn’t agree more! Bathrooms at popular establishments can be horrifically inadequate, such as a local watering hole in Chicago (Butch McGuire;s Pub, where recently I went to use the men’s room and found, literally, a stall substantially less spacious than a coffin! I ended up twisting around like a pretzel to get the job done. This BEGS for a hefty ADA fine, yet it has been this way for decades, and not one thing has been done to change it. Chicago truly is the ‘city that works’ if you’re paying off the right people.
    My practice after 52 years of eating out at restaurants for a total of meals out somewhere in the range of 7,500 (my mother didn’t like to cook) has taught me to go ‘wash my hands’ (to check out the restroom) before I even touch the glass of water. Of course, getting sick a few times also helped cement this habit. Now I don’t want to raise any eyebrows, but I recently went into a Chipotle restaurant and found the bathrooms locked to anyone who did not have a register receipt on hand which has a special bathroom access code at the bottom. What a very unkind action to take against those who happen to find themselves without a home, or a traveler without any other place to go to do their business. Uncharitable? Certainly. Cost-effective? Absolutely. But what does it say about the owner of this company? That he is willing to make such a public statement about his stinginess and mean-spiritedness? Not a place I will patronize, that is for certain.
    At any rate, you came up with a great list of simple fixes which I heartily endorse (as does my wonderful wife). Thanks for a great piece of much-needed information for restaurant owners.

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