Home' Hospitality Business : HB MAR 2017 Contents G
reat food may be a major focus for restaurants, bars and cafés,
but oddly enough what you’ve got going on in the loo is just
as likely to repel customers as a bad meal.
Top New Zealand hospitality inter ior design architects rate
bathroom hygiene and design right up there as one of the three most
important components of a successful hospitality business.
Clean, efficiently designed, aesthetically pleasing bathroom areas are
well worth that extra investment, say leading designers. Basic bathrooms
and toilet facilities located outside the venue, or down a shared alleyway,
or even those that simply break the theme of a restaurant or bar’s
aesthetics, have sent many a customer packing never to retur n.
Ctrl Space director Chris Stevens says the cleanliness and
presentation of the bathroom is one of the three vital aspects of the
hospitality exper ience that people take away with them. “It’s an integral
part of a night out,” says Chris. “Ever yone has to go at some point and
the bathroom is an extension of the venue. If it’s down an alleyway,
outside, or not up to par, it definitely puts a slant on your night.”
Customers may not retur n to a venue if they have a bad bathroom
exper ience. “If people have a good exper ience they’ll tell two others,
but if they have a bad exper ience they’ll tell 10,” says Chris.
“You often find places that disregard the care for their toilets and
bathrooms ends up costing them by way of customers not respecting that
space, with the likes of graffiti and vandalism,” he says. “You’ll get due
respect for what you’ve invested into a facility. If a bathroom is presented
well and hygienically it’ll create a nice vibe and customers will generally
take more care. Toilet seats can be the first to go and need replacing
weekly in some venues, so he advocates an easily accessible brand.
There’s no need to go overboard with design or themes. Simple
quality mater ials in the fit-out will pay off. “It’s probably costing an
ar m and a leg per square metre for the fit-out, so you may as well go
that extra mile,” says Chris, who’s designed more than 400 hospitality
bathrooms in his career. It will probably cost 25 percent more to create
a well-designed, hygienic bathroom, but an operator can be assured of a
good retur n on that investment. “You’re not going to be patching your
walls and have customers saying your toilets look grubby.”
The theme of the restaurant should be car r ied on through to
the bathroom so that atmosphere isn’t lost and the exper ience isn’t
inter rupted.The bathroom should be ‘an extension of the night out’,
says Chris. If it’s too clinical and stark it shows every speck. Dark floors
hide any water spills, and Chris recommends a smaller for mat brick-
style tile to finish. “Contrast the grout so it breaks up the mass of the
mater ial and doesn’t show up all the dirt.”
Designers recommend using robust mater ials like stone, tiles, granite
and stainless steel, along with solid woods, that wear and age well.
Simple tiling is easy to keep clean.
Ventilation is important for hygiene and if you’re going for paper towels
make sure there are plenty of reciprocals and bins for waste, so they’re
not spilling over, or customers will get sloppy. Minimising short flush on
toilets, opting instead for one single big flush, is also more hygienic.
Women are particularly repelled by bad bathrooms, says Ber nie
O’Fagan, of Christchurch’s RM Designs, an expert in using design to
create a perception of cleanliness. “Exper ienced designers know that
women drive the choice of venue and tend to be the ones who select
a restaurant or cafe. If you don’t get the bathroom amenities r ight
women don’t like it,” says Ber nie. “It’s as important to us as seating
“From our exper ience, with the likes of the Clearwater Golf Resort
amenity centre, it’s best to keep women’s spaces quite light and men’s
quite dark,” says Ber nie. Women prefer a lighter space as they’re often
using the mir rors and tidying themselves up, whereas the blokes are
“largely there doing the business.”
Omitting the foyer door from a restaurant bathroom is another design
trick, which won RM Designs a Hospitality New Zealand excellence
award for its work on Christchurch’s Papanui Club. “It creates one
Attention to bathroom detail and hygiene are essential components of any foodservice purveyor as Sue Fea discovered!
BY SUE FEA
Omitting the foyer door from a restaurant
bathroom is another design trick, which won RM
Designs a Hospitality New Zealand excellence
award for its work on Christchurch’s Papanui Club.
Hospitality BUSINESS | March 2017 | 21
FOOD SAFETY & HYGIENE
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