Convenience stores have been upping their foodservice game over the last couple of years. In 2021, foodservice sales reached a record high of $43.2 billion in sales, and 20.5% increase from 2020.Convenience stores are evolving to stops for people to fuel not only their cars, but themselves too.
How Your Store’s Restroom Can Impact Business
Restroom cleanliness, layout, and overall design have a bigger impact on c-store and grocer customers than you may realize. An unclean restroom can lead to increased customer complaints, less return customers, decreased in-store purchases and other challenges. On the flip side, having a clean restroom can help encourage customer loyalty, in-store purchases, and even play a key role in building your brand.
With foodservice on the rise for convenience stores, keeping your restroom clean and impressive is vital for your foodservice sales. Not many customers want to buy food from a store with filthy restrooms.
Here are a few common challenges and what you can do to overcome them…
CHALLENGE: INCREASED CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS
Word of mouth marketing is still an incredibly strong tool, but because of this negative reviews and customer complaints can hurt your business. According to a study done by Cintas, “nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) say dirty restrooms would cause them to have a negative perception of a business. More than two in three Americans (68%) also say restrooms with empty hand soap, toilet paper and paper towel dispensers would impact their opinion of a business negatively.”
SOLUTION: CLEANING CHECKLIST + SCHEDULE FOR RESTROOM
With only one in four people thinking public restrooms are kept appropriately clean and safe, the best way to address this customer complaint is by fixing the issue itself. To do this, consider creating a daily cleaning checklist and schedule. Rotate which employees will do the cleaning job as well as check-in on cleanliness to ensure the same person is not stuck with the job each day. Implement restroom checks every couple of hours to make sure the restrooms are still looking clean for customers. A few stores who are often remembered for exceptionally clean bathrooms are Buc-ee’s, Kwik Trip, and Roaster’s Market.
CHALLENGE: CONSTANT PLUMBING AND EQUIPMENT ISSUES
Most experts agree that bathrooms need to be upgraded every seven to ten years. So, if you find that you are having constant issues with your toilet clogging or not flushing, your air dryers constantly breaking down, or any other related issues, it may be time to consider a redesign.
SOLUTION: CONSIDER RESTROOM REDESIGN
While doing a restroom remodel may not sound like an ideal solution, it could help your business in the long run. According to a recent C-store Dive article, Pilot recently remodeled their store bathrooms to include “updates to retail floors, prep areas, and bathrooms, along with the showers used mainly by its professional driver customers.” These remodels were done based on both employee and customer feedback that revealed top concerns of: cleanliness, lighting, and spaciousness. By addressing their customers” needs directly, Pilot will drastically improve customer experience in their stores.
Be sure to check-in on the cleanliness of your restroom and assess what updates need to be made. Consider gathering information from both customers and your employees to see how you can improve your restrooms in a way that works best for your store.