Survey shows relationship between clean public washrooms and business success


Consumers are more likely to spend money at a business when they encounter a well-kept public washroom, reports the annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corp., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

In the United States, the number of people who will “definitely” or “probably” spend cash at a business that has clean restrooms has climbed to 62 per cent in 2019, compared to 45 per cent in the previous survey two years ago. Millennials and Gen Xers, in particular, care about the state of a company’s washrooms.

The study found that almost three out of four Americans make it a point to visit a business because they know it has a nice washroom. Women are especially likely to show preferential treatment, explains the report.

The study looked at 1,005 adults and youths throughout the United States, questioning them about public washrooms preferences and handwashing habits. “Increasingly, our survey underscores that clean restrooms attract business,” said Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp.

“Even posting and maintaining a cleaning schedule in restrooms helps reassure customers the facility is clean. Over half who have observed such a schedule say it makes them feel more positive about the business.”

Consumers are still reporting unpleasant experiences in public washrooms. In 2019, 76 per cent reported having a particularly bad encounter. “While it’s encouraging that consumers are willing to reward businesses that have nice restrooms, there is a growing disconnect that more Americans are experiencing unpleasant restrooms,” Dommisse said.

Washrooms that are dirty generated negative impressions causing customers to take their business elsewhere, reports the survey. Close to 60 per cent of those surveyed reported leaving a business immediately or said they were unlikely to return after encountering unpleasant restrooms.

Among the reasons for grievances in public washrooms include clogged or unflushed toilets (at 85 per cent), empty or jammed toilet paper dispensers (at 83 per cent), and partition doors that don’t latch shut (at 78 per cent). Women and “baby boomers” expressed the most annoyance about these inconveniences.

“Poor conditions are the main culprit behind people skipping hand washing during a restroom visit,” Dommisse noted. “Lack of soap and/or paper towels and dirty and/or non-functioning sinks are the two most common reasons for not washing hands.”

The 11th annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey by Bradley Corp., surveyed Americans online Dec. 11-16, 2019. Participants were from around the country, were 14 years and older, and were evenly split between men and women (at 47 per cent and 53 per cent).


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