Did you know that a poll conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that 88% of diners who encounter a dirty restroom at a restaurant think this reflects poorly on the cleanliness of the business as a whole, including the kitchen? We'd even garner a guess that this figure is probably much higher, because next to your dining room, the restroom is the most frequently visited space in your restaurant. Unfortunately this space can easily be neglected during the rush. In this buying guide we'll cover supply essentials for your restroom, including simple eco-friendly swaps you can make to save more on your bottom line while helping to achieve your sustainability goals.
First things first. There are a few basic components you've probably considered, but chances are there are a few more that didn't make your initial list. Here's our go-to guide for everything you should consider including in your restroom.
Toilet Seat Covers and Dispenser
Avoid unsightly toilet paper messes by providing customers with toilet seat covers. These one-time use sheets give customers peace of mind and help prevent excess toilet paper from being wasted or thrown on the floor as customers try to create their own covers. And with recessed dispenser options like Bobrick's TrimLineSeries™, you can add keep seat covers in a convenient location while still maintaining an attractive space.
Help customers avoid embarrassing situations by keeping your toilet paper dispensers stocked! Often designed to accommodate one large toilet paper roll or two smaller, regular-sized rolls, toilet paper dispensers come in a variety of styles to suit the aesthetics of your restroom. Though larger paper toilet rolls do not have to be replaced as frequently, you are tied into buying a specific type of toilet paper. Conversely, smaller toilet paper rolls are more easily purchased, so you have more buying power when it comes to price, sustainability features, etc.; however keep in mind that you will need to attend to restocking these dispensers more frequently.
A hook in the bathroom can go a long way for customers. Give them a place to hang coats, purses and other bags with the addition of a hook to the back of a stall door or on the wall of a single restroom. Sometimes it's the little things that really add up to an excellent experience!
Avoid a plumbing disaster (and expensive service call) by installing sanitary bins in your ladies' restroom. Sanitary bins ensure your customers properly dispose of their products. Featured in stainless steel, recessed, and floor receptacle models, these sanitary napkin disposals are a no-brainer in any restroom. Your plumbing will thank you!
Keep your restroom smelling fresh by utilizing deodorant urinal screens. Not only do urinal screens help prevent splashback, but they'll prevent trash and other debris from going down the drain.
Just say "yes" to soap. Not only is it required by the health department, but customers will expect full soap dispensers to adequately wash their hands. The key to a good soap dispenser includes the ability to set strict dispensing amounts to discourage customers from using too much soap and creating waste. Some dispensers use proprietary soap cartridges while others enable you to use the bulk soap of your choice. Also pay attention to the frequency and ease of replacing/refilling your soap dispenser to ensure your restrooms are always well equipped. Between manual pump-driven dispensers to electronic dispensers, you're sure to find exactly what you need.
The number one complaint when it comes to hand dryers in the restroom is noise, so keep that in mind if your restroom is located just off the dining room. That said, more manufacturers like Bobrick are creating quieter hand dryers to minimize its impact to the dining room.
Help your customers look their best by ensuring you have at least one mirror installed in the restroom. Perfect for removing that piece of broccoli from their teeth or freshening up one's pout, a mirror is essential for those last-minute checks before entering the dining room.
It goes without saying that trash bins are an integral component of any restroom. What you may not know, however, is that many restaurants are designating the trash bin in their restaurant as a "compostable-only" trash bin. Composting in the front of house is making an appearance in a big way. That's because paper products like paper towels, tissues and more are all 100% compostable, and when composted in a commercial composting facility can turn into soil! We think that's pretty cool, and so do your customers. We even suggest including a sign above your compostable bin that educates customers on what composting is and why you're doing it. Chances are, they'll love what you're doing and become even bigger fans of your brand. Just don't forget to include a smaller trash bin nearby to collect plastic wrappers, and other odds and ends that customers might need to dispose of.
If electric hand dryers aren't your thing, opt instead for a paper towel dispenser. Paper towel dispensers can come as a large roll or as individual sheets—the preference of course, is up to you, and really depends on your concept, ordering and cleaning schedules and more. Keep in mind that large roll dispensers come in manual and electronic options, both of which can support specific dispensing amounts to discourage excess waste by customers.
