Restaurant Cleanliness is Critical to Success

Restaurant CleanlinessCleanliness may or may not be next to godliness; however, no matter how you look at it, restaurant cleanliness is critical to success. You may have the most exquisite menu and the best chef and your food preparation may pass inspections with flying colors, but let a patron experience a dirty fork, sticky table, or unclean glass and all of that goes right out the window. In fact, if they experience any of those things, they’ll certainly be wondering what’s going on in the back – where they can’t see – raising concerns about quality and sanitation.

According to research by Technomic cited by EcolabNo Second Chances on First Impressions: How Cleanliness Drives Repeat Business,” a recent survey of 18,000 responses showed cleanliness of dishware, glassware, and silverware as the top concern. It outranked food taste, friendly service, and atmosphere. Also ranking high beyond tableware was cleanliness of the restaurant interior, bathrooms, and apparent food prep areas. Moreover, there is a clear connection between high cleanliness scores and the intent to return. They’re directly proportional as you might guess.

Nicolas Granucci, Vice President of Foodservice Marketing at Ecolab is quoted in the article saying, “I think the research surprised many in the industry. We intuitively know that having a clean restaurant is good. But it really says something when consumers put cleanliness at the top of their lists when deciding where to spend their dining dollars.”

Cleanliness Details in Your Restaurant

Sure, the tabletop and apparent food prep areas are prime locations to be considered by your patrons for cleanliness, but don’t overlook other areas. In “Cleaning, maintenance: Devil’s in the details” by the National Restaurant Association, there are plenty of other areas to consider. Look up and around for cobwebs. Look down at baseboards as they’re a prime location for dust and debris. Plants may enhance the ambiance, but they’ll do more harm than good if there are dead or dying leaves. Ditto to wall art – great for ambiance provided that it along with frames are clean and dust free. Don’t forget about the items that remain on your tabletops, like salt and pepper shakers. Every patron likely touches them.

You may need a fresh set of eyes to evaluate your restaurant or pub. A fresh perspective can uncover a lot of details that you have grown accustomed to overlooking. Consider using a mystery shopping service like that offered by Data Quest. You may think about this service as only useful to evaluate customer service performance, but you can effectively kill two birds with one stone. While in your establishment, a mystery shopper can evaluate your overall appearance and cleanliness in addition to the level of service received.

Knowing how high cleanliness ranks for your patrons and their intent to return, it makes sense to invest in your ongoing efforts to clean and polish. Plus it’s not simply a matter of attracting the return business of any patron. Remember that every person who walks through your door is connected to dozens or hundreds of others via social media. Consider what any one person might state about the cleanliness of your restaurant or pub on a review site and that reach expands exponentially.

Without a doubt, restaurant cleanliness is critical to success.

(Stayed tuned: In the next blog, we’ll cover de-cluttering your restaurant.)

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