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Survey: People Will Spend More At Retailers With Nice Restrooms

For nine years, a Wisconsin-based company that manufactures plumbing fixtures has been doing an annual survey about the way people use commercial toilets and wash their hands afterward (or, uh, don't). It is amazing what a CRE pro can learn from this little exercise by Bradley Corp.

Toilets: more influential than you think.

Bradley’s 2018 Healthy Hand Washing Survey polled 1,035 adults and found that 60% visit specific businesses because they have nice restrooms. Almost half of the respondents said they would "definitely" or "probably" spend more money at businesses with clean, well-maintained restrooms.

The converse is also true: More than half of respondents said they would be unlikely to return to a business that had a poorly maintained restroom. Bradley last year found that people older than 55 would not return, while millennials might also post their disgust on social media. Bathroom condition is particularly important for restaurants, as 82% of respondents believe that a restaurant with dirty restrooms is “extremely” or “fairly” likely to have a dirty kitchen.

“The inherent correlation between restroom conditions, businesses and customers extends even deeper than we realized,” Bradley Corp.'s director of strategy and corporate development, Jon Dommisse, said in a statement. "Our survey has previously highlighted how well-maintained restrooms increase patronage; learning that people also reward these businesses with their spending power was further confirmation of how consumers respond positively to clean restrooms.”

This year, the flu was on the mind of many respondents: 34% of people polled in Southern states were "extremely concerned" about it, compared to 23% in other regions. But sadly, according to the survey, only two-thirds of people "always" wash their hands after using a public restroom, and 38% of respondents said they "frequently" see other people leaving public restrooms without washing. 

This is exactly why 47% of people operate the toilet flusher using their feet, 45% use paper towels to grasp door handles and 38% hover over the toilet seat.

To prevent the spread of germs and also save water, Bradley has recommended that commercial restroom design include touchless fixtures, sensored soap dispensers, and automated paper towel machines and hand dryers.