hygiene products and the diner neglects to wash their hands as a result, they could unknowingly contaminate the food they eat and become ill.

A bout of food poisoning could have catastrophic consequences for the restaurant as well as for the diner. Brand perception is just as important in a multinational burger chain or café as it is in an exclusive restaurant: one report of food poisoning and the outlet will receive a great deal of negative press. The more famous the outlet, the bigger the story. Smaller venues are also vulnerable since they could have their names blackened in the local media. And this could cause struggling businesses to go under. So, the stakes could not be higher as far as hand hygiene provision is concerned.

Besides providing good hand hygiene facilities it is also important to ensure that a washroom is seen to be clean. Perception of hygiene is all-important and diners notice more than we think.

“A dirty, unhygienic washroom could well influence the customer’s view

of the venue and discourage him or her from returning – both of which are undesirable outcomes.”

This was the conclusion of a recent study by Essity in which we equipped 10 restaurant-going volunteers with eye- tracking spectacles and then sent them out to dine. Using heatmapping technology we monitored what they looked at while awaiting their meals and visiting the washrooms, discovering that they missed very little indeed.

Everything was closely scrutinised from the table décor to the staff, the viewing kitchen and the ventilation system. And when they visited the washrooms it was clear that attractive features such as fresh flowers and smart dispensers repeatedly drew the diners’ eye.

Other research we conducted underlined the fact that washroom décor is highly important to diners. A total of 90% of respondents in one study said the washroom played an important role in their overall impression of a restaurant, while 67% felt that an attractively-designed washroom made their restaurant experience more pleasant.

Around 80% said they believed a dirty restaurant washroom to be a likely reflection of the standards in the kitchen.

While the washrooms of a café, fast-food chain or fine dining restaurant will all provide different levels of luxury and comfort, each should incorporate a few common elements. They should be highly functional and well equipped with dispensers that are easy to clean, quick to refill and kept replenished at all times. Logjams should be avoided since queueing will have an adverse effect on the washroom-user’s experience.

So, how can this be achieved? Dispensers that naturally control the consumption of hand towels, toilet tissue and soap will prevent the products from running out too quickly, while units that are quick and easy to refill will reduce the need for the obtrusive presence of maintenance staff.

Dispenser size should reflect the size of the facilities along with their likely level of usage. For example, compact systems will work best in the low-use washrooms of an artisan café where there may also be limited space.

The Tork Mini Liquid Soap Dispenser is a good option here since the cartridge holds 500 shots of soap and is quick and easy to change. The unit is sufficiently compact to fit into the smallest of spaces, as is the Tork Xpress Multifold Hand Towel Dispenser which accommodates 120 towels.

In a fast-food chain, higher-capacity systems such as Tork Matic Hand Towel Roll or Tork PeakServe work well. Tork PeakServe is highly unlikely to run out between maintenance checks even in the busiest of restaurants since the high-capacity dispenser holds up to 2,100 towels. It can also be topped up at any time to ease the maintenance burden.

Tork Foam Soaps are a good hand washing option in high- traffic washrooms since each cartridge contains 2,500 shots of soap, more than double the number in a liquid refill of the same size. This helps to ensure a long-lasting soap supply.

Washroom providers keen to impress while also offering a high level of functionality can achieve this by installing the Tork Image Design Line of dispensers. The brushed stainless steel fascias and black trim of these units create an immediate impression of luxury and glamour while the dispensers are easy to wipe clean and also naturally limit consumption.

A data-driven solution such as Tork EasyCube can provide a number of benefits in a restaurant washroom – whether it is a high-class or high-traffic venue. Tork EasyCube allows maintenance staff to check remotely via a smartphone or tablet when extra cleaning is required or a dispenser needs refilling, ensuring that the washrooms are kept clean and well stocked at all times by an “invisible” staff. This enhances efficiency in a functional fast-food washroom while also potentially impressing diners in an upmarket restaurant since it represents a modern, high-tech solution.

The restaurant washroom should always enhance the diner’s impression of an establishment rather than detract from it. A dirty, unhygienic washroom could well influence the customer’s view of the venue and discourage him or her from returning – both of which are undesirable outcomes. So however small, large, functional, attractive or busy a restaurant washroom may be, it is imperative that it is kept well stocked with the necessary soap and paper supplies while creating a pleasing impression of cleanliness and order. TOMORROW’S FM | 49

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