Don't be surprised to see more young visitors frequenting your restaurant. Whether you think you're "family friendly" or not, millennials are opting to put their children first, which means you'll see them visiting the same establishments their parents do. We're surprised by the number of businesses who opt to not install a changing station in the restroom; particularly since most of these businesses do stock up on high chairs. Avoid potential disasters (like diaper changes on your restaurant tables) and install a changing table in your restroom. Bonus points for those who install one in both the ladies' and men's rooms! Don't be surprised to see more young visitors frequenting your restaurant. Whether you think you're "family friendly" or not, millennials are opting to put their children first, which means you'll see them visiting the same establishments their parents do. We're surprised by the number of businesses who opt to not install a changing station in the restroom; particularly since most of these businesses do stock up on high chairs. Avoid potential disasters (like diaper changes on your restaurant tables) and install a changing table in your restroom. Bonus points for those who install one in both the ladies' and men's rooms!
Keep offensive odors at bay with a proper air freshener. Automatic air fresheners often feature programmable options to time the release of scents, ensuring that your restroom is always customer-ready no matter the time of day.
Cleaning Supplies and Accessories
Ensure you're stocked with the right chemicals, brushes, trash bags, extra toilet paper and more to keep your restroom equipped. Your local health inspector will check that you've got a separate set of supplies for your restroom, so don't use your back of house cleaning supplies in your restroom! Also don't forget to keep a plunger, toilet brush and other essentials close by to quickly handle potential disasters.
Last but not least, your restroom is an excellent place to add small personal touches that speak more to your brand. Some concepts might feature vintage prints, while others use the back of a stall door as a marketing opportunity. Even further, concepts with an active night scene have installed interactive components to their restrooms, encouraging customers to leave inspirational quotes on notes for all to see. Whatever your concept is, extend it to your restroom for an added touch that customers will appreciate and remember.
Choosing to be eco-friendly or not isn't a choice you have to make anymore—it's expected. As customers demand sustainable solutions, make sure you deliver. Not only is being green is a lot easier than you think, but you'll quickly discover how simple swaps in your restroom can reduce your costs in the long and short term.
The Great Debate: Paper Towels or Hand Dryers?
When it comes to your sustainability goals you may be wondering whether to opt for paper towels or hand dryers. Hand dryers might eliminate the waste of paper towels but they will still contribute to your energy costs. Paper towels, on the other hand, do not rely on electricity but can put a strain on resources. Sometimes there won't be an option to pick between paper towels or hand dryers, but if you're worried that paper towels are hampering your sustainability goals, try shopping for products made from post-consumer recycled content and be sure to set up a compostable bin in the restroom to divert waste out of the landfill.
From toilets to water faucets, automatic sensors may be one of the best inventions to hit commercial restrooms. Not only do they help prevent the spread of illness because customers don't have to touch anything, but they can also help to reduce costs in the long run. Did you also know that electronic faucets can save as much as one gallon per hand wash? No more obscene water bills because a customer left a faucet on or additional soap waste from broken dispensers. Electronic paper towel dispensers also help control costs by setting strict dispensing amounts. Reduce waste, save the planet, and add more to your bottom line with automatic sensors!
Don't let your cleaning chemicals hamper your sustainability goals. Shop cleaners like Boulder® Clean, which boasts a biodegradable, plant-based formula that is also EPA Safer Choice Certified. Safe to use and non-toxic, you won't have to worry about toxic residues or hazardous chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.
LED Lighting With Automatic Sensors
Don't be put off by the higher initial cost of LED lighting. Not only do LEDs use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb, it'll last up to 10 times longer! That means you'll recoup the cost of your investment in as little as 2 years. Pair that LED bulb with an automatic sensor so the lights will only turn on and off when a customer is in the restroom and you'll really put a dent in those energy costs!
Broken hooks, non-spinning toilet tissue rollers, and dented sanitary bins all contribute to the overall aesthetic of your restroom. These parts are easy to replace and go a long way with customers. You only get one shot to make a good first impression, so don't blow it. Finally, don't forget to stock up on extra dispenser keys! These little keys are easy to lose, and when lost you're stuck with empty dispensers and frustrated customers. At Tundra Restaurant Supply we have everything you need keep your restroom running like new!