Your exterior is welcoming, your light features amazing and your furniture stylish yet comfortable. You have ticked all the boxes and thought of every last detail, or have you? Too many restaurants spend a fortune on their interiors and then forget a place that you are pretty much guaranteed all of your customers will visit and interact with… your toilets.
It is unbelievable how many businesses within the hospitality sector overlook the toilets yet choose to spend so much time and money on fixtures and fittings. It is really important to remember that every touch point of your business is being registered consciously or sub consciously by your customers. How many times have you heard people say they worry about the kitchen if the toilets are not up to scratch? Toilets leave a lasting impression, often they are the first or the last place people visit. Recent Masterchef winner Mat Follas asked potential customers for their comments on everything regarding his restaurant before he opened the doors, he was surprised at how many people commented on the toilets being a key factor:
“Thanks so much to the Word of Mouth crowd for all the feedback on the various stages of opening. I have taken lots of it to heart and made some changes as a result. The menu has changed, basic things like the toilets have had more attention than I would have initially given them.” Mat Follas quote
Ignite and Lifeforms recently worked on the interior design for Oojam. We designed the restaurant using white as the predominant colour and playing with small splashes of colour. However when you walk into the toilets you are met with a mass of intense colour. The toilets have therefore become part of the brand. These particular toilets won Lifeforms a design award and Oojam lots of press coverage and yet another thing to brag about!
There are also many opportunities for marketing within the toilets, when else do you have the undivided attention of your customers with out distraction of food, drink and friends? There are the obvious ones such as posters on the toilet doors but it doesn’t always have to be sales driven, think about the toilets as being another touch point for the bigger picture of your brand. After an Ignite night out at Sketch the toilets were the main topic of conversation and this was after a 7 course taster menu – now that is impressive toilet design!
When toilets are forgotten it can have a very negative impact on your business and not just from your customers. Missed publicity is also a reality, I know of design magazine reviewers who have refused to write about what looks like an amazing venue when they realise that they have ignored the toilets! What a missed opportunity!
You don’t have to spend a fortune on your toilets, just give them the love they deserve (there is a reason they are called the throne!) just be clever, spoil your customers when they least expect it. A penny well spent!